With another year comes new rounds of office visits that facilitated the opportunity for students to engage with the industry and understand their transition from university to practice. Students from A+B Studio once again had the unique opportunity, arranged by Susan Ang and Chayakan Siamphukdee, to visit two architectural offices during the intra-trimester break: Atelier Red + Black and Fender Katsaladis Architecture.

A humble office of three in the buzzling suburb of Fitzroy, the students visited Atelier Red + Black. Michael Smith, co-director of Atelier Red+Black (Deakin Graduate 2007) warmly welcomed the students and shared his experience as a graduate and a practicing architect. Michael passionately talked about the role of architects today. More than mere aesthetics, he discussed many of the key issues in the industry from the political roles to gender quality. As the office’s motto goes, he concluded how architecture should be inclusive to everyone not only privileged few.

Students also visited one of the world’s leading architectural office, Fender Katsaladis Architecture (FKA). Joined by directors and past graduates [Andrew Samuel (Class of 2013), Arizz Azhar (Class of 2014), and Stephanie Fourniotis (Class of 2015)], the FKA members shared their own experiences as architecture students to team players of a major firm. While highlighting snippets of their learning adventures, they also provided advice to students including making their own path in the industry. One of the key skills highlighted was teamwork and the ability to collaborate with others.

These insider sessions once again offered the students unique insight into the profession. As many ponder what the architecture profession beyond the university is, these office visits offered students the opportunity to network with industry and consider how as individual and collectively they will shape and contribute to the bigger architectural community.

Special thanks to Michael Smith (Atelier Red + Black) and Arizz Azhar (Fender Katsaladis Architecture) for kindly arranging these unique opportunities for our A+B studio students.

Student Feedback

“The trip is indeed informative and very much-enjoyed. It is a great escapism because often when I am so immense with study, I took a step back and ask myself where architecture leads to. Be it career path, further design exploration or architecture as a political agenda, this visit enlighten us all. I thank Deakin, Susan and Chaya for organising this precious trip and I hope there will be more in the future.”   FATIMAH HASHIM

“The visit to Atelier Red + Black was enjoyable and very worthwhile. The key learning take away was to have something that would set us apart from the normal work of Uni, perhaps a Blog or professional Instagram account that would show our passion. Architecture students should have a look at Michael Smith’s Blog ‘Archi Parlour’ as an example.” BILLY YUE NAM YOONG

“This school initiative is among the best I know of and the organising team did a great job. I would definitely recommend this activity to other students and a definite yes to more office visits in the future.”  BILLY YUE NAM YOONG

“I thoroughly enjoyed engaging with the Atelier Red & Black studio and with Michael Smith (Director). The tour was bespoke, meaning we could engage in thoughtful conversation centred on design, graduate outcomes and the influence of architecture in the community. Michael provided key tips for architecture students, I particularly found the mentoring program interesting and enjoyed the detailed approach for the studio.” MELISSA JADE HERRON

“The FKA tour was grand, to say the least. The two Directors, James and Mark, were professional, engaging and knowledgeable in their detailed presentation – there was much to be learned in their communication skills. They allowed us to walk through the studio filled with dynamic designs, speak with their graduates and spent time hosting a Q&A.”  MELISSA JADE HERRON

“Overall, it was a great experience for me, with absolutely no idea how a real-life architecture practice works, and now I’ve got some idea. I really wish there are more similar activity open to students, as if exploration, it is a great opportunity for students to get in touch with the real-life practices other than an internship, and it might alter and improve the way the students thinking especially during architectural design studios, orientate the students on what type of architect they want to be.” YIK YANG VOON











photographer: Arizz Azhar