Geelong Library and Heritage Centre
© John Gollings
ARM began in Melbourne, Australia in 1986 as a collaboration between Steve Ashton, Howard Raggatt and Ian McDougall. Since then, ARM has produced designs and analytical projects in architecture, urbanism, landscape and interior design.
Early projects in the areas of public housing, such as Sutton Street Housing Tower and Cheddar Road Elderly Housing, and in community health, with projects such as Brunswick Community Health Centre, demonstrated strikingly innovative architecture that was to be a hallmark of ARM's work. These projects and ARM's commitment to new public typologies captured the attention of the profession and a new body of clients. Later projects such as St Kilda Library (1994), RMIT Storey Hall (1995), National Museum of Australia (2000) and Marion Cultural Centre (2001) brought ARM international recognition.
ARM has maintained its dedication to design research and to speculative proposals that test the norms of architectural culture and of the city. ARM is consistently extending the possibilities of the range of building typologies and the iconography of form. Each project by ARM becomes a re-invention of the type. Digital Harbour at Melbourne Docklands (ARM masterplan 1996-2004) is a series of new building types housing technology start up and research businesses. In the Melbourne Recital Centre, the acoustic hall is remade, reuniting the constrictions of perfect acoustics and the possibilities of the decorative surface. In the Perth Arena, ARM has developed a civic and dynamic architecture, a first for sports and entertainment facility design. Likewise in the Melbourne Central redevelopment, they reinvented the shopping mall as an urban system, rather than a palace of shops.
Their work has been awarded a number of national and international prizes and featured in international exhibitions including the Venice Biennale and Royal College of the Arts, London. Their projects have become known worldwide through publication such as Charles Jencks' Architecture of the Jumping Universe, Blueprint UK (Best Public Building 2001), 10x10, Phaidon Atlas of Contemporary World Architecture, Architects Today, 2000 Architects and Design City Melbourne. ARM continues at the forefront of propositions and research in the diverse fields of digital imagery, in the perception of space and shape, and the conversion of digital ideas to built form.