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David Thompson: In Profile

Internationally-experienced architect David Thompson has been appointed to the role of Senior Associate at ROTHELOWMAN’s newest studio in Sydney to address increasing consumer demand for multi-residential development in the NSW and ACT markets.

David Thompson: In Profile


November 12th, 2015

Appointed following increasing multi-residential demand amongst consumers in New South Wales and the ACT, David Thompson is the 19th member of the Sydney-based team. Having worked on major urban renewal and master-planning projects with ROTHELOWMAN in Melbourne, Thomson is well placed in Sydney to take advantage of multi-residential trends and aims to help the firm provide new housing solutions, particularly in Sydney’s Inner suburbs and Western growth centres. We sit down with David to talk about his new role at ROTHELOWMAN.

Can you tell us a little bit about your background?

After graduating from Deakin University in 2002, I moved to London for eight years, where I worked for Atkins, designing and refurbishing London Underground stations. From there, I worked for London firm Amos, where I practiced residential, university and hotel projects.

Having worked in London for over eight years, the thought or relocating an hour’s flight north didn’t concern myself or my partner. The opportunity to be part of a new, young and fresh office, with support offered by both the Melbourne and Brisbane studios, was an offer too good to turn down.

Can you please tell use about your new role at ROTHELOWMAN?

My new role at ROTHELOWMAN involves my experience in the multi-residential sector and interior design. We are working on a number of large-scale residential developments, and this role has allowed us to deliver and build on Principal Ben Pomroy’s expertise to give our NSW and ACT clients all that ROTHELOWMAN has to offer.

I pride myself on having a good eye for detail, and have always taken a keen interest in the quality of interiors and their relationship to the architecture. Working closely with our experienced interior designers I hope to further expand and establish the ROTHELOWMAN brand as both leading architects and interior designers.

What inspires you about this particular position and your role within the business? 

I would like to think I bring the enthusiasm of the ROTHELOWMAN brand, along with its in-house experience. Providing an understanding of the office and its processes has allowed us to focus on establishing our own identity and culture drawing on the broader ROTHELOWMAN culture and ethos.

My inspiration for quality comes from studying architectural history and fine art. This was nurtured in my earlier years, where I worked as a heritage architect in Melbourne. Specifically, my extensive travel and living abroad has influenced my design style.

I am passionate about quality in every aspect of project delivery: quality of the brief and of understanding it, quality of the relationships, through to the quality of the execution.

My attention to detail assists in completing exemplar projects, as I have a real enjoyment in this process. It is rare to be able to leave a footprint in our cities, and as architects we have that ability, so why shouldn’t we make it the best footprint there is?

Can you explain your approach to multi-res and mixed-use retail projects?
My multi-residential experience is grounded in knowledge of both Melbourne and London, which I attempted to apply to Sydney’s emerging market. However, comparing multi-residential design between Melbourne and Sydney is difficult. Whilst both cities are embracing the concept, I would suggest that Melbourne in some ways is the big sister to Sydney, in terms of experience and lessons learnt.

Melbourne actively opened its CBD to development and night-time activation through the ‘90s and early 2000s. This brought with it a supply shortage and want for accommodation styles, which dictated the size, typology and offering. As the market has evolved and matured, these styles have done so as well. We now see “hotel amenity” serviced buildings such as The Charsfield, Melbourne, Sanctuary, Melbourne and Union Tower, Melbourne becoming the standard.

Demand in Melbourne has also seen a shift in accommodation sizes. In many ways Melbourne’s lack of apartment design standards has allowed the market to diversify and become more agile against economic and social forces.

In Sydney, particularly inner Sydney, the Apartment Design Guide (ADG), while positive in its affirmation of liveability and amenity in outer areas, may need to evolve and mature to provide more affordable inner city accommodation and flexible designs.

For Sydney the biggest growth opportunity is still that the multi-residential market is in its infancy. ROTHELOWMAN is perfectly placed to bring its experience from both Melbourne and Brisbane to provide new housing solutions, not only to Sydney, but also to its west and beyond.

Can you explain some of the challenges that come with the role?

Across Melbourne, London and Sydney the challenges that present themselves are more often than not all very similar. Liveability, population, infrastructure investment and affordability all regularly top any discussion around housing and urban planning. Individually, the subtleties are more obvious. For Sydney, its global city aspirations must not be pushed through to forget the fundamental concepts of urban planning, design and public realm.

How do you overcome these?

In each of these three cities the public realm is the biggest challenge ahead. As professionals, how do we ensure that the public realm is as good as it can be, and not merely a by-product of planning guidelines and regulations?


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