Pushing Against The Status Quo, With Designer Timothy Moore

Challenging the way people live, work, and practise architecture seemingly comes as second nature for Timothy Moore – a renowned Melbourne designer and director of Sibling Architecture. With polymathic experience across architecture, arts, and commerce, Timothy demonstrates a refreshing, critical-thinking approach to making spaces more equitable. A bold and compelling visual language emerges in the work of Sibling, which approaches each project as an opportunity-finding exercise. They use architecture as a tool for transformation.

As a recent graduate of a Master of Architecture at Monash Art, Design + Architecture, now working in practice, I’m inspired by Timothy’s creative enthusiasm and dynamic approach to considering new ways of engaging with architecture and society.  Undoubtedly, I believe many other students and young professionals will benefit from Timothy’s candid responses and insight into the complexities and joys of the field!

What did you study at uni and why?

I’m a perpetual learner. I have studied degrees in architecture, arts and commerce, which culminated in completing a PhD in architecture during 2021. What drives me is an interest in how the world is constructed and how to intervene to make the world more socially and economically equitable.

Study in architecture provided me with multi-scalar and -temporal skills – thinking across time and space – which are translatable in many careers in the built environment, and perhaps many careers yet to be invented. In particular, building becomes a way to think through complex ideas that have tangible impacts in the world, from the scale of the building to the scale of the city.

What was the first job you had after uni, and what valuable lessons did you learn there?

I began working in an architecture office in my third year at university, and since then, I have worked in several offices – in Amsterdam, Berlin and Melbourne – before working as a director at Sibling Architecture.

The most valuable lesson, and an obvious one, is to show self-initiative. Don’t wait to be asked. It’s also the same in practice. Don’t wait for the phone to ring. Don’t wait for government to catch up with policy. Architecture trains you to think through action – so get on with it.

What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever been given?

Aim high for the position you want – even if you feel you are not qualified. Put your CV, and face, in front of people, even if you don’t want the job or feel like it is not the right timing. It may lead to opportunities down the track.

How did you build your professional network?

I was a bit of an extracurricular fanatic at architecture school. I co-founded an architecture talk series at university (which is still going), made my own publication, volunteered for professional bodies, and enthusiastically went to a zillion talks and presentations. I met a phalanx of professionals at these events, but I also met a lot of peers who would be future colleagues in the industry.

How did you establish a professional style?

Sibling was founded by its directors while all studying at architecture school. We shared a studio in Mitchell House in Melbourne, so I think our style developed from spending countless hours (over years) teaching each other how to ‘architect’.

Our style is a manner of thinking rather than an aesthetic style. We are interested in social opportunities in architecture, which is, places and spaces where people come together, whether this is in civic or residential architecture. Each project has a fresh approach to this.

What key values underpin your work?

Sibling is interested in civic-ness, that is the places, buildings and things that we all share and the rituals and meaning that stems from them. We are keen in each project to inject social moments because we believe that different people coming together for purposes larger than themselves strengthens society through mutual understanding and respect.

Do you have any kernels of wisdom for emerging graduates?

Are you looking for a pageant answer? [Laughs] Don’t accept the status quo in the industry. Challenge it.

What excites you the most about the work you do?

The challenges that are faced by architects and designers are immense: all of the complex problems that encircle us – such as climate justice and spatial inequity – play out in each project. This is exhilarating: thinking through urban design, spatial planning, building works, interior architecture and policy to transform lives is invigorating. Every day has a new problem to solve. That’s the beauty of architecture – the role of it as an intermediary and connector on the issues that intersect our lives, to solve these issues, in order to transform how we live.

Haroula has just completed her Master of Architecture at Monash Art, Design + Architecture. Learn more about the course here.

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