15 minutes with Tony Allen of ARM Architecture

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Stephanie from our Melbourne office recently caught up with Tony Allen, the Managing Director of ARM in their ultra-contemporary office space located on the 11th floor of a car park in Flinders Lane!

Known for producing some of Australia’s most culturally significant buildings, ARM has recently announced their selection by the Sydney Opera House to develop the concept and schematic designs for the update of the Sydney Opera House’s largest venue, the Concert Hall!

Tony Allen and the highly skilled team at ARM have been praised in the industry for their inspired & cutting-edge designs. ARM has designed and delivered projects across a wide range of typologies and they have recently won the Sir Zelman Cowen Award for Public Architecture at the National Architecture Awards and the Victorian Architecture Medal for their involvement on The Shrine of Remembrance’s Galleries of Remembrance.

Throughout Tony Allen’s career, he has been a key influence on landmark developments such as Federation Square, Melbourne Central (Stage 1 & 2 Retail Development), State Library of Victoria Redevelopment (AMW), Brisbane Central and the Face Apartments.

Fast Stats:

  • Name: Tony Allen
  • Working at: ARM ARCHITECTURE
  • Fancy title: Managing Director
  • Drinking: Before midday it’s a cafe latte, after midday it’s a short black
  • Meeting at: ARMs office in Melbourne. ARM has two offices, Melbourne has 55 people and Perth has 5 staff members.


1. The question we always ask… First job in the industry?

Tony: I was fortunate enough to get a student job whilst I was studying at the University of New South Wales. I worked in a small practice with three other people in the office. I learnt to do a bit of everything on a range of smaller health and child-care centers. A great scale to learn on!

2. Advice for someone starting out?

Tony: I suggest developing a CV that’s creative and stands out in the crowd as it demonstrates that you’re willing to take that extra step! At interview, I’m impressed by the Graduates / Students who are confident enough to sell their skills and those who are proud of what they’ve achieved at University. They’re the ones who leave a lasting impression.

3. Favorite food?

Tony: Definitely Italian.

4. Least preferred style of Architecture

Tony: The commercial and residential towers that lack imagination and flair!

5. Your idea of fun is?

Tony: Cycling is fun and great exercise, but it’s not as much fun as playing with my Grandson!

6. Top buildings world-wide?

Tony: Gehry’s Guggenheim in Bilbao!! Le Corbusier’s chapel in Ronchamp, and the NGV Australian Art Gallery at Federation Square.

7. How would people describe you?

Tony: Calm and patient.

 8. Your hang out of choice?

Tony: I’m very much a homebody! I hang out at home with my family.

9. What do you the think the market will do in the next 12 months?

Tony: My expectation is that things will remain reasonably buoyant as they have been over the last 12 months. I don’t think there will be a dramatic increase or drop off in work.

10. Finish this sentence…”If I had my time again I would…..”

Tony: Study Architecture, work as an architect and travel the world as much as possible!

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