Jonathan Lanham

Master of Architecture

Design, History and theory, BIM, Digital illustration and publishing, Photography

Hi, I’m Jonathan Lanham, a graduate of QUT’s Master of Architecture course. I am one of a number of students that have taken the slow route to achieving their masters degree. I began my studies with QUT in 2011, taking a Design Major in Architectural Studies with minors in Landscape Architecture and  Property Economics. I felt (and still feel) that those subjects would be beneficial in supporting my architectural degree, because they would give me insight into other stake holders in the development game. I began working for Elevation Architecture in March of 2015 and worked part-time as I finished off Architectural Design 8. Managing the work load was difficult, but I fought through it and came out all the stronger. In 2016 I worked full time as an Architectural Student for Elevation Architecture, where I participated in the design and documentation of a variety of projects. Elevation took my education to another level, adding layers of practicality and ‘street-sense’ that complimented my university education.  Elevation is (currently) an upcoming smaller firm of approximately 15-20 staff members which works in a variety of sectors.

During my time with the firm, I have personally spent a great deal of time on their Multi-residential, Aged Care and Childcare projects and have taken my first big steps into coordinating the documentation of the aforementioned project types during various design phases. Up until 2015, I had worked solely by hand or with Autodesk’s AutoCAD and Revit. While I am reasonably proficient on these platforms, it was only upon joining Elevation that my CAD skills developed in leaps and bounds when I was introduced to Graphisoft’s ArchiCAD. Over the course of my employment, I developed from (virtually) ArchiCAD illiterate, to a member of the firm’s CAD thinktank, where I have participated in various training exercises, worked alongside the CAD manager to develop new best practices, written tutorials, trained other staff members, and produced a CAD template for use with ArchiCAD 20. While I don’t want to rule out the possibility of working in Revit, I will say that learning ArchiCAD has been one of the most worth while experiences of my professional career.

2017 saw my return to full time study at QUT. For Semester 1, I part took in Peter Wolff’s Beenleigh-based design studio where we looked into regenerative design thinking, and tailored projects to  build upon the Town’s history, culture, and attributes whilst helping the various struggling factions within the community. For my final assignment, I proposed a multipurpose-weekend-retreat arts-studio which was to be built out of pre-fabricated, used, shipping containers. The precinct was to be situated within a park in the middle of the town-centre alongside the existing railway line. The purpose was to reinvigorate local manufacturing, get unskilled laborer’s into jobs (with the potential for future TAFE/higher education) and capitalise on  Beenleigh’s underground art scene (which is thriving). I thoroughly enjoyed Peter’s Personable approach and ability to pull people together, this course changed my perspective on social justice and whole systems thinking for the better.

In Semester two I was lucky enough to participate in Paul Trotter and Peter Richards’ Florianopolis (Mullet Run) Studio. If Peter Wolff’s studio focused on ‘meaning,’ ’emotion’ and ‘regenerative design,’ it would be fair enough to say that the Florianopolis studio focused on ‘pragmatism’ and ‘sensibility to place.’ I enjoyed getting to know the tutors and delving into research about social housing typologies and understanding just what makes a typology succeed or fail. For this project I tested whether it would be possible to achieve a high density development which still had security and a sense of belonging. History has shown us that many past attempts based on Le Corbusier’s radiant city theory resulted in dangerous, anti-social habitations (Pruitt Igoe and co.) I hope that what I have proposed addresses many of the issues already encountered.

For 2018 it is my intention to return to full time work with Elevation Architecture where I will work as an Architectural Graduate and work towards registration over the next two years. I enjoy the challenge of working on larger projects and hope to continue developing my professional and BIM skills. If all things go to plan I could see myself as an Architect and (maybe) a project leader within 5 years. If I had to nail down what it is about profession that really drives me, it would be the opportunity to innovate and create culturally sensitive yet personally meaningful places for people to live and work.