Born and educated in Ireland, Andrew grew up surrounded by the warmth and hospitality of the Irish community. Travelling to Australia, he was struck by the way that big pubs and clubs in Australia were often cold, inhuman spaces, which stood in stark contrast to the warm and intimate traditions of European socialising. So began his career journey, and he has since made the transformation and humanisation of Australian clubs, hotels and hospitality spaces his life work.
In 1991, Andrew established Altis Architecture, along with fellow architect, Rolfe Latimer, because he wanted to make a difference. From these humble origins, Altis Architecture has grown to become Australia’s leading clubs and hospitality architecture firm. With over 40 staff, Altis is renown for their ability to unlock opportunity from underutilised land holdings, reinvigorate communities, and transform spaces into hubs for the surrounding community.
Andrew loves to work directly with clients in order to understand their business needs and aspirations from the source. This approach has led to many long-term client relationships (in some cases decades long), where Andrew and the Altis team can fully understand and design for the changing business and community needs facing his clients. In testament to this approach are the array of successful, well-rounded and diversified enterprises Altis has helped to direct and create.
Andrew’s pride in Altis is palpable. He is surrounded by a talented team, and leads a dynamic culture where he can both inspire others, and constantly be inspired. The firm’s team approach to interiors and architecture, combined with a healthy gender balance, ensures the creative output is also well balanced and human in scale.
For Andrew, architecture is his life long passion, and he loves nothing more than to walk into a venue he sketched up years ago and enjoy a beer with the people in the community who now call it their home away from home.
As a young boy, Rolfe had a love of painting and drawing. At the age of 10, he picked up a book on architecture, and from that moment he knew he wanted to become an architect.
Following his passion, Rolfe studied architecture at the University of New South Wales, graduating with honours. He then entered the workforce, and worked with a variety of small and large commercial offices that provided valuable insight into the design profession.
In 1991, Rolfe and his colleague Andrew O’Connell decided to branch out on their own and create Altis Architecture. They saw an opportunity to transform the architecture of Australian clubs and hospitality spaces – and they’ve never looked back.
Rolfe’s approach to architecture is to always put himself into the project. To imagine what it will be like to walk around and within the building he is designing. He loves to spend time looking at a venue, thinking about the spaces and the community who will use those spaces, and then working with the client to develop a unique concept that will transform their business whilst remaining anchored in what makes a space feel warm and human.
Rolfe is most proud of Altis’ role in the reinvention of the Australian clubs and hospitality industry. Altis has been at the forefront of the transformation of the clubs and hospitality market, and has played a leading role in redefining what clubs can offer their communities. By working passionately to lift the quality of the architecture and interiors of clubs and hospitality spaces, Rolfe and the Altis team have driven a shift of focus within Australian hospitality architecture towards a more human experience with a broader offering for the local community.
Rolfe takes great pride in Altis, and the business and culture he has helped create. His love of architecture and the creation of human spaces runs deep, and this is never more clear than when you follow him around a venue he has helped to create.
Tony always knew he would work in the building industry. His father was a builder, and from a young age Tony loved nothing more than to go on site with his dad and help out on the tools. At school Tony showed talent in both technical drawing and woodwork and this led to the study of Architecture Technology, followed by a Bachelor of Architecture (Honours) at the University of NSW. His practical experience, combined with the study of both technical and design architecture gives him the understanding and technical knowledge of how to take a building from design concept through to reality.
After a background in aged care architecture, Tony began work at Altis in 2007 and has never looked back. As a registered architect, Tony is responsible for the front-end design work, having worked on a range of hospitality architecture projects as well as the award-winning The Quarter project in Darwin.
One of the things Tony loves most about Altis is the design focus of the studio. He believes that good design comes from a strong vision, and if you stay true to that, the building will speak for itself.
Tony prides himself on going above and beyond what a normal architect would do. He sees himself as a design consultant and he treats his client’s projects as if they were his own. He understands how to get things built, and he loves the collaboration that comes from the teamwork of taking something from an initial idea through to the final, functioning built form.
Having worked at Altis for over 18 years, in many ways Lyndel is the custodian of the Altis brand – ensuring high standards of design are maintained across every project, and helping to mentor the team on what gives a space that sense of beauty and humanity, without compromising the detail or functionality so essential in a hospitality environment.
As a young girl Lyndel was intensely creative, always painting and drawing whenever she could. This led her to study interior design at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). Ten years into her career Lyndel work was beginning to cross-over into architecture, and so she chose to go through the rigorous process of becoming an architect by accreditation through the Australian Institute of Architects (something only achieved by a handful of people each year).
Lyndel’s unique combination of both interiors and architecture skills and knowledge is perfectly suited to hospitality architecture and design, and she has developed a rare ability to be able to create spaces that are at once warm and highly functional at the same time.
For Lyndel, the beauty of her work is to create spaces that are accessible to a broad array of people and that can help to transform communities.
With a degree in Architecture Technology from his home country of Ireland, Derek is known for his technical focus and eye for detail. Over his 10-year history at Altis, Derek has worked as project leader on many of Altis’ larger and more challenging projects including Canterbury Leagues Club, Dee Why RSL Club and the ground-breaking Sydney Lyric Theatre.
Derek’s philosophy revolves around a deep value for the technical aspects of architecture in order to deliver beautiful design and great function. In architecture, small technical issues can have large ramifications in the built form, and Derek has the ability solve these issues no matter how large or small.
Derek treats his projects as a true collaboration, and he puts a lot of time and effort into getting to know the client, the site, the building and the demographics in order to understand how to make the project unique. On his major projects, Derek works well with the tight Altis team to ensure the best design and technical outcomes.
Originally, Derek came to Australia for a six-month holiday, however he loved the country and Altis so much he decided to stay. Derek loves working at Altis because in hospitality, every project is different, and there’s always a challenge.
Having worked in London, Los Angeles and Australia, Lauren’s career has centred on the hospitality industry. The creation of hospitality spaces allows Lauren the opportunity to focus on people, the human scale and the creation of spaces people will love to eat, drink and play within. Her warmth and passion for her work shines through on every level in her projects, from the client engagement and team culture through to the interior detailing and of course the final product - beautiful human spaces.
Lauren’s driving force is to design spaces that people will want to return to, and that will also produce commercial results for her clients. Lauren is known for her eye for operational detail, and she loves ensuring that the original design concept translates into a functional spaces that work and feel great to be in.
In 2008, Lauren was sent on a two-month secondment to Altis. She enjoyed it so much, she didn’t want to leave. Returning in 2011 she has now risen to be one of the senior associates at the studio. For Lauren, she sees Altis as a family. A true team player, Lauren has the ability to bring her love of people, design and detail to everything she does and her longstanding client and work relationships are a testament to that.
Trevor serves as both project architect and mentor within the studio, helping to educate and support the Altis team and to ensure that all aspects of a design translates into the physical environment in a way that works.
With a broad array of industry experience, Trevor was attracted to Altis because of the unique way interiors and traditional architecture work hand in glove. The way that the interiors and architecture teams work together from the beginning of a project in Trevor’s view leads to superior, more compelling human spaces.
For Trevor, the greatest measure of success in a project is at the end of the job, when the clients and builders say ‘this is better than we thought it could be’. To always have pride in the work that you do – that is what drives him.