mcmahon and nerlich
South Melbourne, VIC, Australia
Architects Kate McMahon and Rob Nerlich have been partners in life and work for many years, working locally and in the UK at several architecture studios together and founding their practice, mcmahon and nerlich, in Melbourne in 2013.
Prior to establishing their own studio, Kate and Rob applied for the same role at a UK architectural firm. When they were both given the role, it marked the second architectural office they had worked in together. Both feel strongly about the role of architecture in public life, and Rob eventually moved to another practice specialising in urban design to gain more experience in large-scale development, pursuing his passion for how buildings contribute to the city, and how large complexes of buildings can relate to each other. When they moved back to Melbourne they continued to act on their belief in giving back, taking time to teach design at Melbourne University and guest critiquing at RMIT, Melbourne and Monash Universities.
While they are very interested in large-scale and public architecture, Kate and Rob recognise it is just one part of their work. ‘Architects have a love-affair with the family home’, says Kate, ‘we’re always fine-tuning our approach to residential housing’. Rob agrees, noting ‘From our perspective, there’s no fundamental difference between designing apartments and a single house – it’s the same impulse of creating spaces for people to live in, spaces that bring joy’.