Melanie Yard grew up in a number of homes between Sydney and Brisbane, each one responding to its context - a timber Queenslander with cooling concrete floors and a post-war brick house in Sydney’s suburbs. The experiences and feelings gained in each house led her to study architecture at the University of Melbourne, graduating in 2021 with a Master of Architecture. Her master’s thesis, focusing on this tactility of the built and natural environments, continues to guide her daily, as much as the writings of Japanese author Jun’ichiro Tanizaki’s from In Praise of Shadows.
For Melanie, seeing how other people either lived or chose to live by engaging architects, was a driver in her choice to be an architect. The relationship between the client and the architect continues to excite and energise her creative bent. The opportunity of having different experiences and working with different players in the design process also gives her great satisfaction, whether it’s dealing with a client, an engineer, or one of the many subcontractors involved in each project, irrespective of scale.
While some graduates gravitate to large architectural practices, Melanie preferred the opportunities offered by smaller practices, such as Hindley & Co., which has – a level of intimacy and connection that comes with a more personal hands-on approach. As with Tanizaki’s book, there’s a subtlety and softness with Melanie’s approach, making the things people touch in the houses she works on as memorable as the experiences she recalls from the houses she lived in her formative years.
BA of Environments, MA Architecture, Melbourne Uni.