A leader in the TANDEM Design Studio team since coming on board three years ago, Priscilla Finn brings a strong work ethic, civic design expertise and a keen interest in large-scale public work.

Can you share a little of your professional path, and what led you to join TANDEM?

I’ve been at TANDEM for over three years now. Previously I had worked at smaller sized firms, so coming here was about stepping things up and challenging myself.


What about the practice drew your interest, initially?

My previous experience was focused on community and public architecture, as well as educational – so it’s been great to step across into multi and single residential. I wanted to be involved in more large-scale public projects – I have an interest in architecture that lots of people get to experience, looking at TANDEM’s work at MONA and Federation Square, for instance – and being able to apply those learnings in our smaller projects.

What also attracted me was working in a real team-based structure. Tim and James’ attitude to the office and business is a real positive. Everyone is very open to change, always thinking about how we might improve and evolve.


What do you feel is your unique contribution to the team?

I think deeply about who’s going to be using the building, and aim to involve them meaningfully in the design process. My approach is to develop a strong design concept early on, one that naturally structures the project and carries it through to construction. And we’re always looking to involve staff as much as possible, particularly the younger team members, ensuring they have some input.


As an Associate at TANDEM, you work on multiple projects simultaneously – can you share how you approach that juggle?

I find it helps me think laterally and find efficient ways to apply different methods across various projects. You may not think a school and a house would have anything in common, for example, but similar design principles can apply – you can find ways to be efficient. When you have a big project with many complex requirements, it can really help focus your management skills. You learn how to apply these best-practice, rigorous processes throughout your work.


What do you consider to be the most satisfying aspects of your role?

Seeing a project through, from a concept to having it built on site. Working with the team here, and collaborating with great clients and consultants. Our Lions Club project has been really satisfying to work on, replacing social housing, and introducing new accommodation on site. It’s one that I’m really looking forward to seeing completed. It’s not just basic social housing, it’s somewhere that aims to enhance the community that was already there.