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Underpinning the approach of James Davidson Architect is a strong belief that architecture is both product and process. Accordingly we value both the architectural work itself and the relationships with all involved in the building process, from clients to consultants to contractors to the eventual occupiers. Our experience is that building good relationships has many benefits for everyone involved, including minimising costs, reducing stress, and quick resolution of problems.


Our Practice

James Davidson Architect (JDA) is a small studio-based practice that specialises in remote complex projects in Australia and overseas. Based in Brisbane, and comprising 5 people, JDA is developing a reputation for self-initiated, collaborative projects with a strong emphasis on design advocacy. JDA doesn’t specialise in any specific type of work, but focuses on undertaking projects that present an opportunity to turn problems into enjoyable challenges. The more complex and difficult the project appears, the more JDA likes it. In his approach to architecture, James has a strong belief that the discipline is by its very nature an empirical anthropology, where the making of architecture is directly linked to its social processes and material context.  Thus, his interest lies in establishing a definitive connection between the practice and theory of architecture and the possibilities this relationship has for the design of future built environments.

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Our Collaborators


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James Davidson (BArch, Hons 1, PhD)

James Davidson is the director of JDA. James has lectured worldwide and has run studio, urban and residential design workshops in the Netherlands, UK and the USA. In addition to being the principal at JDA, James holds a doctorate in Architecture with a primary focus on vernacular building traditions and change, which he continues to develop in JDA’s practice work. He is also a previous director of Emergency Architects Australia, where he led their 2011 Queensland Floods relief project. In 2013, James was awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship which took him to the Netherlands, UK and USA researching urban design and residential architecture solutions for climate change adaptation and flooding. James has become a leader in flood-resilient architecture, both in Australia and internationally. He recently coordinated SEQ Waterfutures, a 5-day design charrette with over 150 participants from 20 different disciplines and 3 different countries to design an integrated water management plan for the Brisbane, Bremer and Lockyer Creek catchments. Download his CV

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Martin Arroyo (BArch, M.Arch)

After completing initial studies at the prestigious National University of Engineering in Lima, Peru, Martin moved to Australia to complete a Masters of Architecture at the University of Queensland, in 2004. He has since worked at a number of architectural practices in his adopted city of Brisbane, namely Elizabeth Watson-Brown Architects, Donovan Hill and Bligh Voller Nield. Martin aims to return to Peru in the future to assist with a number of community aid projects and is currently in the scoping phase for a development project of his own.

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Melissa Blight

Melissa runs Two Fold Studio, an interior design practice based in Highgate Hill. Two Fold collaborates with James Davidson Architect on several residential and commercial projects. Melissa has more than 20 years of industry experience and has been awarded Fellowship at the Design Institute of Australia.


Troy Rafton

Troy runs Visualiii (a play on words and pronounced,’visual-ise’), a Brisbane based design company specialising in professional 3D visuals and real time imagery.

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Sam Bowstead (BArchDes, MArch)

Sam has studied at The University of Queensland, Technische Universität Berlin and The University of British Columbia completing the first part of his architectural education in 2010 with a Master of Architecture in 2015.  Sam is particularly interested in JDA’s research in climate change adaptation and flooding, having worked as a project employee for Emergency Architects Australia’s QLD Flood Relief project and developing his Master’s thesis focused on the topic.

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Clive Ba-Pe (BArchDes, MArch)

Clive holds a Bachelor of Architectural Design and Master of Architecture from The University of Queensland. He joined JDA due to his strong interest in progressive, climate responsive architecture and his passion for complex, unusual projects. Being of Burmese heritage, Clive is particularly interested in architecture’s role in Asia, having undertaken post-tsunami housing research in Tohoku, Japan. He also background in Graphic Design and Illustration. Clive works as the in-house 3D visual artist at JDA.

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Britt Hill (BArchDes, MArch)

Brit studied at Politecnico di Milano and Queensland University of Technology earning a Master of Architecture in 2016.  Brit is actively involved in Brisbane’s local art scene, including contributions to House Conspiracy and the recent 2 degrees exhibition at Brisbane Powerhouse.


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