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 Co) is a small studio-based practice that specialises in remote complex projects in Australia and overseas. Based in Cairns and Brisbane, JDA has a reputation for innovative, collaborative projects with a strong emphasis on design. 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 we like it. In our approach to architecture, we have 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, culture and material context.

Our work encompasses a diversity of project scales ranging from boutique residential to large institutional projects, building in particular on the practice’s collective expertise in all areas of design ranging from one-off residential architecture through to multi-residential projects, interiors, cultural/public buildings, heritage, urban design and master planning.

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Our Team

James Davidson (BArch, Hons 1, PhD)

James Davidson 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 architectural anthropology, 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 focusing on urban design and residential architecture, climate change adaptation and flood resilience in the Netherlands, USA and UK. This led to a 5 day design charrette in 2016 which brought together 170 professionals from over 20 different disciplines to work towards a regional water management plan for Southeast Queensland. In 2017, James published the culmination of this work titled, Water Futures: Integrated Water and Flood Management Strategies for Enhancing Liveability in South East Queensland.

Over the course of the last decade James has become Australia’s leading flood-resilience architect. He has written the Flood Resilient Building Guidance for Queensland Homes for the Queensland State Government, the Flood Resilient Home Building Design Guideline for the Gold Coast City Council and is currently managing the roll out of the Flood Resilient Homes Program for the Brisbane City Council, which is the largest flood resilience built environment project to date in Australia.


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. He is a registered Architect in Queensland.


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, complex projects. Being of Burmese heritage, Clive is particularly interested in architecture’s role in Asia, having undertaken post-tsunami housing research in Tohoku, Japan. Clive is also the in-house 3D visual artist at JDA.



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.


Our Collaborators


Tony Black | Black and More

Tony is a Founding Director of Black & More (2000) and The Partners Group Australia (2016). He is a Chartered Professional Engineer and Registered Professional Engineer (RPEQ) with more than 20 years’ experience in planning, design and construction of civil engineering infrastructure. He has demonstrated experience in the planning, design, procurement and construction of major infrastructure planning and design projects on behalf of all three levels of government.

Troy Rafton | Visualiii

Troy runs Visualiii Studio, a Brisbane based design company specialising in professional 3D visuals and real time imagery. Their client base is predominantly commercial and residential developers, but also includes the Queensland Government. Troy has been working in the architectural industry for over 20 years and spent much of that time working with one of Brisbane’s leading architectural firms.


Melissa Blight | Two Fold Studio

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.