Part 3: Outcomes and Reflections

“MADE alumni have now stepped up as professional leaders and representatives in many fields ranging from start-ups to multinational organisations. They are now in a position to leave a legacy by continuing to share their knowledge and experience gained from MADE to the next generation.”
- Arup, June 2023

“The success of MADE is confirmed by the high level of interest and goodwill it has generated among partners and participants alike.”
- NSW Architects Registration Board, June 2023

“These deep collaborations always provide unexpected results.”  
- Jakob Brandtberg Knudsen, Dean of Architecture, Royal Danish Academy Architecture, Design, Conservation


Reflections, Outcomes, Legacy

The Alumni group

The MADE alumni now consists of 89 individuals from architecture, engineering and design. Each has their own specialisation, professional focus and industry experience. Early participants now have careers - while some from the later programs are still studying. They are connected by the MADE program and a great number of the group remain in contact professionally and personally.

2015 alumnus Jules Lipman reflects that one of the reasons for the alumni group's success could be attributed to the ever growing nature of the group – as each new cohorts joined, the 'burden' of responsibility became shared. This process provided a sustainable model for contribution and cultivation.

Access to global networks and friendships was the most frequently noted impact by the alumni surveyed in 2023.

Following a number of surveys with the MADE alumni group, the impacts and outcomes are mapped under the following headings:

  • Key Program Impacts
  • Where are the Alumni now?
  • Key Professional Application
  • The Alumni Legacy

Alumni reflections

Many of the surveyed alumni mentioned their unconscious use of the learnings from MADE in their professional careers.

“MADE has instilled a way of working that I carry with me every day at work. It has instilled an appreciation of collaboration and opened up an understanding of the power of professional relationships built on an understanding of process.” 
- Alex Crowe, Danish Program 2015, Landscape Architecture

“MADE provided me with the international network that made it possible to first gain work experience in Copenhagen, which led to me living, studying and working in Denmark for four years. This experience gave me the direction, passion and credentials to successfully move to New York, where I now work as a landscape designer.”
- Eleanor Gibson, Danish Program 2017, Interiors & Architecture

“When I first applied for the program, I couldn't have imagined that today I'd be sitting in a meeting conducted entirely in Danish, and not just following, but actively participating.”
- Tom Dufficy, Danish Program 2019, Architect


Reflections, Outcomes, Legacy

Attending a function at the Utzon Centre in Aalborg , Christen Obel of the Henrik F. Obel Foundation Obel Foundation and Louise Herron, CEO of the Sydney Opera House dreamed up the concept of MADE, inspired by the multi-disciplinary collaboration that had been required to successfully build the Sydney Opera House. To achieve their ambitions for the program, they approached Steensen Varming, Arup, the NSW Architects Registration Board, the Dreyer Foundation and the Bikuben Foundation to become the program’s founding partners. Notably, Christen Obel says six founding partners contributed to the success of MADE by bringing a variety of voices to the program, each offering different roles and contributions. 

The primary contributions over the 10 years included:

  • Developing and refining the program
  • Hosting students
  • Providing mentorship and masterclasses
  • Offering industry perspectives
  • Preparing briefs
  • Interviewing applicants
  • Providing funding

Outlined below are the key legacies, learnings and outcomes, as reflected by the partners at the conclusion of the program.

Steensen Varming

Legacy: Steensen Varming notes that they will continue the MADE legacy by continuing to support respect, education and shared endeavour in realising better outcomes.

Organisational outcomes: CEO Dan Mackenzie reflects that “Directly supporting what we see as a critical issue in the industry for a wider benefit” has been one of the most significant outcomes of the MADE program for the firm. Director Chris Arkins also notes what an enriching experience MADE has been for the Steensen Varming staff.

Industry outcomes: Their hope for the program's impact on the industry includes reminding people that respectful and close cooperative work, supporting an understood vision, is more important than pursuing individual or discipline-biased outcomes. This has been experienced by the firm already, observing the personal growth and attitude change in the students after the program.

“If, through this 89 alumni, we get anything like one more Sydney Opera House out of it, and we’ve sparked that interest in the person that helps deliver it, we can all be very proud of ourselves.”  
- Dan Mackenzie, Steensen Varming at the 2014 Danish Program Presentation


Legacy: Arup notes they will continue to be involved in tertiary education mentorships and future legacy programs, while also continuing their firms’ legacy.  As Ove [Arup] said: “We are led to the ideal of ‘Total Architecture’, in collaboration with like-minded firms.”

Organisational outcomes: The most significant outcomes for the firm have been the opportunity to inspire the next generation and to leave a legacy through professional mentorships and employment opportunities for MADE alumni.

Industry outcomes: Arup’s first hope of the industry impact is on the tertiary education system: ‘Normalising' the system’s integration more closely with professional organisations and real-life projects; and ‘Evolving’ the siloed education departments, moving towards more holistic ones. The second hope is for the MADE alumni to share their knowledge and experience with the industry and next generation. The third is to encourage and reinforce the need for sharing diverse perspectives and ideas.

NSW Architects Registration Board (ARB)

Legacy: The ARB has initiated the ARB+ platform to celebrate architecture and reach a wider public audience as part of its commitment to continuing the MADE legacy.

Organisational outcomes: The most significant impact for NSW ARB has been the opportunity to establish a significant multidisciplinary cohort of alumni who have gone on to pursue successful careers in architecture and allied fields internationally.

Industry outcomes: The ARB hopes the MADE program will continue to promote the value of good design, highlight the contribution of architects in creating high-quality built environments, foster multidisciplinary collaboration to support innovative solutions, and value the application of the UN Sustainable Development Goals in the built environment.

Henrik F. Obel Foundation

Legacy: Having a funding role in the MADE program, the Henrik F. Obel Foundation notes that implementing the program’s ‘results’ sits outside the scope of its role.

Organisational outcomes: The large group of alumni, all with a better understanding of Utzon, is considered the most significant outcome for the Foundation. Additionally, Christen Obel, Chairman of the Obel F. Foundation Board, notes the positive student experiences and benefits of interdisciplinary collaboration as a successful outcome.

Industry outcomes: Obel observes the positive response of the industry to the MADE students’ final presentations. Obel also says that experiencing a close-to-real-life program will be of great benefit to many of the MADE students and offers them the opportunity to learn something about themselves as well as methods to collaborate better.

“It’s been interesting to see the context change across the 10 years – both the technology students have access to, and the focus on climate change and sustainability. It’s so dynamic and yet collaboration has remained central. ”
- Christen Obel, Chairman, Obel F. Foundation Board

Bikuben Foundation

Legacy: The Bikuben Foundation indicates that a key focus in their current community-development is to involve and engage multidisciplinary approaches to support radical transformation of society.

Organisational outcomes: MADE has supported the Foundation’s thinking on how to develop new processes for design thinking, innovation, problem-based work and multidisciplinary collaboration, also in relation to the creation of their new community (Thoravej 29) and the certified sustainable building that will host the community from 2024/2025.

Industry Outcomes: The Bikuben Foundation says the values of MADE such as multidisciplinary collaboration, design thinking, internationalization, education, relations and innovation, have been fostered across the industry.

“The program has succeeded in promoting international and interdisciplinary interaction between the subject groups, as well as strengthening cultural relations between Denmark and Australia, all framed by a focus on Jørn Utzon's architecture and design principles. We hope for a better and integrated cooperation between architects, engineers and designers in the construction industry.”
- Dreyers Foundation

“Programs such as MADE that have international collaborations and which work across disciplines supports vital discussions about the future of the industry.”
- Royal Danish Academy


Sydney Opera House

At the heart of the MADE program’s success is generosity, collaboration and support of the next generation. 

One way the Opera House aims to continue this is through the new mentor partnership for MADE students - the Sydney Opera House BUILD program.

Supported by the Ove Arup Foundation in partnership with Sydney Opera House, this new multidisciplinary creative learning program for secondary and tertiary students uses the Opera House building, site and story as a catalyst for learning about STEM, and solving real-world issues as identified by the UN Sustainable Development Goals. To continue the BUILD students' professional development, Sydney Opera House is scoping a program that sees MADE Alumni engaged in mentoring BUILD participants. 

“MADE is true to our DNA. It’s about multidisciplinary collaboration. It’s about Australians and Danes working together to bring about a work of human creative genius. And just as with Jorn Utzon, who was young when he worked on the Opera House, everyone on this program has been at the formative stages of their careers. A transformative program, it will continue to shape the way they approach both work and life.”
- Louise Herron AM, CEO, Sydney Opera House

Finishing Statements

“It has been a wonderful opportunity for Steensen Varming to support such a significant and wide reaching program that has directly influenced the path of a very talented group of architects, engineers and designers across two countries, that remain inextricably linked by an outstanding vision that was realised in the Sydney Opera House.”
- Steensen Varming

“Arup is honoured to have been a founding member and part of a 10-year legacy, that continues the historical links forged by Ove Arup, Jørn Utzon and other key architects, engineers, designers and builders.”

“The program has succeeded in promoting international and interdisciplinary interaction between the subject groups, as well as strengthening cultural relations between Denmark and Australia, all framed by a focus on Jørn Utzon’s architecture and design principles.”
- Dreyers Foundation

“The NSW ARB has enjoyed the opportunity to support the MADE program and the next generation of world-leading designers in the built environment.”
- NSW Architects Registration Board

“It has been a pleasure to define the framework and then see MADE take on a life of its own.”
- Christen Obel, Chairman, Henrik F. Obel Foundation

“The MADE program has inspired new, innovative ways of working that can inspire fields, disciplines and solutions far beyond architecture, engineering and design.”
- Bikuben Foundation

“Like the collaborative approach that brought the Opera House to life, MADE fits perfectly with our ambition to be Everyone’s House.”
- Louise Herron AM, CEO, Sydney Opera House