Simon Cookes

Bach. Planning & Design, Bach. Architecture (Hons), Bach.
Property & Construction, Architect#17120. the Duck, sous-chef to masters’ of the imagination. "Inspire & be inspired".

Simon had childhood aspirations of being a stuntman. He is an artist, naturalist, environmentalist and life maximalist.

Artistic adventure keeps this islander sailing: painting, poetry, sculpture, architecture, industrial design, life drawing, foreign language, skiing, travel, food and dance. He may seem to have eyes bigger than his belly but a guttural drive help make this Cookes and his flock’s projects flying. The cleavers and caution are not lost on this charismatic kook. Though quirky, Simon has a professionalism giving his creative dreams the best chance for success.

Cooking a creation with this Cookes can be fun – adding the ingredients, mixing and mashing, he doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty and sinking his teeth into something but the real kick is to taste the fruits of the labour. To see, smell and touch the creation salivates Simon. The proof is in the pudding.

Simon Cookes

Core Services

Core Stages of Architectural Service

  • Design Schematic: concept design
  • Development Approval: planning permit
  • Design Development: detailed design
  • Contract Documentation: working documents and building permit
  • Contract Administration: client agent and independent assessor during construction

Building Types

  • Residential: alterations, houses, apartments, hotels
  • Commercial & retail: offices, shops, fit-outs, pop-ups
  • Hospitality: bars, cafés, restaurants, function centres
  • Institutional: schools, playgrounds, public realm
Core Service

Other Services

Non-core, collaborations & Duckbuild managed work

  • Drafting services
  • Sustainability consultancy
  • Feasibility studies
  • Property development
  • Interior design and decorating
  • Construction management
  • Furniture and hardware design
  • Landscape design and documentation
  • Rendering, photography and montages
  • Graphic design and creative consultancy
  • Fine Art consultancy
  • Building Information Modelling ( Revit )
  • Architectural design teaching
Other Services

Our Practice

"Life is too short to be Boring"

Duckbuild is an expressive, progressive, Melbourne based architecture firm. Our focus is creativity, aesthetic delight, client bliss, functionality, affordability, project management and ecological sustainability. Our mission is to create great environments.

Simon Cookes founded Duckbuild as a building drafting & sustainability consultancy in 2004, becoming a registered architectural practice in 2009. Duckbuild has experience in various types of design, planning and building approvals, construction drawings and documents as well as project management. We are BIM enabled consultants using Revit for design, documentation and collaboration.

Our projects range in size, for example small AUS$50,000 renovations up to multi-million dollar apartment developments. The principles of design and project management can be applied to a wide range of project types and scales. From concept to delivery, the production processes are controlled in order that the project is of the highest value to the owner, end-users, wider community and environment.

Our Practice


DUCKBUILD can manage the procurement of various types of projects. With registered architects, DUCKBUILD acts in a dual role as our client’s agent representing their interests to the rest of the project team as well as acting independently as an assessor, valuator and certifier under the construction contract with the builder. In different circumstances we may be the construction manager that takes on the role of the builder / site supervisor when the client wishes to employ trades directly. We may also apply this management knowledge and experience to projects outside of architecture, such as art installations, film / theatre / event sets, retail pop-ups, products (eg. Furniture), etc.. Following are factors key to project success:

Team Diagram


Normally the contractor (/builder) wants to build quickly and cheaply to maximize their profits. The designer (/architect) is more concerned with quality. The client (/owner) wants all of the above - a quality product, delivered cheaply and quickly. This can make the process adversarial and frustrating. We prefer the round table, partnering (or alliancing) approach to project management.

Continued on Project Factors II & III

Project Factors II & III

Parameters Diagram

About us Diagram


The parameters of the project must be clearly conceived and prioritized. For example, if a short timeframe and low costs are the priorities then quality may lack. A balance can be struck. So it is important to formulate a good brief, program and budget from the outset that is honed and managed throughout the project.


Architecture is about creating a place within a particular environment for particular people to perform a particular function. More generally, designs (products, etc.) are born into a certain context and culture for a certain purpose. These three considerations are indivisible, they inform each other, giving each other meaning and value.


People, place and performance are together the qualifiers of architecture. When done well they sing in harmony. The architecture resonates with the culture and physiology of its people. It is where people take place to perform their purpose with grace. The space is a stage and its furnishings props, and so life’s performance is played out. The space is not just any, but a place with relevance and context in its time and environment. They are places where we belong, so dwell and dream.

Architecture is corporeal - alive and dying like all other creation. Design a body – a mass of living flesh. Something that you can sense and feel and love. Something that talks to you, and you listen and respond to. The enjoyment of dress ups, and undressing. The seduction of the skin. The strength in its skeleton and power in its movement. Creations that breathe, consume, excrete, and change. They mediate the climate. They nurture naturally. (Simon Cookes 02/06/2009)


Why the name Duckbuild

'Duck' refers to archetypes (or artful associations). 'Build' refers to tectonics (or the science of construction). Together they mean architecture. Therefore, DUCKBUILD MEANS ARCHITECTURE.

The genesis of Duckbuild can be attributed to the following: coming together of man-made and natural, explorations of archetypes, Venturi’s ‘duck’ architecture, youthfulness, teamwork, alliance, loyalty, mutual attraction, resilience, playfulness, inspiration, flight, progress, responsiveness, sensitivity, being vocal, birds that swim, metaphors, testing construction methods, duck ‘billed’ platypus, organic development, baukunst (art of building), multi-disciplinary, to do, to create.

Duck sayings:

"It’s not the cry, but the flight of the wild duck, that leads the flock to fly and follow."
"If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, it must be a duck"
"Be like a duck. Calm on the surface, but always paddling like the dickens underneath."
Duckbuild says: "Life is too short to be boring."

Why Duckbuild