Fast Facts about Arne

Position: Associate

Education: Rhode Island School of Design

Secret Talent: Jewelry Making


Harboring an eye for detail and a childhood surrounded by architecture, Arnold “Arne” Judd, Associate, seemed destined to become an architect from a young age. Arne is a Kentucky native who works in our Louisville office.

What drew you to architecture?

Growing up, my dad was a partner in Arrasmith, Judd, Rapp, & Chovan (now Arrasmith, a Schmidt Associates Company). I watched him from a very young age and started working summers there in 1974. I graduated from Rhode Island School of Design in 1980 with a Bachelor of Architecture and worked for a firm in the New England area and one in Boston. My stint in Boston was interesting to gain some independent experience, but I wanted to work with my father, as he was near retirement. So, in 1983, I moved back to Louisville with my degree in hand and became a partner in Arrasmith in 1986, for a total of 37 years at the firm.

In the beginning, I was primarily a project architect. However, during a construction site visit early in my career on a project that was having some issues, I helped negotiate solutions to bring the project to a successful conclusion. Later, it was decided that I had a propensity for construction administration and, since then, have primarily served in that role, especially on larger/high profile projects.

What are some of your favorite projects?

The two clients with whom I have had the longest relationship are the University of Louisville and Louisville Zoo. I have worked with both for more than 25 years.

In 1994, Arrasmith had its first zoo project. Zoo exhibits are the most complicated building type that I have worked on. Most buildings require five or six design disciplines, but zoo projects require up to 13. They have specialty components to create environments for people and animals, while at the same time keeping them safe from each other. Our partnership with CLRdesign (our national zoo design consultant) began with the Islands project that had an Indonesian-themed village concept. It was the first multi-species, rotational exhibit in the world. Four different habitats were all connected through a series of transfer chutes linking each of them. The concept for this type of habitat created a predator/prey scenario to simulate how the animals would act in the wild. Other rotational exhibits had been built with the same animal species, but not five different species. For example, you might see an orangutan in the first habitat in the morning, but in the afternoon, there might be a Sumatran tiger in the same exhibit and the orangutan would be in the third habitat.

In fact, my wife and I got married in the forest aviary inside the Islands pavilion. The Islands project was awarded a national AZA Design Award, one of three AZA exhibit awards received by the Louisville Zoo for various projects. This project was also featured on Animal Planet’s series “Ultimate Zoo,” where I was interviewed in one of the episodes. That was my five minutes of fame.

I also designed the zoo’s African Outpost restaurant. It consists of a series of small, cone-shaped thatched roofs around the perimeter of a large vaulted roof in the center. We brought construction workers from five different tribes in Africa and indigenous thatch materials to ensure authenticity in the project’s implementation. The African Outpost also won a Kentucky AIA Honor award for design.

African Outpost Restaurant

African Outpost Restaurant

Do you have any advice for someone entering the field?

Skills in Revit and 3D visualization are critical tools to communicate a design to an Owner before it is built. In addition to technology, having “boots on the ground” at a construction site will truly help you understand how a building comes together. The two skills can combine to create a great foundation for a successful career.

Is there a skill or talent you don’t have, but wish you did?

I would like to learn how to make stained glass. I have always tried to have a creative outlet; design is an important aspect of my life. Several years ago, I tried learning the art of stained glass, but it was an amateur attempt. It might be something I will pursue further in retirement.

I would also like to learn a new language. I can speak enough French to be dangerous. My favorite description of my language skill is that I can begin a conversation in French but am never able to finish it. My wife is a French professor and is not only fluent in the language, but also very appreciative of the French “joie de vivre.” Integrating into a new culture through language and interactions makes an international trip much more meaningful. For me, travel and immersion in another country helps expand my perspective and creativity.

What do you do in your free time?

I love the outdoors, hiking, traveling, and photography. We have been known to enjoy preparing a nice meal with a good bottle of wine or going out with friends to a favorite restaurant. It’s moments with the ones we love that are the most important. Admittedly, I prefer activities that are low key. I am not an adrenaline fanatic, so skydiving is definitely not my thing!

Do you have a favorite vacation?

My wife and I enjoy traveling a lot, and we’ve been to many beautiful places, but I have two favorite trips: Hawaii and France.

We went to Kauai, Hawaii for my 50th birthday and rented a place on the north side of the island. We spent our days driving around the island, seeing the beaches, visiting the Waimea Canyon, hiking the Napali coast, and went on a helicopter ride to see amazing waterfalls. On the return trip home, we spent a few days in San Francisco and drove up the coast to visit the wine country of Sonoma.

My other favorite vacation was our most recent trip to France to celebrate our 22nd anniversary. We rented a villa in Provence that had a swimming pool with a view of the mountains. We enjoyed the local market, hiked, took a boat ride on the coast, ate at great restaurants, and went to the blooming lavender and sunflower fields. Following our time there, we traveled back to Paris to soak up the culture there. The view from our apartment balcony enabled us to watch the fireworks over the Eiffel Tower on Bastille Day.

Arne Judd Travel Photos

What’s one thing not everyone knows about you?

One year while holiday shopping at the mall, I grew tired of battling the crowds, so I started making jewelry. Since then, I have enjoyed creating custom design pieces for family members and friends. In architecture, you can work three or four years on a building’s design and construction. Upon completion, if you find a small detail that you are unhappy with, it’s there forever. With jewelry, I can create a design and change it easily to fix aspects I don’t like. It is satisfying to be able to express my creativity, and at the same time, please those I care about.

Do you collect anything?

My wife and I enjoy investing in original artwork and have found several of our pieces while traveling. One of my favorites is a painting of an Italian countryside we noticed as we walked by a shop in Tuscany. It spoke to us, so we purchased it immediately. We had a similar experience in a Seattle gallery where we saw a painting of a French landscape. Also, at a fundraising event at the Louisville Zoo, we were fortunate to bid on (and win) an original Chihuly glass art piece.

Where is your favorite place to go in Louisville?

Louisville is becoming known for its eclectic culinary scene and our favorite place to eat out is Le Relais in Bowman Field Airport. It has an outdoor deck where we can sit watching planes take off and land. Stepping inside, you experience a classic French Bistro motif with hand-painted woodgrain paneling and authentic art nouveau light fixtures. As an aside, the airport (which is on the National Register of Historic Places) was designed by William Arrasmith, my father’s business partner [namesake and founder of the firm], which adds additional meaning to the experience.