Q. Why did you choose architecture as your profession?
A. My Uncle was an architect in Auckland and I was encouraged to follow him. It seemed like an interesting career as it combined art with science.
Q. How would you describe your style?
A. Evolving! At the beginning I was all over the place but I am a lot surer of myself now. I like minimalistic spaces, tempered with an appreciation and understanding of those who will inhabit them. In other words not making the building too deterministic. People shouldn’t have to fight against their buildings: they should be an easy fit.
Q. Where do you take inspiration from?
A. It depends. Often from the site and the constraints of the program, sometimes an idea floats into your head and you go with it and see if it works.
Q. What is your favourite structure in the world architecturally?
A. Luis Barragan’s Chapel at the Convent in Talplan Mexico…I love it. It brought me to tears when I went inside it – it was like visiting God.
Q. If you hadn’t become an architect, what other field would you have chosen?
A. I wanted to become a musician but I wasn’t talented enough, the work required to get really good is unbelievable and the rewards are there for only a very few.
Q. What is the most exciting thing happening in architecture right now?
A. I’m very excited by a new star on the horizon – Vo Trong Nghia from Ho Chi Minh City. A future superstar and working with sustainable materials.
Q. Over the coming decade what changes do you see in the architectural industry?
A. More and more sustainability technology More and more visualisation tools. Once it was CAD and now we are using gaming technology to visualise buildings. We will also see building design become an assembly of components through the greater use of BIM technology.
Q. What timeline into the future do you design to? 10 – 20 – 30 years?
A. Never think about it. I just hope the buildings survive me.
Q. Is there an iconic building/structure you would make a change to? If so, what would that be?
A. That is like asking someone to add lipstick to the Mona Lisa. I wouldn’t dare suggest making changes.
Q. Do you have a favourite building material to incorporate into your designs?
A. Because I am a NZ boy I love timber. The warmth of timber and contrasting it with stainless steel is something I love the look of. In Vietnam I have become used to building in concrete and brick and I have rekindled a love affair with brick.
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