Bojana Hynes, Architect at The Buchan Group shares her insight and advice in a short Q&A with Nelsha Du Plessis at Cobalt Recruitment.
1. How did it come about that you chose a career in Architecture?
From a very young age, I loved building structures from coloured wooden blocks, Lego and even cushions. Creating spaces, town or cities was always exciting and fun. When it came to my college years, I excelled in Graphics and Design and to continue onto a study of Architecture was only a natural progression. I have never looked back since.
2. What influences your signature design style?
I approach each site and client with a fresh set of eyes. In that sense, my biggest influence is nature - the nature of the site, the natural environment surrounding it, its history and planned future. To this I bring the client brief and shape it to encompass all that they desire. I am fascinated with the influence of the external environment on internal spaces. To this end, I have used large windows, skylights and roof structures to let light into spaces, allowing a connection between the two states. Further, I have a particular affinity to the use of timber throughout my designs. It brings with it a sense of warmth, makes spaces feel welcoming and creates depth and texture otherwise vacant in the modern day material pallet.
3. Are you concerned about environmental and social sustainability in your buildings? If so, what role does green building play into your work?
I believe in creating beautiful, functional, eco friendly designs, unique to individual client’s needs. Green building is something that should be part of our everyday roles as Architects. It isn't an afterthought but a consideration which should occupy our mind at every stage of the design process. Rather than an elite aspiration or a points system, I believe in weaving green principles through as an integral part of the building fabric. I hope to get my NZGBC certification in the near future to aid in consolidating my skill set.
4. Who inspires you?
One architect who have inspired me from my time at architecture school through to now, is Kazuyo Sejima. Her work is timeless, with beautiful ephemeral qualities and considered use of materiality. In everyday life, my husband and my family are my biggest inspiration. Without their guidance, my practice of architecture would be nowhere near as stimulating.
5. What is difference between projects you carried out at University vs. real working life?
University projects have no bounds. Your imagination is free to wonder on all levels with very few restrictions. The time to develop your design is endless. Although restrictive, the real world brings with itself a further set of challenges - budgets, specific site conditions, client preconceived expectations, tight time frames. As a result, we have to develop a varying skill set which includes people management and more stringent time management skills.
As a young graduate, your knowledge base is broad but it is only when you encounter project specific challenges that you start specialising and expanding your awareness even further. This learning is something that continues throughout your career and it is this that keeps our jobs new and interesting.
6. The market can be very competitive for Architectural Graduates entering the job market, what top two pieces of advice would you offer them?
1) Be yourself – the right fit into a team culture is the most important aspect of hiring a graduate. Their eagerness to learn and also be part of a much larger team is invaluable to a practice.
2) Showcase all your skills – architectural design, software and people skills are all equally important. With so many people out there looking for work, ensure that you're showcasing your best work but ensure you show your full range of skills.
7. With the Auckland market being so buoyant, what career advice could you give to Architectural Graduates still developing their career?
Look at examples of work of a number of firms out there and see what inspires you. Ask around your peer group and see what their thoughts and experiences are with the different practices. As much as you have to be the right fit in for the office culture, you have to be happy with the fit as well. Remember, at the end of the day in architecture, your colleagues will end up being part of your family, and in this instance you can pick your family. Ensure you choose wisely with as much background information as you can obtain.
8. What is your ultimate goal when it comes to your work? What do you want to be remembered for?
Oh this is a really hard question to answer without it sounding like a cliche but I guess like every architect out there, my ultimate goal is to create beautiful, functional, healthy and comfortable spaces for people to occupy. At the end of the day, if I can contribute to: furthering current thinking on how we occupy spaces; the psychology behind architectural interior environments and their relationship to the outside world; how natural light impacts our perception of space and how we can minimize the impact on the planet with the architecture we create; I will be happy with my contribution.
Find out about Architecture+Woman NZ which Bojana is a member of.
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Feel free to share your comments on Bojana's responses below.