Phillipa Nihotte

NZ Registered Architect practicing

Recently it was pointed out to me that this year will be 25 years since I graduated from architecture school and this prompted me to look back over what I have done in that time and how times have changed. Apart from intermittent breaks to travel or to have children I have worked in architectural practices pretty much continuously since graduating. There are very few buildings I could actually call ‘my own’ but I have contributed to many buildings ranging from small house alterations, apartment fit-outs and new houses to schools and community facilities. It has been both wonderful and terrible, often at the same time. My priorities changed once I had children. I have managed to continue working in architecture part time and I’m really glad I made the effort to stay in the industry even though it sometimes feels like the wheels really are going to come off. As some doors closed to me at this time, others opened, allowing me opportunities to develop in ways I had never imagined. I am currently focusing on professional practice issues and through this have been fortunate to be involved in the NZIA/RMB Joint Contracts Committee and to serve as an assessor for the NZRAB. What stands out to me is how dramatically things have changed since I graduated. I started out using a drawing board, T square and set square. Over time the drawing board was replaced by a computer. Technology is now advancing much faster than I can keep up and, along with it, the way in which we communicate our ideas and information. The role of the architect has changed too. Twenty five years ago the architect usually managed a building project from conception to completion, guiding and advising the client along the way. These days we are often just a part of the process and have much less control. The more I learn, the more I realise how much I don’t know. Nothing ever stays the same. Architecture is a process of change and I look forward to contributing to and observing the changes in architectural practice over the next 25 years.

Project Title
Muriwai Surf Life Saving Club
The Muriwai Surf Life Saving Club was built to replace the old clubrooms which had been affected by sand dune erosion over time. Jasmax designed the new building to serve the needs of not only the volunteer lifeguard service, but also the community as a whole. It is now the base for various local sports, leisure and interest groups, an education facility and a community gathering point. Many people contributed to this project. My involvement began with the preparation of the construction contract and continued through to completion of construction earlier this year. Photo courtesy of Kenneth Li and Jasmax.
Year of Completion
Community Facility
Project Architect - construction phase