“I think that, for architecture to be commercially successful, a humanistic approach is critical.”
GRANT ARMSTRONG DIRECTOR REGISTERED ARCHITECT (UK) granta@ignitearchitects.com

i'm inspired by people.

I think that, for architecture to be commercially successful, a humanistic approach is critical. That's why the projects I enjoy the most are the ones where there's a real effort to profile the users of the space. I believe the best designs create solutions that respond to people, and to which people respond.

Before I came to Ignite, I worked in the UK and US. My time overseas gave me exposure to large scale projects around the world. I worked on a really wide range of building types, including mixed-use, hospitality, retail, commercial and healthcare. Since returning home to New Zealand, I've been able to apply the benefit of that knowledge to many of our clients' projects. 

I lead Ignite’s retail and commercial design team. I believe architecture is a service industry – we’re here to serve both our clients and their end user. In practice that means we’ve got a professional responsibility to lead project design teams to create and deliver great environments.

A great example is the airside retail project at Auckland International Airport. This was a really challenging job because the site remained operational throughout the project. I’m really proud of the way it turned out, and that it still looks good years later.

When it comes to excellent architecture in New Zealand, I think it’s important to understand the context of the place and how people will interact with the environment. Good design should be local and specific, responding with appropriate forms, materials and building methodologies. I think it’s also important to remember that scale is not the same thing as size – sometimes a building’s impact on its users is disproportionate to its physical dimensions.

I like to think that the designs I create are inherently sustainable. I believe a practical and pragmatic approach to sustainability should be incorporated into every building, focusing on passive environmental design and whole life cycle building performance.
 
Architecture is my creative outlet – when I’m away from the office I’m focussed on my family. I love spending time with my wife and kids, whether it’s going to the beach or heading out for coffee on the weekends.