“My uncle was an engineer who dabbled in architecture, and I was always fascinated by the quality of his drawings.”
GRANT BARROWMAN ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR REGISTERED ARCHITECT (NZ) grantb@ignitearchitects.com

I found my passion for architecture quite early.

My uncle was an engineer who dabbled in architecture, and I was always fascinated by the quality of his drawings. When I was 14 he gave me a drawing board and some old draughting ink pens. I spent hours copying any drawings I could get my hands on – I knew from then on I wanted to be a draughtsman. My father was a builder, and having a little knowledge about what that involved really sent me down the track of pursuing architectural draughting.

My claim to fame at age 15 was that I designed and documented a garage for my parents and submitted it for building consent – I loved the whole process, so my fate was sealed. 

I really enjoy the scale and variety of projects I’m exposed to in my role. A lot of my career experience has been in the design of healthcare buildings, but I’ve also worked on plenty of commercial and industrial jobs. At Ignite I get to work on projects in both sectors, which makes my job really interesting and full of variety.

Since I joined Ignite, I’ve worked on a number of aged-care projects. I find the specialised facilities – for dementia care, for example – interesting because our clients have been very innovative in finding new ways to provide the best possible care. This has created opportunities for architecture to influence the approach, which is pretty satisfying.

I think being open and approachable gives clients confidence that the work being done is correct. It also means any issues can be managed early, before they impact on a project. The ability to engage with the client is such an important factor in creating excellent design solutions. Really good relationships make it much easier to deliver a result that meets the client’s brief and expectations.

I’ve always loved being out on the water. I have great memories of going fishing with my dad when I was young. These days I have my own boat and enjoy taking my wife and kids out. I also try to keep up an active lifestyle. I’ve played sports all my life, and about six years ago I fitted-out a garage at home with gym equipment.

One of my favourite places in the world is the cottage my wife owns on Stag Island in Canada. It’s an idyllic setting on the St Clair River, with lots of little cottages set amongst trees - each with its own jetty. On one side of the St Clair is Ontario and on the other is Michigan – so you can holiday in Canada and go shopping in the US, which is pretty cool.