“For me, the best design is honest, simple and functional.”
JENNIS LEE ASSOCIATE REGISTERED ARCHITECT (NZ) jennisl@ignitearchitects.com

The buildings I help create act as urban acupuncture – providing great learning environments for our future generations.

For over a decade I have worked on a variety of projects including educational, cultural and heritage architectural designs. My work has enabled me to use my expertise to make a real difference in our community.

I was inspired by architecture at a very young age. My hometown was a concrete jungle and the first time I saw a quaint, two-storey weatherboard house wedged in between the monotonous greys of prefabricated houses I was so taken aback. It was right then and there that I decided to be an architect as an adult.

For me, the best design is honest, simple and functional. It starts with a strong concept that works with the people who occupy the space, uses materials that have minimal impact on the environment and ensures the building will last and age well.

There are many challenges facing today’s architect. Chief among them is how we continue to work in producing good, innovative design solutions within a sector that has ever-growing constraints and regulations. But I think that’s what makes our job so exciting – and such challenges fuel our creativity.

One of my professional heroes is the late Ivan Mercep, who I was fortune enough to work closely with on projects such as Auckland’s Tepid Baths. He was a true master craftsman of our time - passionate and practical in his approach to design, while also humble and genuine to those around him.

My favourite building is Louis I Kahn’s Salk Institute in La Jolla, California. I think it is one of the best examples of classical, timeless and modernist architecture.

If I hadn’t pursued this career, I’d be an archaeologist. I was a naturally curious and adventurous child, and there is still a bit of Indiana Jones in me.