“I think listening to your client is critical, but understanding the commerciality of a project is important too.”
JEREMY WHELAN MANAGING DIRECTOR REGISTERED ARCHITECT (NZ) jeremyw@ignitearchitects.com

The best design solutions are good business as well as good architecture.

I think listening to your client is critical, but understanding the commerciality of a project is important too. At Ignite, that has been one of our biggest differentiators – when we’re looking at design solutions, they’ve got to be good business as well as good architecture.

As architects, we get the opportunity to create some amazing spaces. That’s pretty satisfying because it makes you feel like you’re part of the city – like you’re helping to shape it and leave a little bit of a legacy. Our Chancery project is a stand out example for me. At the time it created a unique people space and streetscape. It was a great urban design response for Auckland and a real starting point for a different way of thinking.

Venturing out internationally has been really good for me professionally, and for the business. Being overseas and working with peers from around the world gives you the confidence to take anything on. As a practice, we started looking for opportunities in overseas markets years ago and we’re still trying to see how far we can go. 

I think it’s important to have lots of fresh thinking in the business. Design is constantly changing and evolving, which means we need to be flexible and adaptable to keep growing. We have some very experienced staff who have the patience and the knowledge to help develop newer members of our team. We’re lucky in that respect – it’s been absolutely fundamental to our continued success.

Environmentally sustainable design will have a huge impact on buildings in the future. I enjoy how avant-garde practices like WOHA think about what you can do in terms of sustainable buildings. I love their design for the Park Royal on Pickering in Singapore. It’s a pretty cool building, especially from an environmental perspective and as a functioning hotel.

Away from work, fitness is a really big part of my life. I’ve competed in triathlons for years – if I didn’t do them I’d go mad!