“I get a buzz from working on education projects because I’m contributing to change.”
LEANDRI HAY ASSOCIATE leandrih@ignitearchitects.com

Great buildings don’t just look beautiful, they entice the senses and affect the beat of one’s heart.

I’ve wanted to be an architect since I was about eight! I remember watching a cartoon with a mouse living in a treehouse and having the urge to draw the house. Needless to say, I was constantly creating plans as a kid.  

As a Project Team Leader on education projects, my objectives are to deliver each assignment on time and budget, and to ensure the client is happy with what we achieve. Word of mouth goes a long way, so maintaining good relationships with all parties to a project is critical.

I get a buzz from working on education projects because I’m contributing to change. From my perspective, what I do is a drop in a bucket which creates a ripple effect. By that I mean the environments that I help create have an influence on how teachers teach and students learn, and contribute to how students grow up and create their own ripple effects.

In my opinion, excellent design requires three main things. Firstly, an understanding of the relationship between the surrounding area and your project, the effect your building is going to have and how it sits in the urban fabric. Secondly, a strong concept that will maintain the intention of the building throughout design to completion. Finally, an appreciation of phenomenology that results in a design which entices all of the senses.

It’s a given that most Pritzker Prize winners are inspirational, but I admire Alejandro Aravena because he isn’t only involved in aesthetically pleasing forms. He also invests his time in ‘ugly’ projects, such as the Lo Espejo social housing project. This work isn’t glamorous, as it makes use of simple shapes and cost effective materials, but the principles of design are underpinned with thorough study and extreme consideration to help make a positive impact. 

Away from work I am usually either running after my bouncy boxer dog in the park, hanging out with my extended family or working on ideas to renovate our Onehunga home. My husband and I like oysters, red wine and traveling New Zealand, so I always try to combine one of these with an activity. If all three are involved, I’m a very happy person!