“I form quite a personal connection with each project and I love figuring out what we’re going to do and how we’re going to achieve it.”
MICHAEL BILSBOROUGH DIRECTOR REGISTERED ARCHITECT (NZ) (UK) michaelb@ignitearchitects.com

I’d probably describe myself as a bit of a rationalist.

I form quite a personal connection with each project and I love figuring out what we’re going to do and how we’re going to achieve it. I like to do a lot of analysis to try and come up with an objective response to whatever the client’s challenges are. Often the real problem to be solved is not what people initially think it is. 

Ultimately, I think good design is just about making things better. Whether it’s for the client, the end user or the wider community – leaving something in a better state than when you found it is the critical thing.  

I like the idea of doing more with less and I’m always trying to look for opportunities to make things multi-functional with efficient design. Innovation is important as well. I don’t believe in change for the sake of it but, as architects, I think we should always strive to improve rather than simply replicate what’s been done in the past.  

New Zealand is an interesting place because, traditionally, buildings haven’t had the same permanence that they do in other parts of the world. In Scotland, where I come from, buildings are typically made of stone and brick and they’re intended to last for hundreds of years. When a structure has that sort of permanence, I think it makes people more aware of the need to think carefully about a building or altering it. I think that in New Zealand, we could take a lot from that approach.

This industry is great fun, but it is challenging too. When I first started my career, creating a simple building might have involved four consultants – these days it’s more like 12. There’s real complexity in integrating all of those inputs, especially when the legislative framework is more complex and there’s more and more information to pull together. 

Family is a huge part of my life and I also love triathlon. I’ve competed in the full Ironman competition a couple of times and represented New Zealand in the sport in 2011, which was very cool.