“As designers, I think our challenge from a place making perspective is to develop responsibly.”
NEIL WYATT ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR & SOUTH ISLAND REGIONAL MANAGER REGISTERED ARCHITECT (UK) neilw@ignitearchitects.com

We should always be asking ourselves, ‘is what I’ve created today still going to be valid in 10 years’ time?’.

As designers, I think our challenge from a place making perspective is to develop responsibly. We have to be able to live with the designs we come up with. I always think: ‘If I had to live next door to this, would I still be happy with it?’ 

Growing up in the UK I was surrounded by architecture, both good and bad. Being exposed to world heritage sites and quality buildings had a big influence on me. My dad was a builder and I used to muck in on site too, which gave me a good introduction to the industry. 

From a design perspective, in some ways working in New Zealand is a breath of fresh air. There aren’t as many hurdles to getting things built. In the UK you might have bigger budgets, but here in New Zealand you are pretty free to express yourself, provided you work within the rules.

I’ve done all sorts of projects during my career – retail, schools, hospitals, stand-alone houses… I don’t think I’ve ever done the same building typology twice! One-off houses are my favourite kind of project because you’re only dealing with one or two people, so you can really get your ideas across and express yourself.

Integrity is important to me. I always try to be respectful of people’s views and opinions; I don’t walk all over people. I think that when you have a collaborative approach you end up with a much stronger result.

Quality of life is such an important part of design. Some places are pretty 'flat' – they don’t do much for you. That’s very different from being in a building that provokes some sort of response. I really enjoy the reaction people get from a place, so that’s something I’m very aware of when I’m designing.