We are delighted to welcome Theja Jayalath to the Ashton Mitchell team.
Being the newest member of the AM whānau, we took the opportunity to learn a little more about her interests in architecture and the wider profession:
(AM): When did your interest in architecture begin?
(TJ): I always had a love for drawing and making things when I was young, and later in high school I enjoyed technical subjects – I was curious about architecture which seemed an amalgamation of the two. I talked to a friend studying architecture and was drawn in by the concept of design studios – learning that was very creative and hands-on. Later, at a university open day, I attended a talk about the Tezuka Roof House and remember being fascinated by what seemed to me then to be an unconventional use of space. Soon after, I began my path into architecture.
(AM): Is there anything related to architecture that you feel passionate about exploring and/or celebrating?
(TJ): I believe architecture and the built environment plays an important role in the well-being of its users, and so I am always interested in creating inclusive and accessible design for people of all abilities and backgrounds.
I also have a great appreciation for the craft and thought that goes into a seemingly simple built detail, it’s a skill I admire and would like to hone. In noticing an interesting detail, I try to take it apart in my head – I’m curious as to the design decisions behind them, and I find there’s always something to learn.
“I am always interested in creating inclusive and accessible design for people of all abilities and backgrounds.”
(AM): Speaking of there always being something to learn, you’ve recently become a Registered Architect. What tips would you give to others looking to register?
(TJ): I would highly recommend joining a study group, it’s great for learning outside of your own experience and talking through scenarios. It’s also motivating to meet up with peers who are on the same journey!
If you’re struggling with writing, break it down and start with a few bullet points per each performance indicator. It helped me flesh out my case study and identify any gaps in my experience.
Practice talking about your projects and through questions – it’s sometimes easy to forget it’s a conversation. Doing mock conversations beforehand helped me speak concisely and be more comfortable sitting with the assessors.
(AM): You’ve also been involved with Architecture + Women NZ in various ways – firstly being the events co-ordinator and now a speed mentor. Can you tell us a bit about what you enjoy about being involved in A+W.NZ?
(TJ): The core values of A+W.NZ I resonated with – visibility and inclusiveness – and so enjoyed being involved in putting it into practice. I was also grateful to be given the opportunity to step into roles I wouldn’t have otherwise, especially in helping to organise events. The last event I organised – the A+W NZ Timeline and Tātuhi/Drawing Archive Exhibition in Nelson – I loved seeing the public engaging with the other, less visible, histories of NZ architecture.
“The core values of A+W.NZ I resonated with – visibility and inclusiveness – and so enjoyed being involved in putting it into practice.”
Welcome to the team Theja, we cant wait to see the impact you’ll bring to our projects and the architectural landscape as a whole.