When I grow up, I want to be…
For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be an Architect. All the signs were there from early childhood.
In my preschool years I loved stacking wooden blocks, and this turned into a big love of Lego! I’d ask for Lego house sets for every birthday/Christmas and loved building them to the plans provided, then demolishing and rebuilding my own improved original designs! The other gift I longed for was a set of 72 Derwent pencils! I LOVED drawing, and even loved designing my own house-plans as a child. In fact, my cherished Derwents and LEGO collection were so valued, they are about the only things from my childhood that I’ve kept, and have now passed onto my kids!
As a child I would dream that one day we’d have a tree-house in our backyard… but my parents bought a shed saying it could be a ‘cubby house’ when really it just turned into bike & garden storage. I think I overcame this disappointment by building my own cubbies inside the house – by turning the couches upside down and covering them with blankets, and using the couch-cushions as doors. My brother or friends and I would spend hours in our lounge-room dwelling. We spent many summers camping at Eildon Weir at “The Pines” and together with our cousins and friends we’d build cubbies and forts in the Pine Plantation, using discarded broken folding camp chairs and ‘banana lounges’, old tarps, tree branches and whatever we could find… it was our own little world.
In a way, Architecture was also in my genes. Dad was a Graphic Artist/Graphic Designer. Mum was a draftsperson for civil engineering and land-surveying services. My grandfather was a Carpenter. When my parents decided to do a major renovation on our childhood home when I was about 5 years old, Dad designed it, Mum drew up the plans, and then my dad and grandfather built it themselves. I don’t remember that much about us living on a “construction site” in the old part of the house while the new part went up, but it all must have sunk into my subconscious to help inform who I was to become.
There was a time in primary school when I thought about a different career path. I must have been about 10, and I discovered I had a talent for plaiting my friends’ hair into elaborate french-braids. They would line up every lunchtime for me to knot their greasy-locks into glamorous plaits. The school-yard kudos was fine payment, but my fingers soon grew tired of the dexterity involved, and I quickly ditched the idea of hairdressing as my future vocation. It just wasn’t my calling.
During my teenage years, I loved re-arranging the furniture in my bedroom – to give it a whole new “look” and feel. I even convinced my folks to let me do the handywork with a brush and roller, and repaint the peachy-coloured walls a deep forest-green, and to buy some scalloped blinds for the window. I’d had a taste of Interior Design and I liked it! That was the path I was headed on, but the School Career’s Advisor kept trying to convince me to do Engineering as I excelled in Physics and Maths, as well as Graphic Communications (“they need more women in that field” she argued). I just couldn’t get excited about becoming an Engineer, and figured that Architecture would be the best of “both” worlds and more suited to me – the mix of both science and art – of right brain and left brain – of functionality/practicality and creativity/emotions.
“What is Architecture? Architecture brings together the arts, sciences, technology and environmental awareness. The profession of Architecture involves everything that influences the way in which the built environment is planned, designed, made, used and maintained.” Royal Australian Institute of Architects brochure
My diligence and strong work ethic during VCE paid off, and I was over the moon when I was accepted into the Bachelor of Planning & Design (Bachelor of Architecture) course at Melbourne University. I LOVED that the study of Architecture was much more than I’d anticipated – not only design, planning and building subjects, but also architectural history, architectural theory, urban studies, drawing skills and communications, structural design and physics, construction technology and materials, built environment science and services, architectural practice and construction law, environmental design & sustainability, and more.
“One of the great beauties of architecture is that each time, it is like life starting all over again.” Architect Renzo Piano
Its now been over a decade since I graduated with honours from my Bachelor of Architecture degree. I love being an Architect, and love that I am always learning more about the different facets of Architecture , as it is such an all encompassing profession. However I also recently learnt from some amazing creative women about the notion of being a “multi-passionate” which really resonated with me. I’ve realised that being an Architect doesn’t define who I am, and neither does being a mother, I am also much more, and interested in so much more in the world. I love buildings, and I love my family and my friends, but I also LOVE food and cooking, AND trees and nature, music and dancing, travel, photography, art and craft, writing and teaching, textiles and clothing-design, sustainability and the environment, meeting new people, healthy-living, self-improvement, (…plus more…) and I love learning from others and being inspired by all the beauty and creativity in the world…
So if I combine all these elements of my life together that I am passionate about, they absolutely help to inform and inspire my Architecture, which do I believe to be my earthly pursuit… and if I ever change my mind, I can always become a hair-stylist!
What did you want to be when you ‘grew up’? Have you found your earthly pursuit? What are you passionate about? I’d love to hear your thoughts!