The end of 2014 is nearly upon us, and generally it’s a good time to reflect on the year that was. This year for me, to call it a whirlwind would be an understatement, it was full of highs but also lows. I did things this year I never even thought I’d do, met some amazing people and created some memories.

@ SuperStudio 2014, with Tim Randall, Daniel Lawson, Fiona Robertson, Peter Malatt (AIA VIC President) and myself at the front.

@ SuperStudio 2014, with (L-R) Tim Randall (SONA VP), Daniel Lawson (Monash rep), Darcy Zelenko (Melbourne University rep), Fiona Robertson (RMIT rep), Peter Malatt (AIA VIC President) and myself (Deakin rep and SuperStudio VIC coordinator) at the front.

Deakin’s Representative for SONA

Undertaking the role of Deakin’s SONA representative has been quite the ride to say the least. I was quite nervous, worried even, for the year and how I would fare in the role but I rate the overall job a success. I was able to not only chat/communicate with students but was also able to organise some events including ArchiDrinks, ArchiBall, One:One for Victoria, along with workshops and even running a tutorial program for Revit. However probably what I’m most proud of was being the Victorian coordinator for SuperStudio and  hosting the nationwide 24hr design competition at Deakin. In saying that, I’m also quite proud of the membership numbers, 161 members compared to 88 the previous year.

I was able to attend two camps, the Boot Camp at the start of the year in Anglesea, Victoria and the Mid-Year Camp in Sydney, New South Wales. Both were vastly different and incredible in their own rights, where in Anglesea I met so many great people for the first, at Sydney I was able to catch up with them again. I was also fortunate enough to be on the Education Committee with the AIA, and currently in the process of getting an article published in Architect Victoria!

With the role at SONA I was able to meet some amazing people, including all the raptors in the pack (you have to be a raptor to understand but I am referring to ALL the reps around the country), Peter Malatt (The AIA VIC Chapter President) and the rest of the team at the Australian Institute of Architects, the architects we’ve been involved with and even met Peter Maddison!

All-in-all it has been an amazing experience being a SONA representative, unfortunately my role is about to end on the formal front however I will try to be involved with SONA and the AIA in any way, shape or form.

Design 3A interim review submission

Design 3A interim review submission

The Studio

Studio this year was a lot more enjoyable and rewarding compared to last, even though I had my moments of doubt, fear, hatred and defeat. As always, you can always further develop and design a studio project, but when I presented at reviews I was happy with the designs and concepts. My two tutors for the studios were fantastic and really pushed me architecturally, with one tutor in particular having a huge influence on my growth over the year.

Thinking about the two studio projects, my ideas/concepts weren’t that “Oh that is so revolutionary!” I mean for 3A, my concept was a grid, three extruded boxes and the courtyard in between these boxes, and for 3B it was about levels, circulation spaces becoming social and the contrast and use of 3. Not exactly ground breaking! However, well received at studio crits and reviews.

Looking past my own studios, I was able to be involved with some other year levels, whether it was helping out some students who asked for some advice, attending reviews and even being a guest reviewer for Design 2B.

When Kochie came to Deakin, I was even on TV for 2 seconds.... apologies for the low quality

When Kochie came to Deakin, I was even on TV for 2 seconds…. apologies for the low quality

Involvement in the School

My involvement in the school has increased dramatically this year, which went outside the realms of being the SONA representative. I tried to attend every Real Lecture, made it to the Kochie talk, tutored Occupational Therapy students in measuring and drawing (twice) and was a student ambassador for Deakin’s Open Day. When the accreditation board came for a review I was asked to attend and when we had a student forum I ensured I made it there (only 4-5 students attended, huge disappointment).

I also took it upon myself to try and enhance the culture around the studio by teaming up with a tutor to present ArchiMovies, where we showed an architecture-related video every week for a month (see my rant here), which was quite successful. Also in the midst of getting a Deakin Built Environments Society (name still in progress) up-and-running, having been granted full grace by the Head of School.

I set up a petition regarding the 11-week trimester system in regards to our architecture program, with some positive response from the students and some staff members. I have put further action on hold for the moment, as I figured it may be easier to address with a supporting body (the society we are setting up).


MacPherson Park, a project I documented this year.

Work Related

It’s been a big year for me with work, where I have been fortunate enough to document two projects for build with Green Precast. At the moment, one is completed and set to be open next year, and initial site-works have commenced on the second project. The experience I have gained with these projects have been amazing, and there’s nothing better for a student than to visit a project during various stages of a build to see how it is actually done.

Later in the year, thanks to the connections made through Green Precast, I was able to land a second job, with a shed construction company / small commercial builder. The company is ran by the builder of the two projects I’ve documented and he offered me 2-3 days worth of work a week. Soon I’ll be a master of precast concrete and steel sheds, and I’ve got some crazy ideas in my mind of using one or the other system for housing, or even combining them!

Within the first week of the year I also finished documenting for a project pretty close to me, it was a Mens Shed in Oaklands, my hometown. My dad effectively designed it, I drew it up for council and he lead the build of the project. While I didn’t design it, and it was a fairly straight forward design, it was great to not only do something for my hometown, but being able to work with my dad was a great feeling.


Deakin PaperSpace, Geelong.

The Rest

I won’t step around it and pretend it didn’t happen, this year I ended up failing three subjects, two in Trimester 1 and one in Trimester 2. It has been a setback as it means I need to spend next year part-time to complete them, and I’ll straight up and say it is a sucky feeling knowing you failed three subjects out of six, and not being able to graduate with friends and continue into Masters with them. However to look on the more positive side of things, studying next year part-time does allow me to increase my workload, earn a bit of money and be able to save for my trip as well as make some much needed purchases and remove some debt.

I was able to make it to 3/4 exhibitions within Victoria at the different universities, attending Deakin PaperSpace Geelong, Deakin PaperSpace Melbourne + Melbourne Uni MSDx and whilst I missed the opening night I made sure to check out RMIT’s exhibition, I just wished I had made it to Monash’s.

I attended a lecture at Melbourne University, one which I was glad I did but one I was also hanging out for. The lecture was by a great Melbourne-based architect, Andrew Maynard (Andrew Maynard Architects), and he was someone I was dying to hear speak so when I was that he was speaking, I had to go. I even got to have a small chat with him afterwards which was great!

I did attempt to grow a beard for the charity Beards of Hope, let’s just say I’m not the greatest beard-grower out there but I did manage to raise $206 while overall the campaign (with my brother being a founder) raised $51,580!

I moved houses 3x this year, after some dispute with a landlord he gave me my notice however this was at the worst time, nearing the end of the trimester. I moved back home and lived with my brother for a few weeks while the room I found was getting ready. After Trimester 2 was finished, my other landlord gave me notice as she wanted to move in downstairs with her family while they rent out upstairs during the holidays, so I then found my current place in Belmont.


The year has had its ups and downs, but who here had a year of only ups or downs? Overall, the experiences I had, the people I met, what I was able to achieve and some of the setbacks incurred has set a pretty high benchmark for 2015. My only resolution for 2015 is not to have any resolutions, because I never keep to them! Instead I’ll just set goals and work hard towards them. I’m looking forward to sharing 2015 with you, it will be different to this year (for one, studying part-time and no studio projects!!!).

What was your best moment of 2014? What are your plans for 2015?