The work of an architect requires many skills: there’s practicality — mathematics, science and engineering — required to manifest a successful building. And then there’s the creativity needed to cultivate beauty, innovation and originality. Add to that knowledge of construction, climate challenges, economics, geology, urban design, even weather patterns, and creating a building that is significant is no mean feat.

For Beth Cameron, one of a handful of female architects whose buildings were recognised in the recent New Zealand Architecture Awards, architecture is also about understanding people. “Architecture ultimately improves people’s lives and wellbeing,” says Cameron, co-founder of Makers of Architecture. “Form and scale can have a lasting effect on health and culture.”

Kirsten Matthew sat down with three of the award-winning wāhine toa to talk about their careers in architecture, their ethos’, and how they are redefining our built environments.

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5 December 2023