Growing up in Ashburton, Julie spent much of her childhood building towns and farms with sand and Lego blocks and sketching on her dad’s home-made drawing board. While her choice of building and material has evolved, her desire to build that which connects and reflects local community has stayed strong throughout her career – spanning countries, cultures and communities.
Deciding between her passion for architecture and sport psychology, Julie enrolled in both programmes at university, but her love for visual expression and belief in architecture’s potential to shift and stimulate emotion in people saw her continue down the architecture pathway.
In her quest to connect people and place through design, she was moved to seek experience beyond the Tasman. In university, she travelled to Sri Lanka to help with post-tsunami rebuild work and later moved to London for two years, where she worked with Foster+Partners and AHR on a range of projects – from a bus interchange, to a floating city, to the world’s largest airport in Mexico.
Inspired by architects whose thinking extends beyond the drawing board, Julie admires Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa for his design of affective spatial sequences and sensitivity for local context, and Danish architect Dan Stubbergaard (Cobe) for his rethinking of the built environment and how it actively contributes to everyday life – now and in the future.
Her vision is to see the built world foster connections between people and place – a concept she has the opportunity to realise thanks to her involvement at Tennent Brown in the Living Pā project at Victoria University. The redevelopment emulates Julie’s ideology, as the intention is to build facilities that honour and realise the university’s values and culture, in this case bringing together mātauranga Māori and sustainability practices.
Outside of work Julie is constantly seeking her next challenge – mountains to hike, races to run, countries to visit, new sports to master, and buildings and landscapes that inspire a photograph.