Fritha Hobbs is an architectural graduate and on her way to becoming a registered architect. She’s been working for three years since graduating from Victoria University, Wellington, and her day-to-day work depends on the type of project on which she’s working.

“I can be involved in any built project from the very beginning, such as researching constraints and discussing ideas with clients, to the very end, working with builders to ensure a project is built according to the design intention.

“At my workplace we are generally given a lot of freedom and so our work just involves keeping projects moving along and resolving issues through design as much as we can.”

Fritha’s always had a love of houses, interior spaces and technical drawing, so architecture seemed an inevitable career choice. Even so, she enrolled in first year architecture at Victoria University with some uncertainty.

“I still wasn’t dead set but it appealed a lot more than other degrees I had looked at, due to the broad learning involved,” she said.

“I liked that Victoria University accepted everyone in first year – they didn’t require a portfolio – because I think there are a lot of latent design skills in people that may not surface until in the right sort of incubation.

“I developed skills I never knew I had pretty quickly, which cemented my desire to keep at it.”

To be an architect, a student must complete a three-year undergraduate degree followed by a two-year master’s degree. Fritha took some time off in the years between the two degrees, which she thinks helped her to mature and learn to question what she wanted from her studies. It also gave her the opportunity to do some work, travel and enjoy her twenties.

She says the best part about her job is designing.

“I still love the process of thinking about how one moves through a space, and how this can be translated into a kind of shelter, responding to the environment, with the available technologies and materials at hand.

“It can be quite conceptual, like designing something very sculptural that might not necessarily be for inhabitation, or quite practical, like using the appropriate windows and doors in an alteration of a house to improve the domestic space in an efficient and economic manner.”

On the flip side, the “worst bits” for Fritha are the time-consuming administrative tasks.

“I also am a bit frustrated currently with the financial obstacles in construction at the moment, at least in Auckland.”

But she’s also excited to be part of Auckland’s future.

“I’m looking forward to our celebrations of culture and diversity being more central to who we are as a city, and I’m excited that practising in architecture gives me licence to do that.”

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