Architects from one of the country’s leading firms say an emphasis on community and wellbeing can offer benefits for the sector by creating healthier working environments and nurturing the next generation of industry talent.
David Wingate of award-winning architecture and interior design studio Wingate Architects says professional value alignment is playing an increasing role within the sector, influencing how and where healthier spaces are being created.
He notes three key areas of focus which have the potential to drive greater productivity within the sector.
Reimagining the office
Informed by the experience and lasting effects of a global pandemic, the firm says it has been reimaging the office concept through a community lens.
“Businesses are enticing staff back into the office environment, which after a prolonged stint working from home can feel intimidating.
“We want workplaces to feel inspiring – buildings that foster productivity and an exhilarating exchange of ideas.
“We’ve been asking, what is the key purpose of the office – what did you miss about not being there during lockdown restrictions? The answer is a community, collaboration and belonging,” Wingate says.
Wingate says the firm’s design philosophy is about creating a healthier built environment and adds value intrinsically, an ethos he expects the global population appreciates for the office sector now more than ever.
The firm, which was established in 2004 and has grown to three outposts across New Zealand’s ‘golden triangle’ economic heartland, says it’s increasingly focused on open concept communication.
This underpins one of the firm’s core values of blending technology with experience to create the places people really need.
“We believe good design is an investment, and good design solutions are achieved through the application of informed and innovative thinking in conversation with the community,” Wingate says.
Nurturing the talent pool
David Maurice, principal of strategy and communication at Wingate Architects says an acute skills shortage across Aotearoa serves as a reminder to invest in our young people – a theme he sees is changing the fundamental structure of the industry.
“Where skilled Kiwis are now able to take flight again in search of opportunities abroad, we are focused on investing in the homegrown talent pool and creating career pathways to address the skills shortage.
“Investment into education, giving our young people greater opportunities can aid local prosperity with flow-on effects for diversification of the industry and its output,” he adds.
The firm has recently partnered with Keystone Trust, a charity that provides education and career support for students with financial and circumstantial needs working toward a qualification in the property and construction sectors.
Amanda Stanes, general manager of Keystone Trust says Wingate Architects’ support as a sponsorship partner offers valuable funding, network, internship and mentor opportunities to Keystone Trust scholars.
“Wingate Architects’ decision to join our sponsor family provides value for our students above and beyond financial aid, with career and work experience opportunities at an award-winning firm in three regions.
“The Wingate team has been focused on doing good for their community, looking after and nurturing our young talent, and I am pleased the success demonstrated by our current students and alumni network can exemplify the wonderful things that come from investing in people.”
“Our students bring with them fresh, innovative thinking with values focused on sustainability, climate change and the utilisation of new technologies, so it is a win-win for the sector,” she adds.
With an increasing focus on the effects of climate change and sustainable development, Maurice says there is a market expectation that energy-efficient principles will be integrated into good design, with firms now investing in-house to walk the talk.
“New Zealand’s target to reduce emissions by 30 percent before 2030 requires cross-sector efforts which is why we feel it so important to lead by example,” he says.
The firm is currently working towards a Toitū Envirocare net carbon-zero certification which is proof the business is taking action on climate change with accurate measures of greenhouse gas reduction through the operative footprint, products and services.
“There is an increasing feeling of cooperation between New Zealand’s leading businesses and we are seeing open, inclusive dialogue with communities and the stakeholders help to deliver optimal outcomes – whether for projects, the talent pool or environmental guardianship/kaitiakitanga,” Maurice says.
This idea is exemplified in the relationship with Keystone Trust, where students’ practical application of skills intersects with the opportunities created by sponsorship partners such as Wingate.
“That’s where the real magic happens – seeing our students engage in creating the future with members of our support whānau,” Stanes says.
For further media enquiries please contact
Keystone Trust – General Manager
M: 021 689 380
Wingate Architects – Marketing & Strategic Pursuits Manager
M: 021 027 42256