Nicole Walters

Portrait of Nicole Walters 

Bachelor of Arts (Architecture) 2001 and Bachelor of Architecture 2007

I chose Deakin because...
Of its location (I was raised in Ocean Grove) so being able to study architecture in Geelong was a huge plus. The Waterfront campus is well located in the Geelong CBD and has a wonderful outlook, the facilities it offers are also attractive.  

I had previously studied for my a Diploma of Building Design and Drafting at The Gordon, in Geelong and this qualification offered me a pathway into second year of the architecture degree at Deakin.

After leaving uni...
I continued working full time as a Graduate Architect, for a small Geelong based commercial architecture firm with whom I had started working part time while studying for my Bachelor of Architecture degree. In 2010 I successfully completed the architectural registration process and I started my own architecture practice Bespoke Architects with another Deakin Alumni member and Architect Daniel Calder. 

With Bespoke Architects we decided to diversify our area of focus and include residential design, while maintaining some commercial clients.

At uni I was inspired...
To explore history, art, architecture, photography, space, philosophy, society and my place in it all.

I am currently...
Juggling, learning and developing!

The task of running a small business is all about juggling billable tasks and time, project budgets, client meetings and staff. But it's not restricted to my activities at Bespoke I also juggle sessional teaching work at the Gordon, in the Building and Design department, and my involvement in the Geelong Young Professionals committee.

With learning, this is something that I hope never ends. There is a lot to learn when starting your own business, no matter how much experience you gain working for other people. Just as there is lot to learn when exploring a new architectural type - such a residential, the concepts are similar but the vernacular is slightly different. We are also finding client goals and motivations are different. 

Budgets are certainly different and the client's perception on the role of architects is different. Learning the ever-changing building, planning and professional regulations keeps us on our toes. 

Outside of architecture I am learning how to teach new design technology to students who, in most cases, have no background in architecture or building. Asking them to create a virtual building whilst also explaining what a building is and how you create it and rationalise it. And finally I'm learning about staging networking events, totally outside my profession but a thoroughly enjoyable experience, that allows for personal and professional growth.

I am also developing the business and it's public profile; a plan for the future and some life skills. I am finally learning how to cook and rather enjoying it!

Today, I am motivated by...
Success. The same ambition that has propelled me my entire life; however this phase is for client
satisfaction, a thriving business and a portfolio of built work.

In my profession it is important...
To be adaptive; As Architects we find ourselves at the forefront of technology as it revolutionises the way we work, 15 years ago - we were hand drawing; today we are creating virtual 3D models that our clients can walkthrough when ever they want on their iPad or iPhone. Technology is also changing the way our clients live and work (solar power, water saving plumbing fixtures, low energy everything, wireless networks, no need for joinery units to store music, books or movies the physical is dissolving into the virtual). Technology is even changing the way we communicate social media is replacing traditional networking - the web is where everyone finds everything they need.

Professionally, my proudest achievement is...
Starting my own architectural practice with another great architect who provides the balance Bespoke Architects needs.

I feel a strong connection with...
People; while there is a connection with people in commercial architecture you tend not to design for the end user but rather a corporate body or private developer who's focus is on "rate of return", "Nett Lettable Area", and corporate image. Residential architecture is about the people and how they live, relax & entertain.

Success to me is...
Reaching my goal and realising not only that I did it but having the confidence to try for something bigger. At fourteen I decided I wanted to be an architect. I was twenty-nine when I graduated from Deakin with my Bachelor of Architecture (Honours) degree. Success fifteen years in the making! But I soon realised I could go further with my career aspirations . I was thirty-two when I became a Registered Architect and started my own practice. As time keeps moving my confidence is improving and the successful completion of my goals coming quicker.

In the future I would like to...
Create a physical presence for Bespoke Architects; a space in which we create & communicate with
clients that has an identity of it's own (presently I live and work in the same space and at times it becomes hard to escape).

The single-most important issue in the world is...
Education, without it we are a society going nowhere.

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