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What Stephen Monahan enjoys most about his job is ‘the joy of designing’. A Master of Architecture (Design) graduate, Stephen began work with Sinclair Knight Merz (a leading projects firm that operates globally) during his Deakin undergraduate degree, and has now been employed with the company for three years.
‘I enjoy watching a line I’ve drawn on a page come to life in a building. Sometimes the hours are long and projects become difficult, but when the job is complete and you have a tangible product for all the hard work, it is extremely satisfying,’ he says.
Stephen chose his field of study and career because he says the ‘built environment’ impacts almost every facet of life. ‘Whilst at a basic level providing shelter, buildings can be works of art, they can affect our attitudes and emotions, and for better or worse, they leave our mark as humans on the earth.’
Studying at Deakin also gave him the opportunity to be taught by lecturers who are ‘an active part of the architecture and construction industries,’ says Stephen.
‘While there was still a strong emphasis on design, there was recognition of the equal importance of construction technology, environmental sustainability and professional practice. I had the opportunity to study alongside fantastic people, forge networks within the built environment industry and enter a number of architectural competitions,’ he says. It was the success in one such competition that gave Stephen the opportunity to attend the 2011 National Architecture Conference and to meet with one of Australia’s foremost architects, Glenn Murcutt.
The most satisfying aspect of his studies, he says, was his final theses units. ‘These units consolidate the five years of knowledge from the undergraduate degree and give you the chance to use this learning to pursue your own passions and interests. For me this involved the design of Kinglake Community Centre and bushfire memorial, and also a written investigation into the effect of abstract forms of memorial monuments. Whilst difficult at times, it was without doubt the most satisfying experience of my time at university.’