“Architecture is collaborative. Ideas can come from anywhere. It’s about seeking out the best ideas, the best approach to doing things, bringing that into a coherent whole, and putting structure around it.”
Born in South Africa, and raised in the Netherlands and New Zealand, Stephen works predominantly on large, long term projects where the buildings created are significant to New Zealand. He is a secure, sophisticated influence in projects of scale, where public interest is high, and there is a high degree of complexity.
Registered as an architect in the UK, Stephen worked for the renowned English architect Sir Terry Farrell, this experience including on a spectacular, acclaimed aquarium and marine research centre in Hull.
On his return to New Zealand, he joined Jasmax and has since worked on and led major projects in the healthcare, tertiary education, research, transport, commercial, retail and heritage sectors. Notable as an extremely rigorous individual, Stephen has a reputation for bringing his projects to completion on time, and in/or under budget. His manner, combined with the intimate involvement he maintains in his projects and a clear business acumen, presents a dedication that results in long-standing relationships with clients, and many return commissions.
Stephen led the masterplan for the University of Auckland’s Grafton Campus. As a result of which, he designed the Boyle Building – part of a refurbishment and redevelopment of the Medical Campus in Grafton, which went on to win an NZIA local award. The building combined research, clinical work, student services and administration, and it integrated masterfully into the older Medical School buildings.
Currently working mainly in design and masterplanning for tertiary education, Stephen is sought after for his understanding of tertiary design and its context. He has designed the new University of Canterbury’s Rutherford Regional Science & Innovation building in Christchurch, the largest building in the rebuild of the University, which was accelerated as a result of the 2011 earthquakes. “The project is more than a design,” he says. “It’s about how we’ve located it, how it relates to a stream that runs past, how it relates to Ngai Tahu. And it’s about a tribal story – the seven levels of learning, rising up to the heavens. This story has framed the way we’ve designed the building.
Skilful and a quiet, natural leader, with peerless project credentials, Stephen is a thoughtful, likeable designer. He seeks the stories behind the project, and articulates them. “Projects end up being highly contextual. You are driven by time, place, people and constraints. That brings out a richness in terms of what they are. That’s what I look for: what can drive the concept? Which story?” he says.