Words: Geoff Lewis

Encouraging women into architecture – as a profession – is the aim of Waikato Women in Architecture says group member, Hamilton architect and heritage consultant, Laura Kellaway.

The group, collectively launched in 2015, plans to have a presence in the Boutique Autumn HomeXPO, run in association with the Waikato Show this April.

Laura says, ”we formed as a group from women who work at all levels of architecture, from students and graduates to professionals in design, interiors and quantity surveyors. We are about supporting women in our region and showing that women can do anything.

”There are three schools of architecture in New Zealand. Gaining a qualification is a two-stage degree over five years. With work experience and registration this can take 7 – 8 years. Often people will work with a firm and get background support and mentoring. It’s a long period and quite often life gets in the way of things.

”The female to male ratio of students, going through the architecture schools, has improved and is now about 50/50 but, by the time it gets to registration, is 24/76 in favour of men. At the higher levels; only 1 per cent are women.”

Laura said there was a surge of students coming out of education and plenty of work around.

”We’re trying to link together and provide support to the younger ones. We often talk to parents and grandparents who want more information about the option of architecture as a career. We will be there for people to talk to.”

As part of their display, Waikato Women in Architecture’s stand will host a mini exhibition of different work by its members and host a display of student work and a story or two.

The Boutique Autumn HomeXPO will allow visitors of the Waikato Show to discover a huge variety of new ideas and products for renovating, building and decorating.

The Boutique Autumn HomeXPO can be seen April 7-9 in association with the Waikato Show at Claudelands Events Centre.

Photo caption: Women (can do anything!) in Architecture say Marianna Morgan, Nina Massee, Sharon Robinson and Laura Kellaway