HELLO!!

I'm Liz at ArchiMash!!!

I help aspiring architects design, document, create and learn easier and faster.

Be a better architect. Make a better world...

I could tell you all my accolades, qualifications and professional achievements straight up, but I 'll wait until the end. Instead, here’s the personal reality of my career so far… the good, the bad and the ugly.

Architecture And Me

I have a love-hate relationship with architecture, creativity, building and design.

I love the potential connection architecture has with every aspect of human life - it links to psychology, sociology, politics, art, history, sustainability, ethics, morality, culture, systems, processes, creativity and design.

I love the essence and soul of old, ancient cities, buildings and cathedrals as iconic beauty, workmanship and art. I love the feel of pen to paper and scribbles and scrawls. The analogue process of texture and paper and making of things.

I’m not a big fan of the ugliness and artificiality of modern, mass-produced cities of sameness, the shape-making of blobitecture. I am yet to fully embrace AI, the digital, virtual realm and 3D BIM - I doubt I ever will. I love the richness and tangibility of the physical realm.

I love the opportunity architecture as a career provides to constantly learn and carve new directions with your work and life. It contains a broad spectrum of potential, which also makes it challenging and hard to integrate everything you learn and need to know.

That’s one part I don’t always love so much. That part of being in the middle of a project, with the problems and challenges exposed. The open loops and pieces of the puzzle mixed and juggled and confused and up in the air, waiting to land in their final position. With the layers of butter paper and scribbles and scrawls thrown around - as ideas, thoughts, concepts and design solutions shift and grow and morph around.

The part of everything being unfinished, loose with too many open loops and unknowns. It keeps me constantly dwelling, unable to shut off the mind.

I have come to embrace this chaos. To value the process of architecture and design, as much as, if not more, than the final drawn or built outcome.

Iterative conceptual, creative and design process is the part sadly so often skipped in the digital age. We have come to embrace short-term gratification. We are seduced by fancy software, Photoshop techniques and graphic fly throughs and renders as outcomes that attempt to convince us mediocre, empty and under-developed design is good.

Architecture School

I chose architecture because I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do. It seemed to have a bit of everything - maths, science, art, and English and history. I realise now, when I chose it, I really did not understand what it was.

But, there is a part of me that always wanted to make a better world.

Evidently I wasn’t a brilliant designer to begin. I hadn’t had much exposure to real culture, art, or architecture, but I worked hard, wanting to learn and understand. 

In design studio, I was often working blind, no idea what I was supposed to do or why I was doing it, headed towards some outcome I did not fully comprehend. I often felt like I was told, "this is what you have to do, go figure it out", with no clear direction or guidance. There was often something missing, that I could not see or did not get.

Sometimes my marks told me I did great with the conceptual design stuff, other times not so much. It was accidental, hit-and-miss. I really couldn’t pinpoint a formula for great concepts and design, what I was doing right or wrong, and why.

I was naturally great with the left-brain stuff… contracts, professional practice, building and documentation systems, space planning, functional and practical design solutions, and the logic and process of design, documentation and delivery. It came easily to me. It just wasn’t emphasised at university as highly as the conceptual design stuff. In the real world and in practice… it is. There is a place for that.

I later learned the type of architecture student you think you are or are told you are… does not determine the type of architect or professional you become.

I was fascinated by architectural history and theory and yearned to see and experience these places so I could actually understand what all the fuss was about - especially with some of the modern stuff. Like Brutalism. Or blobitecture. Or Le Corbusier (that's another story!!)

Working In Architecture

My first job was part-way through my degree. It threw me in at the deep end, managing a project being built. I had no idea what I was doing, but learned… fast.

After graduating, I moved to London for 2 years, and was able to physically experience Paris and Rome and Barcelona and all the cities, buildings and architecture I’d studied in theory for so long. It changed my world view of life and my chosen profession of architecture, and what it could actually be.

Live or travel overseas, or both... expose yourself to a range of circumstances and keep learning.

I finally got to see many of the buildings and places I had learned about. I loved anything from the old word, before the Industrial Revolution and mass-production of steel, concrete and glass. By physically visiting them, I learned a lot of the modern architecture held up as brilliant in the classroom still did not appeal to me. Some of it is OK. But, even when I stood in the middle of it, I did not get it. It often felt cold, still, unnatural, sterile and empty. Sometimes like it hates humanity. It has its place in the world. It’s just not for me.

Understand the mainstream narrative of architecture, then form your own opinions of architecture and the world and stand strong… even if you disagree with the gurus and mainstream opinion. Especially if you do. I still often do… lol

In London, I was exposed to an architectural firm that was one of the most organised and systemised workplaces I have experienced in my career. I worked with knowledgeable designers, technicians and mentors, people who wanted to work with me and teach. It had thorough systems, even in the early years of AutoCAD and software. I did not appreciate this at the time, and now realise this interaction of systems and creative design are a big part of my work.

Project Management

When I returned to Australia, I started working as part of a small design team in a large office. While I had been told I was not been a brilliant “conceptual” designer at University, I flourished in a place where my practical, functional and logical approach to design and space planning was actually valued.

After 5-6 years working on houses to high-rise, I was frustrated by my inability to influence good design. I had worked on some interesting projects and learned heaps, but still felt something was missing in the process and the outcomes. Architecture seemed a battle between good design and environments for people versus clients, developers, profit, politics and the bottom line. Good design seemed to lose out, a lot.

I shifted into Project Management, thinking this would put me higher up the project ladder and have more control of good outcomes. By this time, I realised what I really enjoyed was the front-end brief development and concept design, and the final stage of project delivery and being on site. I understood the middle phase of project documentation, I was good at it, but I didn’t love it. I didn’t want to do CAD drawings all day, and that’s ok. It’s also ok if that’s what you want to do.

Find what parts of architecture and design interest or work for you, for now… and commit to doing it well.

For the next decade I moved between design, design management and project management, trying to find a place and an organization where I could do great work. I followed projects rather than aspirations for status and climbing the corporate ladder in a single firm, and this kept everything new and interesting. I figured out what worked for me.

Until it didn’t. From early University the culture of architecture and design I found myself in was one of hard work, commitment, perfectionism, that design never felt done, and was never enough. Maybe this came from me, maybe not.

In 2014, after 2 decades of constant pressure and push and never-ending work, I finally burned out big-time.

Sustainable work practices require consistency and regular time off to reset and recover… At 20 you feel invincible, at 40 it’s a different story. Be consistent. Pace your self.

Return To School

I had to reconsider how to live and work completely differently. I had to redesign my life for my mental, emotional and physical wellbeing.

I loved my time at University… new and different subjects, projects, people, work and study.

The flexibility and variety, and the environment of learning worked for me, so I decided to recreate that. I moved into teaching and tutoring.

Teaching gives me flexibility, variety and re-connection to creativity. Being good at architectural practice or even theory does not automatically make you a good teacher. It’s another set of skills. I’ve spent ten years learning teaching and I still don’t always get it right. I'm not perfect, I'm human.

Every student is on their own journey, in architecture and in life. I do my best to meet every student where you are at and draw from my knowledge and experience to give you what you need - information, direction, a reality check or a bit of moral support.

The biggest thing I’ve witnessed in teaching and helped me understand my own student experience is … how much of architecture you are left to figure out yourself. You can figure it out eventually, but that path seems to be filled with trial and error, frustration, angst, and a lot of wasted time doing things the hard way and not knowing what you don’t know. Why?

ArchiMash, The Next Phase

I have accumulated over 25 years experience in architecture, project management and education across many different projects and organisations. I’ve learned a lot. I’m still learning, every day. I’ve seen what works well and what doesn’t and have a good understanding of best practice and systems and frameworks that underpin the creative process and architecture.

I started this website a couple of years ago, then stopped amidst the chaos and aftermath of covid. Coming back to it, I realise the limited, and let’s face it, (pretty crappy) videos I put out a few years ago, have provided some real value to people. Imagine if I focussed on making this great... hmmm...

The idea of consolidating everything I know and have learned about architecture, practice and study into one big ArchiMash resource pool, gets me excited again.

I’m not sure where this will go. I have ideas. If it doesn’t work, I can always pivot and shift in another direction, maybe a PhD?! That is one of the things I love about this field. 

So, look around, check out this site, take what works for you, test it, use and leave the rest. I hope that it helps!!

...Liz at ArchiMash

If you got this far, thank you!! 

In case you want it, here’s the Official Bio…

I’m an educator, creator, architect and project manager.

I help students and new practitioners of architecture design, document, create and learn, better and faster.

I have formal qualifications in design, architecture and business administration, and over twenty-five years experience as an architect, project manager, online business owner and architectural educator. I have undertaken extensive independent study in the areas of human potential, psychology, law, business, spirituality, reality, art and design.

I have worked on complex building design projects to $100m+ with private and government organisations to Executive, Board and CEO level, including Melbourne Business School, The University of Melbourne, Holmesglen TAFE, AirServices Australia, Toyota, the Victorian Department of Justice, and the Australian Department of Defence.

Since 2015 I have taught, lectured and tutored in the areas of architecture, design, communications, contracts and professional practice at a range of universities including the University of Melbourne, Monash University, The University of Queensland and Griffith University.

In addition to teaching, I am currently working on a number of creative projects including:

ArchiMash.com | Resources for students (and teachers and new practitioners) of architecture.
LizWatt.com | Deconstructing big ideas around life, reality, spirituality and the self.
Quintessential Stuff | Online reseller of pre-owned clothing.

In 2022, I published my first book, “Unity | How the Universe, the World and YOU Really Work.”


Qualifications

Certificate IV Workplace Training and Assessment TAE40110

Graduate Certificate of Business Admin.

Bachelor of Laws (Graduate Entry) (1st and 2nd years)

Bachelor of Architecture (Honours)

Bachelor of Design Studies

Registrations

Registered Architect - Australian Registration Board of Victoria #16911 

GBCA Green Star Accredited Professional

Certifications

Access Consciousness® Bars Practitioner

The Art Of Feminine Presence™ | Teacher Training Level I

Equilibration Process ® Practitioner

Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) Master Practitioner

NLP Presenter & Trainer | Level I

Master Ericksonian Hypnotherapist


Portfolio

You can find some of my architectural, creative and teaching projects here.

Connect

This website is my home base, but you can connect on social media. You can also contact me here.


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