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Architect meets Engineer

Todays blog is a little bit of fun: the story of our careers so far... and how I convinced Paul to switch over to the light side!

Paul and I met 10 years ago. At the time I was madly studying for my architectural registration, while Paul was working as a structural engineer.

The conversation on our first date went along the lines of:

Reine: So, what do you do for work?

Paul: I am an engineer, you?

Reine: I am a... well... a graduate of architecture.

(ask anyone with an architecture degree and not registered - the word 'architect' is copyrighted to registration, so it leaves this awkward gap between student and architect when you mumble something about working in architecture and then have to explain what you do...)

Paul had studied a 4 year Bachelor of Civil Engineering at USYD and could call himself an engineer even before he completed his degree.

I had studied a 3 year Bachelor of Applied Science in Architecture, then a 2 year Masters of Architecture (both at UC) and was just diving into my required 3 years / 3000 hours practical experience before being able to complete my logbook, sit my exam and finally pass a peer interview in mid 2013 to become a registered Architect! phew.

Jump to October 2013:

Reine: I am an Architect!

Paul: Awesome, Will You Marry Me?

(ok, technically we got engaged six months later... but don't let the facts ruin a good story!)

Paul and Reine walk along beside the Thredbo river. Holding hands and gazing into each others eyes on a sunny summer day. Reine's dress is a bright red and Pauls tie matches, while Reine's bouquet of white and red origami roses is held beside her hip.
Paul and Reine's wedding by the Thredbo River, Nov 2014

Our careers have crossed over several times in the 10 years - when Paul was working as a civil engineer at Sellick Consultants he helped me get a job with DNAA and I worked with them for 2.5 years, often working on multi-unit projects with Paul on the other side of the table as the civil engineer!

I have also been doing private work as a Energy Assessor on and off over the last 10 years - doing both EERs and glazing calculators - often after hours and with Paul's assistance. We have always found the building performance and science side of construction interesting, loved tweaking the models and exploring options to optimise a homes performance.

So jump to 2017, when on maternity leave with our 1 month old daughter and my dream job was advertised - working across architecture and energy efficiency with the team at Light House Architecture and Science. So I dropped the baby (metaphorically) and leapt at the opportunity. In September 2017, with a 6 month old bub, I jumped back into energy efficient residential renovation work and loved every moment of my 3.5 years at Light House.

Professional photo of Paul and Reine. Paul is holding their 1yo daughter with a big cheeky grin on her face.
Reine and Paul with their 1yo daughter in April 2018

Luckily, Paul caught our baby and loved spending time with her, which left a couple of years of juggling as both of us tried to be dedicated employees 4+ days a week and manage our family life.

in 2019 we decided a fourth and final (fingers crossed) family member was on the cards. Paul decided to take the step back and opt for a change in career. As we brainstormed what he loved about his job - working through the details and thinking about elements - and what interested him - helping improve peoples day to day lives, and researching products and material - It seemed an obvious shift to join me in the energy efficiency side of residential architecture. The team at Light House were rapt to expand the collaborative team to include an engineer and science officer and he joined me there in July 2019.

Paul has a natural aptitude for software and computer systems and took to the BIM modelling software we use - Autodesk Revit - like a duck to water and before long was writing add-ins for the software.

In my time at Light House I saw the team grow from 7 people to 16, and in mid 2019 I became an Associate within the team. With the arrival of our second child in early 2020, which coincided with Covid19 lockdown and increased work from home flexibility, I was able to keep a foot in and return to work when he was just 4 months old. During this time Paul and I worked mostly on projects together, lock-down making co-ordination easy. Paul's natural enjoyment of legislation made him the logical support for an adaptable secondary residence and two bushfire rebuilds I was leading.

So in March 2021 we decided to take the leap and part from the Light House team.

With the support and encouragement of our previous director Jenny Edwards, we launched our business - Tranquil Architecture - with the intention of working with a broader range of renovation clients. Clients with challenging briefs or blocks (think secondary residences, bushfire requirements, tight budgets, dual occupancies etc!) and in a wider range of climate zones from the south coast up to the snowy mountains.

I will be leading the design and planning side of the business, and Paul is finalising his qualifications to lead the thermal performance side of the business, while also supporting me as the BIM software manager. For the next few years we will work from home until our son starts school, at which point we hope to establish an office on the north side and look to grow our team!

We are excited to work with a wide variety of projects, all with the aim of creating comfortable sustainable homes to delight our clients every day.

Please follow us on Facebook and/or Instagram to join the journey!

Professional family photo with Reine and Paul walking along. Their 1yo son is sititng on Reine's shoulders with a big smile and their 3yo daughter is laughing on dad's shoulders!
Reine with 1yo son and Paul with 3yo daughter in Feb 2021

Thanks for reading!

All three beautiful family moments above were photographed by the very talented Tess Godkin Photographer.


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