Auckland Graduate Program: Collective Creativity

At Woods Bagot, we believe in ‘People Architecture’ – the celebration of diversity across cultures, propelled by a shared sense of empathy where the values of end users and the values of design are one and the same.

That’s why we look for innovative and creative graduates who want to meaningfully contribute and actively engage in what has been described by our CEO, Nik Karalis, as ‘a 150-year old start up business reliant on inclusivity, diverse perspectives and incredible thinkers’.

The annual graduate program, which commenced in February 2023, offered 13 graduate positions in both Architecture and Interior Design disciplines in our Australian and New Zealand studios.

The Graduate program is a six-part series that covers the stories across the Global Studio. Stay tuned for more!

Introducing the graduates who play a key role in the Auckland studio, located in a populous urban and multi-cultural hub of art and culture.

Libby Hutt is an alumnus of Victoria University of Wellington with a Bachelor of Architectural Studies and Masters of Architecture Professional. Libby joined the architecture team with an innate curiosity of the built environment and a passion for cities, places and mixed-use design. She adds, “I admire the desire by those in the design and construction sector to create sustainable, inclusive, and aesthetically pleasing spaces that enhance the quality of life for individuals and communities alike.”

As for interior design talent, Juan Rheza Setiadi, joined the team as a graduate of Residential Interior Design and Commercial Interior Design from Unitec. Juan’s interests in diverse sectors from civic & events to retail design has meant diving into the deep end. He talks about the meaningful projects he’s been involved in, being hands on, and his W-B mentors who play a crucial role in the program.

For those considering a similar path and aspiring to join a global studio, we invite you to hear from our graduates and see what they got up to!

Juan and Libby in Woods Bagot’s Auckland studio. Photography: Cat Boesley.

What do you enjoy most about the Graduate program at Woods Bagot so far?

Libby: Being a part of a graduate program has been incredibly beneficial. It continues to fuel my intellectual curiosity whilst providing a collaborative and supportive community and paves the way for personal and professional growth. It provides the opportunity for us to delve into our passions, gain expertise, and make a positive contribution to the built environment. Embracing the challenges and opportunities of a graduate program has enabled me to learn and grow within the architecture field whilst still pursuing my interests and aspirations.

Juan: I really enjoy being exposed to all the different aspects of the project. It’s been such a rewarding challenge being in the thick of it all, and I feel as though I’ve learnt so much in such a short period of time. The guidance from my mentor Kairangi* has also been amazing.

*See interior designer Kairangi Ama’s journal piece to future fellow Pasifika designers and architects.

How has it been working with your project leader and team?

Libby: I’ve really enjoyed working alongside Eric* and also the wider Auckland studio team. Everyone has been incredibly kind and helpful and have very much encouraged the phrase of “there is no such thing as a silly question.” There is great morale and comradery in the office and everyone is very encouraging of one another which has been a great environment to both work, grow and learn in. Working alongside individuals who have worked across the globe has provided me with invaluable pieces of knowledge which I am incredibly grateful for.

Juan: Chris Qian [designer], Craig Hopkins [senior associate], and the rest of the team in the Auckland studio have been amazing. It’s such a privilege to be able to work amongst such talented and knowledgeable people. Everyone has been incredibly patient and supportive whenever I ask questions, regardless of how simple they may be.

*Senior associate Eric Buhrs has worked on major projects including Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre. Alongside Eric, one of the projects Juan has been involved in is the Northbrook Wanaka village. Click below for more.

What has working on your project taught you?

Libby: Over the last few months I have been lucky enough to experience a range of projects as well as working both digitally but also visiting sites and seeing construction happening in the flesh. The contrast between office and site work was super interesting to see and has taught me the importance of communication within drawings. Understanding that structures are built from drawings sheets and thus clear layouts, set outs and ensuring drawings are clean and easy to understand was an important lesson to learn.

Juan: Working on multiple projects have at times been a baptism of fire as I hadn’t used Revit during my time at uni. However, I feel the best way to learn is by doing, and as such I feel as though I have learnt a lot through working on these projects. Working on these projects has also taught me to push through the discomfort and ask questions or ask for help when I need it.

The vision for Northbrook was to curate a retirement offering for people in their later years to live life to the full without compromise. With exquisite locations, thoughtful design and premium facilities to provide an exacting quality of life for discerning patrons. Andy Gentry, Woods Bagot principal and an industry leader, is leading the team including Eric Buhrs, Bronwyn McColl, Alex Hall and Ian Lomas.

Inspiration. Innovation. Inclusiveness.

We are Woods Bagot.

At Woods Bagot, we are committed to creating an environment where difference is celebrated, valued and respected, practices are equitable, and our people feel like they belong. We accept that none of us is smarter than all of us. We believe building a diverse workforce is the foundation to creativity and innovative design – it is only by working together that we can realise the potential of our people, clients and communities around us. Through our inclusive leadership and our truly global studio network of strategists, experience designers and scientists, you will find your voice and have the support and flexibility required to bring your whole self to work and build an exceptional career.

Learn more about the Graduate Program

Latest from the Global Studio