What a difference a year makes

What a difference a year makes add

How has life changed for Mitchell Coll after the high of winning one of the most coveted architectural awards in the country? In this week’s defign blog we check in with 2017’s SUPREME ADNZ | Resene Architectural Design Award winner to see what a difference a year makes.

For those not in the know, Mitchell Coll of Coll Architecture took out the 2017 SUPREME award for his work on an exceptional Christchurch design that comprised of two compact adjoined town houses – just 74m2 each – on a 300m2 central city site. The rusted ‘Madras Street’ workingman’s cottages were declared “an exemplar for urban living”, by the ADNZ judges.

Mitchell says other than his business growing in staff from two to five in the short space of 12 months, he noticed two big changes after his award win.

“Winning the SUPREME award has meant we are now doing more of the projects we love to create. The award has generated greater enquiry for high-quality residential projects – for example we are currently working on an extremely cool contemporary take on a historic miner’s cottage in Punakaiki. Working on these types of homes gives us greater job satisfaction, in addition to the benefit of growing our business.

“Another change, which I wasn’t expecting, was the increase in my professional confidence. Winning a national award of this significance has given my client’s greater confidence and trust in my abilities as a designer and this in turn has given me more autonomy during the design process. When clients respect your opinion and creative process, they are more inclined to give you the freedom to take a design in the best direction. This has been an unexpected, but rewarding outcome of the award,” says Mitchell.

Mitchell has recently judged the 2018 ADNZ | Resene Architectural Design Awards and has some advice for 2018’s national winners.

“The win means national media coverage which is great for business, but you have to be ready before the win. Take some time to put energy in to how you market your business. Make sure you have a digital presence – this might be a website and or social media and be organised and ready to take on new work. Dealing with new client enquiries can keep you busy and it doesn’t always translate to new business, but it is all part of the process,” says Mitchell.

When asked what the best bit was about winning the award, Mitchell can’t go past the trophy.

“Winning the award was great exposure for my business, but I’m not a natural when it comes to dealing with the media. I find it a bit awkward. The best bit was winning the physical trophy. I have never won anything like that before. Putting that trophy on display in my office was a really proud moment.”

The national winners of 2018’s ADNZ | Resene Architectural Design Awards will be announced on Friday 26 October.

For more information on Coll Architecture visit: http://www.adnz.org.nz/profile/mitchellcoll

For more information on becoming a member of Architectural Designers New Zealand visit: http://www.adnz.org.nz/join