Building a knowledge base

Tayla Lindsay, Bachelor of Building Science and Master of Architectural Science alumna, says the key to success is a solid foundation—with a flexible attitude.

Tayla Lindsay

A Hawke’s Bay local, Tayla says she loved design and visual communication (DVC) at high school, along with graphic design, physics, and economics.

“Building science sounded like a combination of all these subjects, and I’d heard great things about the Faculty of Architecture and Design Innovation.

“I liked the idea of doing a common first year of architecture as it would flow on nicely from the creative work that I was doing in DVC studies at high school, and I thought Wellington would be a great city to live in.”

Coming to Te Herenga Waka in 2019 meant that Tayla suddenly found herself navigating study in the midst of a global pandemic.

“It was certainly interesting! My class was often bouncing between learning online and in-person due to lockdowns, so we had to learn to adapt.

“Our teaching staff were amazing though—they also were constantly adapting, and still managed to get across the learnings we needed.”

Tayla says it ended up being her Master’s year that was the most valuable—with “everything” she learned directly correlating to her current role at Studio Pacific Architecture (SPA).

But she says she couldn’t have got there without the solid foundation she’d built during her undergraduate degree.

“It gave me a really great base of knowledge and helped me to understand how a design and construction project works—from the design process to building consent, environmental design, and construction. The double major of sustainable engineering and project management provided a great understanding of all aspects of the building industry.

“I also met some great people, and loved the assignments that involved site visits and working with actual clients, which gave a real taste for what the industry had to offer.”


It was partway through her Master’s that Tayla began working at SPA, and she has worked there full-time since completing her studies.

“Currently I am the Sustainability Specialist, where I have been working towards developing SPA’s sustainability goals and processes, helping to decrease the carbon footprint of the projects and practice.

“I’m hoping to hang around here for a while—it’s a pretty fantastic practice with amazing people, and I would love to keep building on this career in the workplace I started at.”

She’s remaining open-minded though—her biggest life lesson from Te Herenga Waka is to never think that you have to stick to your initial plan.

“In first year I was unsure whether I wanted to major in architecture or building science. When I had settled on building science, I was afraid I would hate sustainable engineering. Yet here I am, my Master’s focused on sustainable engineering and now I work in sustainable architecture!

“As you move through university, you’ll learn what you are passionate about and you should steer your studies in the direction that suits you.”

Explore the Bachelor of Building Science and Master of Architectural Science

If you are interested in science, technology and economics of buildings, building science studies could be for you.

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