Growing up in Fiji and completing his undergraduate study in New Zealand, Tualagi was encouraged to continue his studies by completing the Master of Architecture at University of Newcastle.
“The idea of exploring the way we are able to build our environment, especially in the developing countries of the Pacific, piqued my interest in completing my Masters degree.
“The University’s practical approach to architecture and design studio was what made me choose University of Newcastle,” he said
Tualagi has used his study experience to network and build confidence.
“The connections and networks that I've been introduced to, with likeminded people and professionals have allowed me to plan the next few steps in my career.
“The school has definitely given me confidence in backing my research questions throughout my thesis and to pursue these further,” he said.
Tualagi made the most of his education at Newcastle, connecting his architectural studies with the Disaster Management and Resilience course offered by Construction Management, to develop a year-long design thesis project that investigated architecture’s capacity for post-disaster recovery in cyclone-prone Fiji.
For this work, Tualagi won the 2022 Architects Medallion.
Recalling this experience, he felt validated in his studies and future career interests.
“Awards like the Architects Medallion give a platform for graduates to align their studies outside the commercial aspects of design.
“The award gives validation to the topic of sustainable disaster relief architecture in our changing environment and that architecture is not only about the glitz and glam of skyscrapers in the built environment but the grass roots impact and relevance of traditional technologies in continual struggling communities,” he said.
Since completing his studies, Tualagi has worked for local Newcastle company, EJE Architecture as a Graduate Architect, whilst also taking up work in Fiji.
“I had recently been working for EJE Architecture in Newcastle as a Graduate of Architecture before taking up a short-term role working with a Fiji based company, AAPi Design, who are part of a team involved in a post cyclone schools recovery program,” he said.
Speaking of his personal experience, Tualagi found his program gave him the opportunity to explore concepts and designs further.
“It allowed me to explore design problems that interested me and take lead in formulating arguments for concept and design,” he said.
Tualagi’s advice for other students wanting to study is to reach out to teachers when needed and create a quality work-life balance.
“Reach out. The people at the University of Newcastle understand that there needs to be a balance between work, study and our personal lives in the real world.
“It's a university that lets you maintain that balance,” he said.
Recent graduate, Tualagi Nokise has been awarded the 2022 Architects Medallion.
The University’s practical approach to architecture and design studio was what made me choose the University of Newcastle.
The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.