Inspired by the challenge of weaving stories and cultural narratives into architectural design, Chow:Hill architectural graduate, Reuben Smiler is sharing his passion of Maori design principles.
It is Reuben’s own cultural heritage – he has tribal links to Ngāti Kahungunu, Waikato Tainui and Ngai Tahu – that has fostered his interest in creating a distinctive style of Māori architecture. Reuben’s studies within Unitech’s Māori architectural studio, which focused on papakāinga development, has provided the Chow:Hill architectural graduate with a foundation of design dedicated to depicting the stories of tangata whenua.
For Reuben, the challenge lies in ensuring the communities in which his designs are present can see themselves in, and connect with, his design. That requires a blending of architectural styles with knowledge of the surrounding cultural, heritage and environmental factors.
A father of four, Reuben places particular importance on portraying ancestral links alongside modern, contemporary architecture that will shape the experiences of future generations.