Ben Watts is what’s up at ata

Ben came to ata from another national award-winning studio specialising in bespoke residential architecture. Someone asked me how old the new guy we just hired was and I said ahh about our age (mid, ok late 30s). Turns out he’s a decade younger than that. I’m either delusionally young in my head or Ben’s not your typical millennial. Either way, we’re stoked to have him. He has a tonne of architectural knowledge in his relatively young head. His first project is The Shed my dad’s passion project so I guess there’s a bit of pressure.


Why Architecture?

“That’s a difficult question to answer without sounding cliché, I was always interested in building, and how things were put together along with the design aspect. So there was definitely a point where I thought building was the career for me, but I wasn’t too interested in building things that other people had designed. I went down the road of architecture and decided to leave the Estwing for the odd weekend project.”


Why ata?

I like the idea of working for a young, driven, and growing company as it gives you the opportunity to grow also. The four day work weeks aren’t going too bad either.”


What / Who Inspire you?

I read a book about Tony Christiansen when I was younger; he lost his legs when he was about 9 years old to a train shunting. Since then he has gone on to become a Surf Lifesaver, second-degree black belt, represented New Zealand in athletics, became a pilot, and runs motivational events from the top of his 1.5m high scaffolding. Attitude and hard work inspire me.”


Your background?

I grew up on a farm in Te Kauwhata before making my way to the Bay of Plenty where I attended Tauranga Boys’ College and then finished my schooling years back over in the Waikato at St Peters. I then moved my life down to Christchurch and studied Architecture for 3 years. After that, I decided to have a change of scenery for a year or so and went to NSW Australia to drive tractors for 8 months, which helped fund a van trip around Europe with a bunch of mates. Then I was ready to start my career in Architecture, and I love it.”


What do you do for fun/downtime?

I haven’t had much downtime over the past year or so as I have been working on a renovation of my own, which at times has fallen into the ‘fun’ category but has definitely had its challenges along the way. Other than that I try to get a surf in every now and then, along with a mountain bike. More recently I have been getting right into a bit of hunting. I give most things a go but can’t say I have mastered any of the above yet.”


Where do you want to be in 5-10 years?

“I’d like to have a couple more of my own renovation projects under my belt, as well as becoming closer to mastering the activities above.”

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