John Walsh: Congratulations on your new position, David, and to start – why did you accept it?
David Sheppard: Thank you, John. When Patrick Clifford first approached me, I asked for a few days to decide whether I might be up to the job, and whether in terms of the workload in Christchurch, it was appropriate to do it. But it is an honour to be invited... The Institute has been very helpful and a valuable part of my life, and I decided it was time to try and give back a bit more than just being on committees and doing the occasional awards programme. So I’m approaching it in that way... I’d like to help the members of the Institute feel comfortable that they have a body that represents them in this ever-changing world.
With my background and particular interests I would like to help, wherever possible, to improve the image and the reputation of architecture. It’s something that’s still a large question mark in the community – what is it that we do? A second concern is the issue of collaboration between architects and other professions. I think this is the way forward because of the complexity of so many projects... There are a number of excellent examples throughout New Zealand where collaboration has resulted in a project that’s much better than it would have been if we’d tried to go it alone as architects or engineers or whatever.
A third issue for me is the urban design aspect of what we do – even a single building creates a context around it. This is another way of the future. There’s more to the world tha