Derek designs his future at architecture firm Woods Bagot

We recently chatted with 2018 Master of Architecture graduate Derek Huynh about how his career has progressed since finishing uni, and what advice he has for those thinking about studying design.


Tell us a little about your background
I’ve recently graduated from studying both my Bachelor and Master degrees in architecture at the University of Melbourne. What drew me to a career in design is that it encourages us to view the world, particularly the challenges and opportunities it faces, in unconventional ways.

Where are you working and what are you working on at the moment?
I work at Woods Bagot. I’ve most recently been working on Melbourne Connect – an innovation precinct that collides researchers and industry together.

What advice do you have for people considering studies in the Architecture/Design?
One of the best aspects about studying design is that there are no right or wrong answers. We encourage ideas that challenge conventional thinking. This means that more often than not you are rewarded for your own unique perspective and ideas. Consequently, it’s equally beneficial to have an open mind to everyone else’s ideas which can often be a great source of inspiration!

What advice do you have for current students looking to find work experience or employment opportunities?
Take a moment to think of what sort of designer you want to be and then find the companies and people who share similar aspirations. You’ll find everything becomes naturally easier and much more exciting when you engage with people who are in the profession for the same reasons as you.

Which built environment professionals, or creative people, are inspiring you at the moment?
Bjarke Ingels is definitely near the top for me. His enthusiasm to explore how design can be of value in any situation is inspiring. He also has an amazing ability to communicate his ideas in the most simple and compelling ways.

What has been your proudest career achievement to date?
Winning the Melbourne’s Backyard Ideas Competition this time last year! I worked intensely over a few weeks with two other friends from the University of Melbourne where we proposed an urban intervention to activate the 5-year long construction site of a new Melbourne Metro station. It was a really exciting experience to develop and pitch an idea in front of a jury of seniors and gain direct feedback.

What would you like people to know about your industry?
Design goes far beyond aesthetics and has the ability to meaningfully change how people use and experience spaces. Looking locally, we have designed hospitals that improve patient recovery experiences (Royal Children’s Hospital), schools that provide spaces for both students and the community (South Melbourne Primary School) or even workplaces that encourage collaboration and well-being (Medibank).

What would be your dream project?
Definitely designing a major public or civic project. These projects present opportunities for design to improve the lives of thousands of users on a daily basis.

What was your favourite place on campus?
Easily the MSD! The atrium and informal learning spaces have fostered so many great collaborative opportunities and friendships over the past few years.

Can you tell us a memory of university life that has really stayed with you?
Studying the Tectonic Grounds Summer intensive! Imagine 140 students working together as one team to create an installation for White Night in just one week.

What’s your best piece of advice for our current students?
Don’t be afraid to be curious!

If you are interested in studying design come to our Grad Study Evening this October 25th, 2018
Learn more about MSD Grad Study Evening 2018