Jo Gillies, Archisoul Architects, SydneyHow would I describe myself and what have I created over the years as an Architect? Bio’s are usually written as though another is writing it on behalf of them- perhaps to remain objective? For me I’d like to write about what I offer to the world and have already created.

My middle childhood years I spent growing up in the Bahamas as an ex-pat daughter of the old British colony. I have some stunning memories such as witnessing the beauty of diving underwater in the clear blue ocean with piercing and rippling shards of sunlight penetrating down to the bottom of the sand with a seahorse allowing itself to calmly curl around my little finger all the while eyeing me with a gaze so strong I’ve never forgotten it.

Moving back to England afterwards I remember the countryside bathed with soft light and going to school in the dark of a cold morning. We transitioned there as moving to Australia was our end journey. England’s villages with their common green areas brought about a sense of community and connectedness. I forgot the importance of that until I studied Architecture at Sydney University some years later.

Why are our memories of beautiful moments in childhood so important us? They always incorporate some sort of Architecture. A childhood home; or a public building or a church. Buildings can define our memories and create an outer manifestation of the yearning for connection and community. These in turn bring us back to the beauty and calm we all desire in the Architecture that we experience around us. Places that ignite our souls are places that allow our hearts to sing in connection and community.

My years as student at Sydney University were just that- connection and community. The faculty of Architecture itself was by no means a pace of beauty. However, as students we made it so ourselves. The function of a building is only one aspect of Architecture; it’s the activation of soul that really ensures a building works for us all. However my wisdom to date is about connecting those ‘dots’ of Architectural design when purposefully designed will create beauty and in doing so will by default inherently activate a person’s soul.

It’s the interactivity of people and purposeful design that engineers that soul activation. How do we do this ‘purposeful design’? This is just simply a tool we use in our office that infuses intuition, concept receiving through divinity; rational thinking; site responsiveness and the person (client) plus years of experience of delving into my own inner landscape.

After University I worked at various Architectural firms as well as designed film sets on documentaries and a movie. I then worked at Space furniture on high end design layouts for pretty amazing clients. This period gave me a unique insight into the importance of furniture layout planning and pedestrian flow through a building /dwelling. Furniture layouts define spaces and well defined spaces work so beautifully with intent.

Becoming a mother of two daughters gave me a wonderful insight into the interactivity of a family dynamic. I started working from home designing simple renovations and small homes.

After a few years raising 2 daughters as a single mother I felt that my business required a new company name to reflect what I actually do as an architect. Archisoul was formed in 2012 and the focus was more about the defining of what emotions are invoked by design intent. What beauty and calm can create as an activator of the client’s soul within their dwelling/building.

In 2013 I was accepted to present a TEDx talk at the Powerhouse museum. My subject was about the Masculine and Feminine principals as applied in Architecture. This inspired knowledge was the culmination of that divine intelligence where an understanding of the ‘energies present’ in the design intent and the proposed outcomes are those elements that form part of this beauty; harmony and joy. Our Buildings have these energies and when created in integrity and love more than usually retain that outcome in the end result.

Archisoul and my wonderful staff create places of beauty, joy and love that activates the inherent soul. What we are creating moving forward is the expansion of this knowledge through the understanding of many other disciplines such sacred geometry, biomorphic design and an understanding of our own inner landscapes.

Registered Architect 6850

Archisoul Architects, Sydney, Northern Beaches