BEHIND THE BIZ // Tina Tziallas of Tziallas Architects

 

You know when you meet someone whose worlds all merge into each other or dance around each other with ease and focus and confidence? Nope? That’s because someone like that is pretty rare, right? 

When we met Southern Highlands architect Tina Tziallas, we were struck by how her family, work, leadership style, architecture, parenting and lifestyle ethos all seemed to operate seamlessly alongside or within each other. 

Now, we know work life balance takes work – oh wow! Do we know that through making loads of mistakes ourselves! – so it was super fabulous to chat with Tina about how she combines running her successful local company, Tziallas Architects with parenting three kids, renovating her own home, hanging out with her extended family and friends in the Highlands and doing it with grace (mostly!). Here’s our chat with Tina. 

 

Tina Tziallas Architecture

PHOTO: Gina Umoren Photography


So, let’s start at the beginning. Did you always want to be an architect? 

I have never wanted to do anything else. My godfather was an architect and I remember walking into his studio as a little girl, seeing his drafting board and knowing that’s what I wanted to do. I only had architecture as my university preferences and then when I went to uni to study, I was lucky that I loved it! 
 

What drew (sorry not sorry!) you in? 

I love the idea of creating drawings of a building and somebody making something from that. There is something special about giving a set of instructions to someone and watching it come to life. I find that fascinating to watch. 
 

How long have you been running Tziallas Architects and how did it start? 

I started the practice as a sole trader 11 years ago! I had a little studio at The Milk Factory in Bowral. I built the practice with my business partner who has now moved on. During that time the studio moved to The Mill which is where we are now. 

 

Architect Southern Bowral

PHOTO: Gina Umoren Photography
 

We love the story of how you ended up at The Mill! 

The very first house I saw in Bowral, I loved so much I bought it. It’s a beautiful old house and ever since, I’ve been working on it and renovating it. I discovered that the person who built the house ran the old timber mill on the site of what is now The Mill.

Some years later, my now landlord - I didn't know him at the time - came to see me asking me to look at some drawings for a commercial site. It was the site of The Mill! He told me that it was his family that ran the old timber mill and I told him that I now live in the house his grandfather built!

Because of that connection, we both felt I needed to be involved in the renovation and re-design of The Mill. So I carved out a little spot in the drawings for my office and here we are today! 

 

Tell us more about your architectural philosophy? 

I don’t think I have a particular architectural philosophy mainly because the projects we work on in the Highlands are so diverse. We have the cold climate in the winter, a very hot climate in the summer, and we have challenging topography to deal with. For us, its about being site responsive and climate responsive. 

I don’t specialise in sustainable design, but it comes into everything that we do. That just IS design now. Every architect has a responsibility to design with the environment in mind. 

We have conversations with our clients about energy use, the embodied energy in the materials we are using, the selection of materials, how long the materials last and making sure the building isn’t fast fashion. That’s not a sustainable thing to do. 

 

Tziallas Architect Bowral

PHOTO: Gina Umoren Photography
 

Tell us what makes the team at Tziallas Architects unique. 

I find that like-minded people, whether they are clients or staff, tend to gravitate towards each other. And that’s what has happened here. We work on lovely projects we are all passionate about. No one is dragged along in the process. No one is trying to convince each other about an idea. Our projects are collaborative and have a really nice energy. 

You also provide a family-friendly environment for your team.

Absolutely! We’ve all got kids and our practice is like a close knit family. We work around our kids which is very important to me. It’s not uncommon in our industry to be expected to slog it out and do big hours, but I wanted to make sure this practice was different. A good work life balance is sustainable. People don’t burn out. They stay motivated and fresh and that’s when we do great work. 

 

The Mill Bowral

PHOTO: Gina Umoren Photography
 


So how do you manage parenting and running a business? 

I have three primary school-aged children and I’m lucky that my job is easy for them to understand. They see what I do and they really get it. We’ll drive around and they’ll comment on how nicely a particular project is coming together or not! They can be very critical in a good way! 

If I’m working from home, we’ll sit at the table together and the kids will draw with me. My nine year old asked me the other day, what’s the brief, Mum? And then created her own design from the brief. 

I had two weeks maternity leave when I had my children and brought them into the studio from the very beginning. That’s the beauty of living and working here – I had that flexibility. 
 

What else do you love about living and working in the Southern Highlands? 

There is a sense of community here that I don’t think exists anywhere else. I feel that for most of us, our values here are aligned. We’re all looking for a beautiful wholesome lifestyle and to be part of a community. There is still enough space between us, but everyone is still connected. 


 

 

We love it! And now we want Tina to be our bestie! Click here to find out more about Tziallas Architects and you can have a looksee at one of their completed projects on The Fold - click here to have a sticky beak at Bundaroo House – sooooo gorgeous! 


Tziallas Architects is a design focused architectural studio located in Bowral. The team has worked on a variety of innovative, sustainable and contemporary projects both locally and throughout NSW. Projects range from residential, multi-dwellings, and commercial, combining heritage and historical architecture with modern design solutions that reflect the way we live today.  
 
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