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Victorian Design Award for Local Student

25 Aug 2007

What exactly does a myotherapist do? That was the leading question Epping resident Igor Nikolovski had to address for a building design project as part of his studies at Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE (NMIT).

As a second-year student in the Diploma of Building Design and Technology at NMIT, Igor, 23, had to design a medical clinic for myotherapists that was environmentally sustainable based on a real site at another TAFE in Waverley.

With research with a practising myotherapist to discover the answer to his question, Igor has just won the 2007 Building Designers of Victoria award for Best Response to a Design Brief by a Student, beating about 200 students from other TAFEs around Victoria.

'I just thought myotherapy was about physical massage and had only a vague idea what it involved,' Igor said. 'I talked to a real myotherapist for about an hour and found it involved a large psychological aspect as well. It's a mind-body practice that helps people relax and feel good.'

As part of his research, Igor also visited the site, taking photos and assessing its potential for a contemporary and modern design as the brief stipulated.

'It was a challenging task as while the design had to be contemporary, it had to fit in with the streetscape which was circa the 60s and 70s,' Igor said.

'It couldn't be an eye-sore or too different and had to blend into the environment.'

The design brief included four practitioner rooms and boardroom with standard facilities incorporating a kitchenette, staff room, bathroom and reception area.

After completing his research, Igor sat down at the drawing board poised with a pencil and started sketching - ideas flowing freely.

'I liked the brief as it was a great experience to do something I hadn't done before and get out of my comfort zone,' he said.

While there were times when he sat down to design with his mind going blank, he upped and departed the drawing-board only to return later when his ideas rekindled.

His final design was of a free-flowing, curved building without any sharp corners made of dark, polished cedar brown lightweight timber with alucobond metal green cladding. The north-facing windows were double-glazed with cedar louvres in the practice rooms.

'The building was designed to be soft on the eye to help the relaxation aspect of myotherapy and also accommodated heat gain and loss, ventilation and lighting to be environmentally sustainable,' Igor said.

He added winning the award was 'awesome' and very rewarding with a great sense of achievement for him.

'I work part-time for an architect and have really pushed myself to study full-time and this award makes me know I'm on the right track. I am working as a draftsperson but want to continue my studies after NMIT and do architecture.

'Through winning this award, I've gained a lot more contacts and people in the industry are now aware of me. It's overwhelming but just fantastic.'


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NMIT (Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE) - Situated on seven campuses and six training centres throughout Melbourne's north, NMIT delivers vocational training, higher education and lifelong learning capabilities for a global workforce. NMIT forges partnerships with community, industry and government to produce practical, solution orientated graduates capable of making meaningful contributions to their chosen field of endeavour.