Property Australia

Poet in motion

Karen Jamal Karen Jamal August 31, 2021

GHD’s Tai Hollingsbee helps to materialise the poetry of architecture into rational, built forms. That's just one reason why this Secret Star deserves applause.

Introducing… Tai Hollingsbee, National Building Engineering Leader, GHD


Three words to describe my job… Realisation. Translation. Art.

When I explain my role to people outside the property industry, I say… I help materialise the poetry of architecture into rational, built forms.

My three daily work essentials are… A vision to work towards, a clear purpose for my day and something to look forward to at the end of it.

The biggest lesson I’ve learnt in my role… You can never be too prepared for any pitch or meeting and humility is central to authentic leadership.

My career motivation is… Helping to nudge society by making it attractive to live within one planet’s worth of resources.

My advice to others considering a career in my field… You need to be curious, get a kick out of science and enjoy telling persuasive stories that influence decision making.

The building or project that embodies what I do… Barwon Water Headquarters in Geelong – a super high-performance building that evolved from science and rational thinking and blurs the line between architecture and engineering well.

The inspirational quote I live by… is my own: Do good work with good people.

This year I’ll be… trying to draw more and talk to more people about design and carbon.


Who nominated Tai? Grellan Symes, Property & Buildings Market Leader, GHD

Why is Tai a Secret Star? Tai is an engineer who is sometimes mistaken for an architect. He is driving the uptake of end-to-end design thinking to make the property industry more efficient, more accountable for our environmental impact and discovering the beauty along the journey of change.

He has had a diverse career working on projects around the world with some of the most important architects of our era, quietly sharing his experience and mentoring the current generation of architects and engineers as well as students.

His enthusiasm for design and respect for architecture helps raise the profile of engineering – and makes working with numbers and physics engaging and meaningful!

Tai is leading a transformation of the buildings business at GHD, breaking boundaries between disciplines and evolving our operational model that is centered around design excellence and contributing to sustainable communities.

Additionally, Tai has pioneered innovations in advanced construction system for remote locations around the world – making it faster, cheaper and more reliable to build sustainable buildings in extreme climates.

Tags: PEOPLE