Design at the cutting edge
By Emma Cornford
For Clarence Valley building designer Linda Coombes, her job is more than just architecture ? it's about fun.
Often it is also about sticking to a budget, but despite those constraints Ms Coombs has managed to give new life to hundreds of buildings during her career.
One of those projects, remodelling the Pullens Centre in Grafton, has earned Ms Coombs two prestigious awards from the Building Designers Association, winning the Heritage and Commercial Building sections as well as runner-up in the overall design award in the State.
Ms Coombs said her work with the Pullens Centre had been 'so much fun'.
"It was important to recycle all the materials, for cost and style, but it was really wonderful to be able to do all that ... because I love to dig things up and give a new life to old things," she said.
"I've never liked that 'architect is God' mindset and I don't ever want people to look at my work and say 'that's a Linda Coombes', I just want them to say it looks good."
She also praised builders and contractors in Grafton.
"I've never met better. They are local people doing beautiful work which is just as good as anywhere in Australia or the world, and they do it on a low budget."
Ms Coombs' work is currently featured in The Design Process exhibition at the Grafton Regional Gallery, along with the work of Valley designers Paul Witzig, Warren Steele, Richard Van Dorf, Frank Scahill and Warren Flynn.
"We all work very differently and this helps people to see that," Ms Coombs said.
"I hope a lot of people come and see it, especially kids, because it's so important for them to see they can do something like this.
"It's taken me 30 years but these days I find I'm really comfortable in what I'm doing and ... it's important for kids to see they can pursue something they love. Because I'm so lucky ? I love my job."