Award winning research
Nicole van Ruler
Bachelor of Design (Interior)
Nicole van Ruler started her degree out of an interest in interior design but she has turned her studies and special skills as a researcher into a successful business as an architectural historian.
Nicole’s passion for research grew from study she chose to do on Dutch architects who came to New Zealand. Nicole researched two for her degree, Abraham van Melle and Albertus Vallenduuk. She has just received the David Saunders Founders Grant from the Society of Architectural Historians of Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ), to further that research and include another architect, Mattheus Wevers. She will use some of her grant to travel to Holland.
“It’s really interesting doing research’” says Nicole. “I enjoy finding things and bringing them into the open. New Zealand has good archives that are quite close to each other. But to access the archives in Holland is difficult by internet and far away to visit. This has made it harder to find out about the work these architects did in Holland, which is why I’m going there.”
Nicole is enthusiastic about her discoveries. She says that she was driven by the fact that Dutch architects in New Zealand are not well known and not much has been written about them. “They made a significant contribution to New Zealand architecture. They also taught, and have left an imprint on many people.
“Wevers brought modernism to the Wairarapa. His home is a good example and amongst other things he designed a kindergarten, hospital, the War Memorial Pool and the hall in Masterton. He was also the first Dutch person to join a council,” says Nicole.
She explains how she came to do her degree. “I did it because I was interested in interior design and decoration. But I really got into the research. It’s so satisfying and it’s what I’m good at.”
Nicole says that success at study is about enthusiasm. “You have to pursue what you like and broaden it out. You can shape yourself into what you want to be if you find others to support what you are trying to achieve. I found tutors like that at WelTec. I learned a lot. It was varied and very practical.”