Tessa Forde

Tessa Forde

Los Angeles, CA, US

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Tessa Forde is a budding architect, a writer and currently a California enthusiast. She is particularly interested in the political implications of the built environment and how architecture encompasses much more than buildings. Her personal practice experiments with architectural representation in the 21st century and delves into the political implications of architectural acts. She eventually wants to run her own alternative design practice, her own architecture school, or be the Prime Minister of New Zealand – whatever’s easiest.



Free School of Architecture, Los Angeles, CA, US, Co-owner/Program Coordinator

Coordinated and ran the FSA in Los Angeles alongside three
women. Involved the full scope of establishing a non-profit
and running a six week school - but with experimentation in
organisation and hierarchy.

Sep 2017 - current

LOC Architects, Los Angeles, CA, US, Junior Architect

Working on a range of projects from concept design phase
through to construction. I saw from start to finish the conversion
of a warehouse into a high school and I have worked other
school projects, single residential projects and multi-family
residential projects.

Nov 2017 - Aug 2019

ArchDaily, los angeles, Fall Intern

ArchDaily Fall Internship position writing Newsroom posts and

Sep 2017 - Dec 2017

Bull/O'Sullivan Architecture Ltd, Los Angeles, Junior Architectural Designer

Worked as an architectural graduate for Michael O’Sullivan
predominantly constructing concept and final models,
producing concept plans and building consent drawings. I had previously worked as an intern in Michael's office over the summer break of 2013/2014.

Apr 2016 - Jun 2017

The University of Auckland, Auckland, NZ, Teaching Assistant and Tutor

Taught design studios for three semesters to second and third
year students.

Mar 2016 - Jun 2017

Novel bookshop, Auckland, NZ, Retail Salesperson

Sole charge once a week, setting up the shop and selling books.

Feb 2012 - Jun 2016

Aussie Architects Abroad, Kathmandu, NP, Volunteer

Travelled to Nepal with Aussie Action Abroad for a month to participate
in community development and construction work in the
Lamjung district.

Jan 2015 - Feb 2015

Fletcher Earthquake Recovery, Christchurch, NZ, Earthquake Recovery Draughtsperson

Contracted through Bull/O’Sullivan to work for Fletcher EQR
in Christchurch. Involved surveying damaged homes with
qualified engineers, and drafting details for repair strategies.

Nov 2014 - Feb 2015

Northcote Swimming Club, Auckland, NZ, Swim Coach

Swim coach for kids aged 5-14.

Feb 2011 - Feb 2015


The Free School of Architecture, Los Angeles, CA, US, Architectural Discourse

Selected as one of 36 students in the inaugural class for 2017, The Free School of Architecture is an experimental school exploring the edges of architectural education.

It is a tuition and salary free, not-for-profit organization focused on global knowledge exchange and changing and challenging the conversations around architecture.

The School ran for six weeks in the summer of 2017 but it is an ongoing project which has now been taken on by the student body.

Jun 2017 - current

The University of Auckland, Auckland, NZ, MArch, Architecture

A two year professional masters degree with the first year involving design studio papers, electives and discipline based courses and the second year being a self-lead thesis project.

Mar 2014 - Feb 2016

The University of Auckland, Auckland, NZ, BArch, Architecture

A three year Bachelors Program covering all facets of architectural study.

Mar 2011 - Nov 2013

Northcote College, Auckland, NZ, High School, High School

Feb 2006 - Dec 2010


Royal Institute of British Architects President's Medals 2016 - Dissertation Commendation, Other

The RIBA President's Medals are prestigious architecture awards granted to graduating students of architecture worldwide. The dissertation category judges the best dissertations of the year in either a part 1 or part 2 architecture degree. One winner is announced as well as up to three commendations globally.

My thesis - The House that Politics Built: Parliament Aotearoa was awarded a dissertation commendation in 2016.


New Zealand Best of Design Awards - Student Category 2016, 2nd Place

Brought to you by The Designers Institute of New Zealand, The Best Design Awards is an annual showcase of excellence in graphic, spatial, product, interactive and motion design.

My submission received a silver award.


Australasian Dulux Colour Awards 2016 (student category), 2nd Place

Dulux Colour Awards is Australasia’s premier showcase of inspirational colour application in built environments. My project received a commendation.


New Brighton Tiny Huts Competition 2016, 1st Place

Co-Winner of the New Brighton Tiny Huts Competition 2016 with Elena Lochore-Ward. Our hut was one of five constructed to re-vitalize the waterfront in New Brighton, Christchurch, New Zealand.


Warren Trust Prize for Architectural Writing, 1st Place

The awards are a means of encouraging people to write about architecture in an inventive, meaningful and descriptive way.


Student Architecture Network of New Zealand 24 Hour Competition, 1st Place

A member of one of the winning teams in the SANNZ 24 hour design competition in 2015. The competition was open to all the architecture schools in New Zealand and the brief was to design a scheme that responded to Auckland's waterfront port - postulating that climate change had impacted the tides to a 4m difference and thus the bottom of the city was underwater for parts of the day. Our proposal was a satirical oyster farm that capitalized on the conditions set up by the ocean.


New Zealand Institute of Architects Cadimage Student Design Award, 2nd Place

Highly commended at the New Zealand Institute of Architects Cadimage Student Design Awards in 2015. This placed my final thesis project The House that Politics Built: Parliament Aotearoa in the top three in New Zealand.


New Zealand Institute of Architects Cadimage Group Year 4 Prize, 1st Place

Top of my year for the first year of the Masters Program at the University of Auckland.


National Institute of Creative Arts and Industries Senior Scholar Award, 1st Place

Graduated with the highest grades from my degree program.


Vernon Brown Memorial Award, 1st Place

The best design project produced in the final year of the Bachelors of Architecture degree at The University of Auckland.


Warren Trust Prize, 1st Place

Awarded to the top three students of the final year of the Bachelors of Architecture degree at The University of Auckland.


NZIA Graphisoft Student Design Award, Award

Awarded to three of the top students of the year studying the Bachelors of Architecture degree at The University of Auckland.


University of Auckland Creative Writing Competition, 1st Place


Auckland University Press and Divine Muses emerging poets competition NEW VOICES, Honorable Mention

Received a High Commendation for my poem - "Red Light Diptych"


Areas of Specialization