AT 38 years of age Setoki Tuiteci is probably one of the youngest ever architects elected to be the president of the Fiji Association of Architects.
Tuiteci had just recently been elected into this position earlier this year and is trying his best to ensure that architects in Fiji are abreast with recent developments in the world of architecture. That is, also on top of the workload and everyday challenges he faces at his work place.
"It was an honour and privilege however the challenge was trying to fit this role in with the ever increasing load of projects that was coming in to our office at VITIA Architects."
It has been a long and arduous journey for this Yasawa man who first fell in love with the balanced proportions and harmonious architectural designs as well as the finer details of buttress and stresses of engineering to complete a building.
"As a student of Marist Brothers' High School my interest was limited to my love for technical drawing which I developed well when I started taking up technical drawing from Form Three. This materialised more as I moved to the Fiji Institute of Technology," Tuiteci says.
He obtained an ordinary diploma in construction studies from FIT in 1993 before furthering his studies to complete a diploma in architectural technology in 1996, also at the then FIT. He then completed his bachelor of architecture at the University of South Australia in 2002 when he was 28.
After finally registered as an architect two years ago at the age of 36, Tuiteci has now assumed the leadership role, something that is not new to him.
Tuiteci has set out a vision which he sincerely believes will ensure the professional development of his fellow architects and above all, set new targets that will see Fiji's architectural profession become one of the creative and possibly, achieve international renown.
"The vision was more to work with the committee as a team on improving the running of the architects awards which has not happened for the last three years which meant adopting new resolutions and changes to our constitution and awards format setup," Tuiteci says.
He also acknowledged there are several challenges some of his colleagues do face in their daily work and interaction with the community at large.
"I see the greatest challenges for architects as first, the lack of understanding in some areas of the community on the scope of services of an architect and also the budget constraints that are faced in terms of fulfilling high quality projects in Fiji as compared to architecture and design in other countries," he says.
And he is about to test this challenge himself as he is one of the principal architects working on the refurbishment project of the nation's sporting icon — the National Stadium. The multi-million dollar 2012 National Stadium Refurbishment works is a joint venture between Tuiteci's firm VITIA Architects and Clearview Architects.
The work saw him help in carrying out feasibility studies and carrying out concept design competitions and putting together proposals to win the design tender.
And he had honed this through other works like designing residential buildings as well as working on various internal fitout works for corporate companies, a resort and regional organisations.