Livingstone Studio

Kristina Soggee , 12 June 2024

When Kristina Soggee’s long-time employer closed up shop and retired in 2023, it left her at a crossroads. Unwilling to say goodbye to the diverse work, charming location and regional community she loved, she decided to establish her own practice. One year in, Kristina shares some of the challenges, joys and ambitions of her small regional studio.

Name of firm: Livingstone Studio
Size: 1 x full time, 1 x part-time contractor

Livingstone Studio is based on Ngadjuri Country, and practises across many others. We acknowledge and pay respect to the past, present and future traditional custodians and elders of this nation and the continuation of cultural, spiritual and educational practices of Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander peoples.

When was the practice established and what were its early ambitions? How has the practice evolved over time?

I established the practice in Clare in the mid-north of South Australia in June 2023. I sought to continue doing what I love – sharing my passion with the regional community I call home. We aim to provide them with beautiful, liveable built forms that enhance our region and enrich what it offers across the commercial, hospitality and residential sectors. Additionally, we are committed to encouraging sustainable development. This mission remains at the core of the practice today.

What is the practice philosophy?

Grounded with practical, liveable spaces, we encompass sustainability and have a strong focus on clients and community.

Can you tell us about a key project or business initiative that provided a turning point in the life of the practice?

When my longstanding employer, Greg Pulford, decided to retire and close his practice, his decision left me at a crossroads. Although I had never aspired to own a practice, the charm of life in the Clare Valley and the opportunity to work on diverse projects across multiple disciplines inspired me to establish this practice.

While there is no single project that stands out, several projects have been pivotal in shaping the life and growth of the practice. These include Taylors Wines, Watervale Hotel, Alkina Wines, Pikes Wines and several residential projects.

  • Taylors Wines, Photos: Anson Smart

What have been the biggest challenges and successes in recent years?

A personal challenge and success has been funding and establishing a business on my own. It’s about having the confidence to back myself and my passion. For the business, it’s balancing clients’ expectations and budget.

What are some of the most important business lessons you have learned?

Be realistic, authentic and honest. Balance risk – know which jobs are too far beyond your current capabilities and don’t be afraid to turn them down. At the same time, make sure you embrace projects that will push your abilities to achieve new and better things.

At the centre of what we do is our clients. We ensure that a strong foundation is formed with them, our consultants and trades so that the best outcome for the client can be achieved.

The COVID years have proved very challenging, with supply chain issues and additional stresses. Were there any positive changes that you have taken forward?

It has made clients and professional development more accessible through the use of technology – which, as a regional practice, is incredibly beneficial. There has also been a significant shift in population from urban areas, and increase in local travel.  This has shown an increase in projects across the disciplines I work on.

  • Alkina Wines, Photos: Andy Ellis

What are the biggest issues involved in running the practice in 2024?

The fluctuating costs due to recent world events, and lack of trades and consultants rooted in the regional housing shortage. Particularly in a regional setting, we also need to manage the public’s understanding and value in our profession.

How has technology impacted on how you conduct business?

The ability to work remotely and communicate with clients over video has been extremely beneficial. Being a regional practice, this makes us more accessible to our clients, consultants and trades.

Being able to show a 3D model of a project has also enhanced how we are able to communicate and translate designs to clients.

How do you market your practice?

Being a regional practice, the local paper is still read by many in the community, so I use this resource. We also utilise social media on a number of platforms. We focus on the practice being approachable and honest – showing not just projects, but the process. Finally, word of mouth, and existing built projects play a significant role for the company.


  • Pikes Wines / Slate, Photos: DB Digital

What are the ambitions for the practice?

I aim to become a specialist in wineries/cellar doors and hospitality. However, I will also still work on residential projects with a focus on sustainable design, particularly materials such as Hempcrete and structural straw bale.

You recently featured as a SA Woman to Watch. What did this nomination mean for you?

The recent nomination provides recognition for the passion and years I’ve dedicated to my profession. It also serves as an inspiration for other women in our region and profession, hopefully motivating them and me to continue making a positive impact in our field and beyond.

Where do you see the business in the next five years?

I established Livingstone Studio so I can continue sharing my passion with the community, helping it evolve and develop in a positive way for both it and the environment.  The dream is for this to continue for not just five years, but for many more beyond that.

If you had one piece of advice for someone starting out, what would it be?

Take the jump – don’t ever be afraid to try, to make mistakes or ask questions. Get experience both in an office and on-site doing construction.


How long have you been a member of the ACA?

Since late 2023 (a few months into having established the company)

What do you see are the main benefits of membership?

Social network – particularly as a regional architect/practice we are detached from the architectural community and my peers. The ACA helps me connect.

CPD – the membership provides varied and relevant opportunities for CPD.

Finally, the access to professional support and information.

What future initiatives would you like to see the ACA pursue?

Advocacy, particularly for the profession, but also development of architecture in a sustainable manner.

  • Clare Oval, Photo: Greg Pulford