words Matisse Chambers
Royston Park café is located on the corner of Battams Road and Sixth Avenue. You’ll find a bright, red coffee machine right as you enter and regular customer, Steven Lipapis enjoying his favourite meal on the menu, the baked eggs. Lipapis lives a short ten-minute walk away, and like many of the residents, he’s lived in the area his entire life. His parents bought their family home when Lipapis was born, 22 years ago. He shares a tight bond with not only his parents and older sister, but their neighbours as well. “Close? We’re all in each other’s back pockets…I bought my first car from our neighbours across the road, and Bev and Pete who live next door come over Sunday mornings for coffee, we are very lucky in that sense.”
A few streets down the road, you can catch part of the linear park trail alongside the River Torrens, where Lipapis spent many days as a kid feeding the ducks, playing in the puddles, and running up and down the steps “I could only imagine how many times I ran up and down those steps, it’s one of my favourite memories from this area”. A bit less local, 160 km northwest of Adelaide lies Wallaroo, an annual destination for the Lipapis family, keeping up the 30-year-old tradition. However, without the migration of his Greek grandparents, Steven wouldn’t have these fond memories and traditions.
“My parents have always said to both my sister and I, follow what our passion is, because they, sort of, didn’t get that chance”. Having been raised with this encouragement, Lipapis knew he wouldn’t settle for anything less than his true passion. His search for his dream career begun during his early days at Adelaide High School, where he contemplated being a plastic surgeon, specialising in skin graphing of burn patients. This quickly changed as soon as he realised biology and mathematics were a prerequisite to pursue such a career. He then went on to complete a week’s worth of work experience in year nine, which for many is taken as a bludge from school. For Lipapis, however, it was the defining moment of discovering his true passion. “I organised to work for an architecture firm that did an extension at Adelaide High and then from that week it really solidified
that yes, this is what I want to do”.
It was no surprise that Lipapis found his passion within a creative field, developing his artistic flare from his father—business owner and hairdresser. Another thing his parents gave him, a strong work
ethic, “After that work experience in year nine, it gave me motivation to work really hard; get the ATAR I needed for admission into the course. I wanted to do the right things and give myself the best chance”. And that’s exactly what he did.
Having graduated from his three-year-long bachelor’s degree in architecture at the University of South Australia, Lipapis is only 6 months shy of completing the rigorous mater’s qualification. Yet, still after that, it will take him another eight years to fulfil his dream of becoming a registered architect. “During first year, a lot of people psych you out, saying there’s no jobs and that it’s such a hard degree, but you have to be really proactive and after third year, I highly recommend going out and doing work experience, use your connections, and if you put yourself out there, then you’re giving yourself the absolute best chance to succeed”.
Lipapis’ advice comes from experience, seeking an internship toward the end of his third year at Steve Burges Design. He started off working one day a week and then, with his stomach in knots and sweaty palms, asked his boss if he’d be willing to take him on as a casual employee. Without a reason to say no, you’ll now find Lipapis at their Kent Town office two days a week, working as a drafter. He has even been able to bring in his own sourced clients to the business and is gaining skills in a real-world environment.
When Lipapis reflects on his journey so far, the thing that sticks out the most, from the long hours spent in concrete walls of the Kaurna building, is his classmates. “It’s definitely the people, we have such a fun and cool dynamic and we all genuinely want to help each other out.”
Apart from UniSA’s City West campus, Lipapis also has a presence on Instagram, where he has created his own architectural portfolio through the name steventhomas.arch. It showcases his own drawings, models, inspiration, photography, and love for historical, period, and residential architecture within a monochrome theme, which Lipapis claims is “very him”.
In 2022, Lipapis will be completing his final year in his maters of architecture. He’s excited to begin his career within the field, and use the skills and knowledge gained through UniSA to excel and create within Adelaide as a future architect. You’ll find Lipapis around UniSA’s City West campus “taking opportunities, learning from them and thriving in them”.
Find Steven Lipapis on Instagram: