Young architect and passionate environmentalist Jennifer Bates has died in an accident in Newcastle.

The 36-year-old architect, trained at the University of Newcastle, was recently promoted to senior project manager of NSW Public Works department's Newcastle office and was a respected figure among the Newcastle architecture community.

Describing Jennifer as ‘a really honest, beautiful soul’, Mr Jordi Bates, her husband, said she stood for what she believed in. A tireless environmentalist, Jennifer was the co-ordinator of the Newcastle chapter of Beyond Zero Emissions – an organisation committed to lowering greenhouse gases. She was also overseeing the installation of solar panels at Public Works' Bull Street office.

Jennifer completed her architecture undergraduate and masters degree at the University of Newcastle and worked at Suters Architects for two years.

On the professional front, Jennifer had a bright future ahead of her, having won the state government's Women in Building Award only a few years ago. Her deep involvement in environmental causes, passion for solar energy and volunteering for international development projects won the admiration of her peers.

Public Works Hunter director Drew Varnum added that the loss would leave a ‘big hole’ in the community.