I was born and grew up in Nottinghamshire with my parents and younger brother with most of my extended family close by. I flew the nest as soon as I finished my A-levels and have since lived in Newcastle, Hereford and now live in Bristol. I also had the opportunity to travel around Europe and South East Asia before lockdown. I really enjoy exploring new places and different experiences but also love to return home to see family and friends as often as I can!
What attracted you to being an Architect?
I have been interested in designing from a young age. My dad runs a bespoke kitchen design company and I’d often go to work with him where I remember using his design software to design my dream kitchen as a child. I was also quite academic in school, so I decided to pair up my academic and design skills and moved up north to study architecture at Northumbria university in Newcastle.
What attracted you to work for RRA?
After finishing my studies in Newcastle, I moved to Hereford, as I was offered a place on the design cohort at the future university, NMITE. After having lived in Hereford for a year whilst working at NMITE, I knew I wanted to stay for a while longer. I’d come across many of RRAs projects whilst living there and after applying to join the team I was very impressed by the amount of experience they said they could offer me and they weren’t wrong. I really enjoy the range and type of projects I have the opportunity to work on.
What did you like about lockdown?
I’ve liked lockdown because it’s given me the opportunity to reflect and focus on the next steps towards becoming an architect. I was applying for Masters courses when we first went into lockdown and decided to study at UWE, Bristol, where I started in September 2020. I was fortunate to be able to move to Bristol then and have been able to continue working part time at RRA. Working from home has made it much easier to work alongside studying which I’m really grateful for.
Did you take up any new hobbies in lockdown – will you carry on with them?
It’s not hobby as such, but I’ve actually become vegan during lockdown. I’ve always really enjoyed cooking and lockdown has been great for that, but I was sceptical about what I’d be able to cook when just eating plant based foods. However, I tried Veganuary as I thought lockdown was a good opportunity to try something new and I haven’t looked back. I’ve cooked and eaten some of the best meals since becoming vegan and feel great for doing it, as well knowing it’s better for animals and the environment too. It’s also great now lockdown is easing because Bristol has some of the best plant based restaurants!
What do you hope the world will learn from the pandemic?
I hope everyone continues to cherish the family and friends they have and look out for one another. I’m sure I’m not the only one, but I’ve spoken to many friends and family during lockdown that I would usually go without seeing for months or even years at a time. It’s been really nice for me to have the time to video call them more times than I would usually be able to see them.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I joined a dance class whilst I lived in Hereford, having danced a lot when I was younger. I got to perform at the Courtyard in Hereford and also represented Hereford in a dance performance that took place in the twin city of Vierzon, France, which were amazing experiences. More recently, I began paddle boarding in the summer and hope to do more of it this summer too.
What’s your proudest moment in your working life?
I would say since I’ve started my Masters. We began the year with a live group project and were assigned a real client, Coleford town council in the Forest of Dean. The project was to analyse the feasibility of a possible cycling and walking hub in the town centre. Not only did we come up with designs whilst working online as a group (who didn’t previously know each other) and communicated remotely with the council, but we were also tasked with doing community engagement to really understand the needs of the local community. Coleford town council were incredibly impressed with our work and are now using our proposals to gather funding to progress with the project. Fingers crossed!
Is that the same for your personal life? What are you most proud of doing or achieving in your life overall?
I would say my proudest moment has been living and volunteering in rural Cambodia for 3 months in summer 2017. I stayed in a small village along the Mekong river with a host family and other UK and Cambodian volunteers. We were mostly teaching English and analysing the success of previous volunteers, but I was also part of a small group who saw the opportunity to build sustainable shelters and playgrounds at various local schools. We collected lots of the local litter, mostly plastic bottles and old car tyres. We taught the students how to build a bike shelter from the plastic water bottles and playgrounds from old car tyres. This way they would be able to build more of these in the future even when we were no longer there. It was an incredibly rewarding experience.
If you could go anywhere tomorrow, where would you go and why?
Good question… I think I would return to Cambodia. My host family and the local community were very friendly and I made many other friends who came from different parts of Cambodia. I would love to go back and visit them again.
What do you hope people think about you?
Realistically I think my friends and family think I’m crazy about architecture, which I suppose is true. But I also hope people think of me as someone very passionate about whatever I’m doing and considerate towards others too.