The co-founder of Urban Symbiotics has always been interested in how spaces shape people’s emotions

stephanie edwards

What has been your biggest career challenge to date?

The most challenging, rewarding and fun has been to build and grow my own company, Urban Symbiotics, together with the other co-founders. It is something we are still experiencing…

If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?

For the true value of engagement to be fully acknowledged by everyone in the industry. It would be great if the insight from engagement was just as important as design.

Why did you choose construction as a career?

I didn’t at first. I was initially interested in art, but I was always intrigued by people and consequently how spaces shaped people’s emotions, thoughts feelings and lives. So I decided to study architecture, specialising in urban design.

What have you worked on that you’re most proud of?

Creating a diverse community panel to keep a regeneration framework alive – a dynamic plan that enabled our work as designers to be meaningfully taken forward by a variety of authors.

Most helpful advice you were given?

To “think and do” at the same time. It sounds simple, but I was given this advice while at the AA – which helped me massively. If only I had the time now to just think!


Tadao Ando’s Church of the Light in Japan, a building beautiful in its simplicity

What is your favourite building in the world?

Tadao Ando’s Church of the Light and Church on the Water in Japan, buildings that are beautiful in their simplicity. They play on shadow and light while responding to nature, its changing seasons and our need as a people to connect with a higher purpose.

What single piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out in your profession?

To constantly challenge how things are done and to keep solving creatively.

Who do you most admire in the construction industry?

So many people – there are too many to mention. I particularly admire those who are challenging the status quo of our industry.

What famous building do you wish you had worked on?

The Barbican. Its interiors, apartments, programme, its wayfinding…

What is it like being you?

Ha what an interesting question! I constantly question everything. It can be interesting, but also tiring.

What do you think your best quality is?

My ability to be insanely positive.

What trait do you most dislike in yourself? And in other people?

Doubting unnecessarily.

Do you have a life philosophy?

To celebrate each moment even if it is just a great conversation… sometimes you just have to enjoy life when it is good.

Name three things that you like

A really good heartfelt laugh that draws you to tears, a forest walk and a great conversation.

What is a secret skill we don’t know that you have?

I can play the piano up to grade 8 – maybe that’s not so secret? It surprises me sometimes.

What is your most prized possession?

I don’t have a particular prized possession.

Early bird or night owl?

Night owl.

What’s your favourite food?

Chicken roti, it’s the most delicious dish and from my mother’s country – Trinidad and Tobago.

What would your superpower be?

It used to be teleportation, but over the past nine months I have now been able to appreciate the value of a long commute.

Stephanie Edwards is a co-founder of Urban Symbiotics