The associate architect on making the right choices, working collaboratively, the importance of cheese and the first book she ever read

Gemma Pont_Associate at CPMG Architects

Gemma Pont has been an associate at CPMG Architects since 2019

Why did you choose construction as a career?

I don’t think I can say I have always wanted to be an architect. But what I have always known is that I was drawn into what appeared as two different directions – art and technology.

In all honesty, when the time came for me to choose what to do, architecture was my choice because it seemed to combine the best of both worlds. I knew it was the right choice very quickly.

What are you most proud of in your career to date?

The choices I have made. At different moments of my career, I have had to take a risk. For those who know me, this is not something I am comfortable doing. However, there are times you can’t control everything. You just know it’s the right thing to do.

What has been the biggest challenge of your career to date?

Insecurities. Being able to believe you can do it and translate it to the people around you.

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

The industry has many challenges. One thing I am working very hard to convey to the team I work with – and the people that we work for – is the need to overcome the idea that to be a good architect and to succeed, you have to work to exhaustion. I believe it is possible to become a successful architect without impacting your mental health in the process, but the change needs to be done at all levels.

What is the most helpful advice that you have been given?

It is not about the mistakes you make, but how you resolve them.

Name your favourite building in the world?

I don’t think I have a favourite building. I am however visiting old-time favourites again and again when I go back to Barcelona. These include Barcelona pavilion by Mies van der Rohe and the Joan Miro Foundation by Josep Lluis Sert.

Which famous building do you most dislike?

None come to mind now, although I’m sure there are plenty that I don’t think make a positive contribution to architecture or their surroundings.


Source: Historic England Archive / John Laing Photographic Collection

Queen Elizabeth II visiting the Barbican estate in 1972

Which famous building do you wish you had worked on?

The Barbican. I keep walking around it on my way to work and it still fascinates me the same as the first day I saw it. We are currently looking at a scheme in close proximity, which would be a dream project.

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

Architects come in many shapes and forms; find your own way.

Who do you most admire in the construction industry?

I admire the people who work in a collaborative manner, with the intent to improve themselves and enjoy what they do.

What is it like being you (and doing your job)?

I always say there is this perception that an architect should be sat at a desk and drawing beautiful projects. I don’t draw that much these days, but I take pleasure seeing teams thriving through projects, being able to help them and making sure that what we do in the office is of high quality – something we can all be proud of.

Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona

Source: Pere Pratdesaba

A perennial favourite: Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona

Do you have a life philosophy?


What do you think your best quality is?

I am an easy-going person and I’d like to think people enjoy working with me.

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

I don’t like feeling I’ve let people down and I dislike it when I feel bad as a result. I need to remind myself that every action is aimed at improving a situation and if people play on my conscience then that it is their problem not mine.

Name three things that you like

Books, radio and food.

Tell us about a secret skill that we don’t know you have

I want to believe that I am a good cook.

What is your most prized possession?

My mum still keeps the first book I ever read; the story of a camel that became tired of his hometown and travels the world looking for the perfect place. I don’t think I have to tell you how the book ends.

It’s incredible how I still remember that book. I have already bought it for my god-daughter’s birthday. I hope it also has a positive impact on her.

Early bird or night owl?

Without doubt, early bird. I believe you can get so much more done in the mornings!

What is your favourite food?

Cheese, I can’t live without it!

What would your superpower be?

I have never really thought about this. Teleportation, maybe. I like the idea of travelling hassle free and searching the world for the perfect place.