The firm’s associate and sustainability lead on her mission to help reduce the industry’s impact on the environment, the importance of challenging the status quo one step at a time and her love of art galleries and pizza
Why did you choose construction as a career?
The mix of creative and technical problem solving that a career in architecture offers. I love design and figuring out how things are made. Buildings have such a fundamental impact on our daily lives and wellbeing.
What are you most proud of in your career to date?
I’m really proud of the research that Orms is doing as a practice, particularly around material passports and being able to contribute to some of the great industry initiatives and collaborations that are happening at the moment.
It has been fantastic to be able to share the knowledge we have built up as a practice both as part of the embodied carbon task group developing the UK’s net zero building standard and the forthcoming LETI non-domestic retrofit guide.
What has been the biggest challenge of your career to date?
The industry is moving quickly to upskill around different aspects of environmental design and reduce the built environment’s impact on the climate. Keeping up to date with the guidance is a challenge – there are so many interesting areas of research, and choosing where to spend your time can be difficult.
If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?
Transparency around what did not go well, so we can learn from each other. This is improving but we need more collaboration to learn from each other and move forward at pace.
And to make sure that sustainability is fully integrated into the decision-making process of projects from the start. I think sometimes it is still considered an add-on or separate exercise.
We need to make informed choices that are cognisant of their impact on the climate throughout the entire design process from conception to completion, so that “sustainable” thinking is fully integrated.
What is the most helpful advice that you have been given?
I have been lucky enough to have some great mentors throughout my career who have given me the tools to find my own pathway and purpose. I think the advice I keep coming back to is to take it one step at a time. I try not to get overwhelmed by thinking too far ahead.
Name your favourite building in the world?
I admire lots of different buildings for different reasons – I’ve been lucky enough to travel quite a bit and, when I was answering this question, I realised that most of the buildings that came to mind are art galleries.
For example, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art outside Copenhagen is one that left a lasting impression. The way the space connects to its context and blurs the boundary with nature, it creates this kind of calm escape where you just want to pause and be in the present.
Which famous building do you wish you had worked on?
Sydney Opera House – it’s just so iconic.
What single piece of advice would you give to someone starting out in your profession?
Be open to every opportunity.
Who do you most admire in the construction industry?
Anyone who is willing to challenge the status quo and use their voice and actions to drive real change.
What is it like being you (and doing your job)?
Great (and exhausting). It’s wonderful to be passionate about what you do, and the job is really varied. Equally it can be stressful because there is just so much to be done and progress can be slow.
Do you have a life philosophy?
Actions speak louder than words.
What do you think your best quality is?
I am told it’s my patience! I like to think I can find positives in most situations.
Early bird or night owl?
A bit of both.
What is your favourite food?
What would your superpower be?
My first thought was to say the ability to reverse climate change, but that alone wouldn’t actually solve the problem. So maybe the power of persuasion to help fight climate change as well.