Yasmin Al-Ani Spence tells Building about the Chrysler building in New York, Bob the Builder and Villa Tugendhat in Brno
What has been your biggest career challenge to date?
Every project is a challenge … the biggest challenge for me is managing my family and my work
If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?
More flexibility in working hours and a few more open minds
Why did you choose construction as a career?
I knew early on that I was dyslexic so always felt more comfortable in creative subjects. Having been brought up in the Middle East and Austria also had a big impact on my interest in architecture
What have you worked on that you’re most proud of?
I am proud of all the projects and of the fundamental human relationships that are formed through working on them
Most helpful advice you were given?
Always be bigger than the problem
What’s your favourite building in the world?
That’s a difficult one as attitudes always change, but a constant favourite is the Chrysler building in New York
What single piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out in your profession?
At the end of the day architecture is about people. Always keep in mind that while made from brick and mortar, these buildings are the places that shape our lives
Who do you most admire in the construction industry?
Bob the Builder
What famous building do you wish you’d worked on?
Villa Tugendhat by Mies Van Der Rohe is way ahead of its time and well worth a visit.
Which famous building do you most dislike?
There are lots! The building on the corner of Shaftesbury Avenue and Piccadilly circus was one the first I particularly disliked when I first arrived in London.
What’s it like being you?
What do you think your best quality is?
I‘d like to think that I am fairly cheerful person
Do you have a life philosophy?
Always treat others as you wish to be treated
Name three things that you like
If things and not people, then … a glass of wine, my car and smiling
What’s a secret skill we don’t know you have?
I couldn’t possibly tell you that
What’s your most prized possession?
Early bird or night owl?
I am a midday kind of person
What’s your favourite food?
Rye bread …
What would your superpower be?
To be able to mute people