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International Women's Day 2023

08.03.23

PTE's diverse, inclusive workplace community in our Diespeker Wharf studios is a defining feature of our practice. Here, everyone has a voice, and listening matters. This year, to celebrate International Women’s Day, we asked the women of PTE to recall defining moments in their careers, from their ‘first contact’ with architecture, through to their proudest or happiest moments (however small - or grand). Using these anonymised memories and lived experiences, the women of PTE have created illustrated displays throughout the studio for everyone in Diespeker to engage with.

What was your first contact with architecture?

“My Nana let me build a city in her front room using cardboard boxes…seeing it all come together inspired me to keep seeing my environment as something I could shape.”

What were your studies like?

“The course started 50/50 women/men but a lot of women dropped out. Every single tutor, visiting tutor was male, all points of reference were male, architecture books talked about ‘he’. I never challenged it and I regret that. Many of us women on the course talked about it but there was no route to question it – all the university department was male. It has changed, women are more empowered, my grown boys cannot believe the subconscious and conscious sexism that existed only 30, 40 years ago.”

What was your first job like?

“In my first job after university, I worked at a small practice run by a female architect. She told me off once for always being apologetic in the way I spoke and the way I emailed people. She told me I was in a professional role and I had a right to be speaking and to be heard. Over a decade later, I reread every email I write to make sure there are no errant "apologies".

Tell us about your proudest or happiest moment in your working life

"My proudest moment was sitting in a pirate ship in a playground looking back at the school I'd helped bring to reality."

If you could share one piece of advice with a teenage girl studying architecture, what would it be?

“Explore, observe, and ask what is involved in the process of delivering an architectural project, joy is not only in the final outcome but in the everyday work, collaborations, challenges and new skills to develop an idea, that is where the real joy is.”

Who is your strongest female influence?

“It is difficult to mention only one female influence, I find a new one every day! I feel inspired by my mum, sister, niece, colleagues, friends, neighbours, the happy old lady riding a bike faster than me, the mum running with a pram on the park, the lady driving the city bus, the cleaning lady that says good morning every day on the staircase, the girl leaving in poor conditions that won the mathematics prize, the female astronauts that have worked in the international space station, any female professional involved in construction. I guess any person that inspires your day is a role model!”

Every 'unit' will be someone's home
Every 'unit' will be someone's home Diespeker Wharf
38 Graham Street
London N1 8JX

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© Pollard Thomas Edwards

Every 'unit' will be someone's home