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Emerging Woman Architect of the Year shortlist: Bev Dockray

Bev Dockray is a director at Coppin Dockray Architects

After leaving Niall McLaughlin Architects where she was an associate, Bev Dockray founded Coppin Dockray Architects with the intention of exploring how women can create a greater work-life balance after having children. Dockray was project architect on the RIBA Award-winning Somerville College. Her current projects include the refurbishment of a flat in Lubetkin’s Highpoint.

Why did you become an architect?

I have always been interested in building and making. As a child, parts of our house were always a building site. My father did the work himself and was often called upon by friends to demolish chimneys, fit out attics and install heating. I always wanted to be around at these weekend events. From a young age, growing up in a post-industrial northern landscape, I wanted to become an architect, with the potential to change lives for the better.

What is your design ethos?

Each design project is an opportunity for learning, exploration and enjoyment. As architects we create one-off designs, which are particular to a set of circumstances. It is a serious task. Buildings are required to last decades, sometimes much longer, however designing an environment for living in is an opportunity to bring joy and wellbeing to the people who use the buildings. I prefer a collaborative approach: good design comes about through the building of good relationships.

What is your advice to aspiring female architects?

Architecture is a good career for both men and women. To be a good architect a broad range of skills are required. While you need to be an imaginative designer, you also need to have a certain adeptness which enables you to forge a way forward and turn your ideas into reality. These skills are in no way gender-specific.

The Architecture Centre in Hull

The Architecture Centre in Hull

Place of study The University of Liverpool (Part 1, 1992-1995), The Bartlett, University College London (Part 2, 1998-2000), RIBA Northwest 2001 (Part 3)
Current projects Refurbishment and extension of a home in Dorset designed by Philip Dowson and David Levitt (1963); refurbishment of a small studio in Wiltshire designed by Alison and Peter Smithson (1972); refurbishment of a flat in Highpoint II, London, by Berthold Lubetkin (1935); an extension to a Victorian house in north London
Clients All private clients

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