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Emerging Woman Architect of the Year shortlist: Angela Dapper

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Associate at Denton Corker Marshall, Angela Dapper for the 2014 AJ Women in Architecture Awards

Angela Dapper began working at Denton Corker Marshall in 2004 and has since been promoted to associate. She has been leading the design of the Stonehenge Visitor Centre since it began in January 2009. During the five years she was working on the scheme, Dapper gave birth to her first child. The challenging project, which completed in December, was subject to a number of delays and stop-start issues relating to the removal of government funding and a hunt for private sponsors, which fell to her to manage.

The recently completed Stonehenge Visitor Centre

The recently completed Stonehenge Visitor Centre

Why did you choose architecture? I have always had an interest in the built environment, making spaces and making places. Architects have the ability to pull all of these elements together.

What is your design ethos? Simplicity is key for design. The simpler the design, the more clarity it holds. Most of my work is undoing the complexities of construction to create a simple aesthetic.

Which architects inspire you? Zaha Hadid, John Pawson, Carmody Groarke, Studio Weave and Pernilla & Asif.

What is your advice to aspiring female architects? You will always be good at something you enjoy. There are so many offices that are supportive of women in architecture - there is no need to stay in an environment where you are made to feel uncomfortable for any reason.

Why do women leave the profession? It is unfortunate to see the number of female architects reduce as they become more senior. The hours are sometimes long and unsociable, particularly when combined with raising a family. I see so much talent, not to mention years of education, not being utilised as mothers remain at home, unable to join the workforce on the terms that they are looking for. Usually it is about pay, flexibility, overall hours, as well as the cost of childcare.

What is the biggest challenge facing women in architecture today? Work/life balance is definitely a key challenge facing a number of my peers, myself included, particularly those with a family. It is hard work being both a mother and an architect, but I find it extremely rewarding. Occasionally my hours or my role as a mother (or both) are compromised. Luckily, I have a supportive partner and a supportive practice.

The recently completed Stonehenge Visitor Centre

The recently completed Stonehenge Visitor Centre

CV

Place of study University of Adelaide, Architectural Association and London Metropolitan University

Current projects Stonehenge Visitor Centre and the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Hyde Park

Clients English Heritage and the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group

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