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Sarah Wigglesworth

Women in practice profile: Director, Sarah Wigglesworth Architects

WHY YOU BECAME AN ARCHITECT Thought it suited my aptitudes

FIRST PROJECT Old people’s home in Hornsey

SECTORS YOU WORK IN Education, housing, cultural, public realm and infrastructure

DESIGN ETHOS Proposing a sustainable future for everyday life, and theorising it

BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION Sexist stereotypes (our brains are not spatial, feminists are humourless, feminists hate men, blah blah blah)

ADVICE TO ASPIRING FEMALE ARCHITECTS Stick together

WHY WOMEN LEAVE The construction industry’s culture, long hours and low pay, the monoculture

WHAT WOULD MAKE THEM STAY? Higher salaries

HOW TO MAKE IT WORK Join forces with other women and carve your own niche. Don’t pander to expectation: be yourself. Make a difference

CURRENT CHALLENGE Hanging onto your values while all around don’t share them, and the male networking culture

ON SEXISM During my year out, the discussions were about the unacceptability of girly calendars in the site hut. Now sexism has gone underground and manifests more subtly

BEST DEFENCE AGAINST SEXISM Raise awareness. Tell people quietly but firmly when they are being sexist: they are probably not aware of it

INSPIRATION Denise Scott-Brown for her bravery and dignity; Lina Bo Bardi for her design work; Anne Lacaton for her championing of the everyday; Germaine Greer for being the public voice of feminism

BEST ADVICE EVER RECEIVED Knowledge is power

Place of study University of Cambridge
Current projects Housing, primary school, competitions for various sectors (housing, cultural, public realm and community)
Featured project Sandal Magna Community Primary School
Client Wakefield Council
Completed January 2011
Budget £5.25 million
£/sqm £2,800
www.swarch.co.uk

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