Director of dRMM, Sadie Morgan for the 2014 AJ Women in Architecture Awards
Sadie Morgan co-founded London-based dRMM architects in 1995. In 2013 she was elected president of the Architectural Association, the fourth woman to be made president in the AA’s 166-year history. Morgan also sat on the panels for the RIBA Awards, British Construction Industry Awards and Camden Design Awards. She was a judge at the Inside Festival in Singapore and speaker at the AJ Small Projects launch and inaugural Footprint Live event.
Why did you choose architecture? I started a collaborative practice believing no one should have to live, work or play in an environment that is not as good as it could be. I have learned that it is not only about advocating to put money into design, but about society making the right educational and political decisions first. Being an optimist, it seems easy to improve any environment if we really want to.
What is your design ethos? To build a team who create outstanding architecture which transforms and inspires those who use it. To think about the environment, culture and people when making places. To love what you do, and do it with dedication.
Which architects inspire you? My peers and collaborators. But historically, it has to be Lina Bo Bardi.
What is your advice to aspiring women architects? Learn to listen. Be generous to your peers and about your rivals. Get some perspective. Travel, read and look with a critical eye. Continue to develop your creative gifts.
Why do women leave architecture? Social infrastructure is not in place in the UK to support parents, especially women to return to work. Attitudes are changing, but politics are slow to catch up.
What is the biggest challenge facing women in architecture? The challenges are the same for men and women
What is the best defence against sexism? Don’t try to be a woman in a man’s world, be a woman of the world.
Place of study Kingston University and the Royal College of Art
Current projects New office building for Aviva; apartments for Stanhope; campus revamp for BSkyB; Hastings peer rebuild; a high-rise residential project in Norway; house and studio for artist Richard Woods; a new deaf academy in Exeter; residential building for the Battersea Power Station redevelopment; King’s Cross ArtHouse; residential scheme for the Elephant and Castle masterplan
Key clients Aviva; BSkyB; Stanhope; Hastings Peer Trust; Kruse Smith; Richard Woods; Vitsoe; London Design Festival; Battersea Power Station Redevelopment Company and Argent Group