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Holly Wells of BuckleyGrayYeoman: ‘Strong role models helped me grow’

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In the run-up to this year’s Women in Architecture Awards on 2 March, we asked architects to tell us about their career, inspiration and how to make the profession more welcoming to women

Holly wells

Where was your first job and where are you now?
My first job was for Aedas in Leeds, I’m now working for BuckleyGrayYeoman in London.

What inspired you to go into architecture?
I first became interested when I attended a public consultation for David Chipperfield’s Hepworth Gallery in 2004. The Yorkshire gathering was still to be convinced of his proposals for the new gallery in the town but his drawings were inspirational.

Is there anything you would have done differently in your career so far?
I have experienced a fairly straightforward route into the industry but I would have liked to work abroad.

What impact do you feel your gender has had on your career?
I’ve had strong role models throughout my career, which has helped with my development and never allowed me to doubt my abilities because of my gender.

What could be done to make the architecture profession more welcoming to women?
Scale down architectural education to a manageable timeframe and perhaps have an alternative route into the profession that encourages apprenticeships.

What advice would you give to any young woman who is about to start a career in architecture?
The same advice I would give a man: architecture becomes a lifestyle; it’s not just a job.

Who is your role model or mentor (alive or dead)?
In architecture Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara [of Grafton]. In life Victoria Wood.

What is the most exciting scheme you are currently working on?
Working for South Kensington Estates to create a new art gallery in Cromwell Place, South Kensington within buildings which once housed the studio or the celebrated artist Sir John Lavery. The design provides both public and private exhibition space.

Holly Wells, associate at BuckleyGrayYeoman, partner practice to the Women in Architecture programme

Cromwell place 1

Cromwell place 1

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