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Eva Jiricna: Women should take risks in architecture

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Hard work is key to success, said Eva Jiřičná, Alison Brooks, and Olga Felip, at a winners’ talk for the 2013 AJ Women in Architecture Awards

Winner of the 2013 Jane Drew Prize, Jiřičná shared insights into her career which spans over 50 years, including with her early work on the design and construction of Brighton Marina, to designing interiors for the Joseph chain of stores and Roger’s Lloyd’s Building.

Jiřičná is also famous for her steel and glass staircases and her innovative use of materials.

Speaking at the Zaha Hadid-designed ROCA London Gallery, Jiřičná said all this wouldn’t have been possible without ‘the people who help me in my practice’ and without taking risks.

Despite saying she ‘never wanted to be an architect’, Jiřičná now can’t find anything in life that doesn’t concern architecture’.

Jiřičná said: ‘I didn’t really get architecture at first. But then there was something that changed in my brain. It was called love – an affection. This made it worth all the late nights and the hard work.’

Brooks, winner of Woman Architect of the Year also stressed the importance of taking risks, working hard, and staying ‘true to your values’.

Sharing eight points on how to start a practice, Brooks told the audience to experiment, enter competitions and treat their current practice ‘as if it is your own’.  

Brooks also said it’s important to ‘be yourself’, adding: ‘If you stay true to your values then architecture doesn’t seem so much of a struggle.’

Emerging Woman Architect of the Year Olga Felip spoke of her journey from creating pop-up interventions in Girona, Spain to major commissions for museums and art galleries. Felip said: ‘The best things are the successes that you don’t expect’.

Felip also expressed her gratitude for the receiving the award, which she said has given her practice more exposure and has led to a series of new commissions.

  • AJ Women in Architecture is sponsored by Roca and Place Careers


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