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WOMEN IN PRACTICE

Kerrie Buckley of SimpsonHaugh: ‘Women need to speak up and stop being perfectionists’

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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

Where was your first job and where are you now?
I’ve been working for SimpsonHaugh in its Manchester studio since completing my Part 2 in 2005.

What inspired you to go into architecture?
The idea that I could make a visible difference to the world we live in and shape its future while being able to develop my passion for design.

Is there anything you would have done differently in your career so far?
Taken the opportunity to work on more projects. Although my experience working on large, complex, high-profile residential schemes has been extremely valuable and rewarding, I feel my experience of the profession is not as broad as I’d like it to be. The variety within architecture is one of its great attributes and I’d like to experience this to the full.

There is a confidence gap between men and women

What impact do you feel your gender has had on your career?
Self-doubt and lack of confidence. Not all women exhibit this trait, however I do feel there is a confidence gap between men and women. Self-doubt can be detrimental when working in a male-dominated profession and has affected me on a number of occasions.

What could be done to make the architecture profession more welcoming to women?
Stop the culture of working long hours and provide more flexible working arrangements. Architecture historically does not support part-time work, career breaks and a good work/life balance. This puts some women off, especially if they know they want to start a family.

What advice would you give to a young woman about to start a career in architecture?
Make sure you have a passion for it. A career in architecture is tough so you need to enjoy it. Also speak up and stop being a perfectionist.

A career in architecture is tough so you need to enjoy it

Who is your role model or mentor?
My role model comes from the world of sport – an area of my life I have great enthusiasm for. Multiple medalist Jessica Ennis-Hill is the epitome of hard work, dedication and has a strong desire to be the best version of herself she can possibly be. Her career in athletics has been very inspiring and actually led me into taking up athletics a few years ago at the age of 32.

What is the most exciting scheme you are currently working on?
I’ve just finished working on Circus West Village at Battersea Power Station – the largest project SimpsonHaugh has worked on. It is exciting to have worked on such a high-profile site, with our building being the catalyst for the creation of a new self-sustaining urban village and vibrant community.

Kerrie Buckley, associate partner at SimpsonHaugh, partner practice to the Women in Architecture programme

Circus West Village at Battersea Power Station

Circus West Village at Battersea Power Station

Circus West Village at Battersea Power Station

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