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Teresa Borsuk crowned Woman Architect of the Year 2015


Pollard Thomas Edward senior partner Teresa Borsuk has won this year’s Woman Architect of the Year Award

Borsuk was recognised for her ‘remarkable’ contribution to improving equality within her practice. Through her leadership, the number of women on the AJ100 firm’s staff has grown to more than 50 per cent.

Judges felt the support she gives to women in her firm made her a role model for future generations.

Women in Architecture (WIA) judge Moira Gemmill, said: ‘This was the category which took the longest to conclude but we have a worthy winner. She has produced some really great work – and lots of it. I’m amazed at the output. Under her leadership in the practice the staff gender split is 50:50 and that is pretty remarkable in any architecture practice anywhere.’

While fellow judge and 2014 Emerging Woman Architect of the Year finalist Daisy Froud, added: ‘It’s important we recognise the voices that are not so well heard, the people who do not necessarily put themselves forward or seek lots of PR, to make sure that these are voices that we do hear from because often they are doing incredibly inspiring work.

‘Like Teresa they are just getting on with it in a not very public way.’

She was chosen ahead of Allies and Morrison’s Joanna Bacon, Simpson Haugh and Partners co-founder Rachel Haugh, Emre Arolat Architects partner Gonca Pasolar, Carme Pinos of Estudio Carme Pinos, Foster + Partners Cristina Segni, and Wright & Wright Partner Clare Wright.

Borsuk joined Pollard Thomas Edwards in 1984 and was made a senior partner last year as the firm celebrated its 40th anniversary.

She has more than 30 years’ experience in housing, mixed-use and regeneration sectors, and has designed and delivered projects ranging from major developments to infill sites and refurbishments.

In 2014 Borsuk completed a £14 million, 76-home residential project in Saffron Walden and a scheme of four new six to seven-storey apartment blocks in Cambridge. 

She picked up the prestigious award at a ceremony held at London’s Claridge’s today (27 February).

Previous winners of the accolade have been Francine Houben in 2014, Alison Brooks in 2013, and joint winners Michal Cohen and Cindy Walters in 2012.

The awards ceremony to celebrate the ROCA-sponsored AJ Women in Architecture campaign, which is now in its fourth year, also included keynote speeches from RIBA Gold Medal winner Sheila O’Donnell and Phyllis Lambert.


Teresa Borsuk

Studied The Bartlett, University College, London and a scholarship year at the University of Kansas, USA
First practice
First project
Conversion of Christie’s, Amsterdam
Current projects
Mixed-use scheme in Walthamstow; 208 homes and mill conversion in Cambridge; 240 new-build homes in Oxford; and new homes on brownfield site on City Road basin, Islington, London
Current clients
Private developers, landowners, registered housing providers and local authorities
Favourite architects
Eileen Grey, Aino Aalto and Marion Mahoney Griffin
Favourite building
Peter Zumthor’s Thermal Spa, Vals

Why architecture?
When I was about eight my parents decided to move home. I was intrigued by the estate agent’s descriptions and the reality - visiting people’s homes and seeing how space was used. That, combined with making model homes out of odds and ends from my father’s garage and a passion for Lego made me curious about the profession. A seed was sown – and it became a perfect fit - the blend of practice and theory, the balance between thinking and making, the mix of indoors and outdoors, the culture of the profession, and the wide spectrum of people you meet and work with. The more I discovered, the more I wanted to do it.

Biggest challenge facing women in architecture
Being able to manage it all.

Advice to aspiring female architects
Believe in yourself. If you have a career break, come back with your foot hard on the pedal.



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