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Teresa Serrano of PTE: ‘I was shocked to see gender discrimination in the industry’

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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?
My first job was in Tenerife, designing a visitor centre for the Icod Drago – a 1,000 year-old tree. Now I live and work in London where I had the opportunity to work on projects like the new Terminal at Heathrow, the urban regeneration of Tottenham and high-rise buildings in central London.

What inspired you to go into architecture?
It came naturally. I was interested in both arts and technology. As a child I spent long hours playing with and designing dollshouses.

Is there anything you would have done differently in your career so far?
When I was living in Madrid I spent several months having two jobs, spending mornings working at a university, and afternoons and evenings in an architectural practice working on competitions. That was too much.

What impact do you feel your gender has had on your career?
After leaving university I was shocked to see gender discrimination in the industry, I thought that was something from the past. Many women regularly experience subtle sexism. Sometimes we think ignoring it is better. But it is important to talk about it.

What could be done to make the architecture profession more welcoming to women?
Avoid stereotypes in the workplace, and accept that both women and men can perform equally any task they intend to carry out. Education is key, we should not educate for equality but educate from equality.

Sometimes we think ignoring sexism is better. But it is important to talk about it

What advice would you give to any young woman who is about to start a career in architecture?
Go for it. Embrace the challenges.

Who is your role model or mentor?
There are many. Lina Bo Bardi (pictured) for promoting the social potential of architecture, public spaces and sustainability. I worked for Carmen Espegel, who helped me discover pioneering women architects such as Eileen Gray or Lilly Reich.

Lina Bo Bardi

Lina Bo Bardi

Lina Bo Bardi

What is the most exciting scheme you are currently working on?
I’m a project architect on M3 in North West Cambridge, a residential scheme with an exhibition gallery space for the University of Cambridge designed to achieve Code for Sustainable Homes Level 5/ BREEAM Excellent.

Teresa Serrano works at Pollard Thomas Edwards, a partner practice to the Women in Architecture programme

Pte cambridge m3 (3)

Pte cambridge m3 (3)

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