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Emerging Woman Architect of the Year shortlist: Sally Lewis

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Stitch Architects’ founding director Sally Lewis has been shortlisted for the 2015 Emerging Woman Architect of the Year Award

Sally Lewis founded Stitch Architects in 2012 with the vision of ‘creating a new generation of streets for London’. Three years later, the practice’s first project - 149 new-build homes in Goresbrook Village, Dagenham - is nearing completion. Although the studio numbers just six staff, it is competing for major housing projects against big practices - and winning. This year Lewis won the job for the regeneration of the Marlowe Road Estate in Walthamstow. The 450-home scheme also includes a public plaza, new shops and amenities for local residents. She also worked as an adviser to Ealing Council’s South Acton Estate regeneration project and has since been appointed to design a large phase of the residential work.

Q&A

Sally Lewis

Studied University of KwaZulu Natal; Oxford Brookes University; Architectural Association
First practice
Rodney Harber & Associates
First project
KZNSA Art Gallery, Durban (while at Walters & Cohen)
Current projects
Estate regeneration projects in Ealing and Walthamstow; regeneration project in Dagenham
Current clients
Private developers, housebuilders, housing associations, Countryside Properties, L&Q Housing Association
Favourite architects
O’Donnell + Tuomey and Janina Masojada of Design Workshop
Favourite building
Carlo Scarpa’s Castelvecchio
Why architecture I enjoyed art, maths and English at school, and architecture always seemed a perfect combination of these skills. Sadly my father didn’t consider architecture a suitable profession for women, so I spent my first year at university studying law, and compiling a list of successful female architects. I presented the list to him at the end of the year. This worked; I started my architecture degree the following year, and my father is now very happy to have been proved wrong!
Biggest challenge facing women in architecture
Getting to the point when we recognise an industry full of female architect role models and no longer need to have this conversation. Every woman who is happy in her career in architecture, from students to graduates to directors, should see herself as a role model to help build this critical mass.
Advice to aspiring female architects
Try not to be compartmentalised into a design silo too soon.

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