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Woman Architect of the Year shortlist: Rachel Haugh

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Simpson Haugh and Partners co-founder Rachel Haugh has been shortlisted for the 2015 Woman Architect of the Year Award

Rachel Haugh jointly founded Ian Simpson Architects in 1987 with the aim of ‘creating great architecture with people who share that vision’. With offices in Manchester and London, the practice now employs 110 staff and is ranked 31 in the AJ100. She is currently working on One Blackfriars, a 70,000m² tower in London’s Bankside, due to complete in 2017; the first phase of the redevelopment of Battersea Power Station; and an 11-storey, canalside apartment scheme and the overhaul of Granada Studios in Manchester. Last year the practice changed its name to Simpson Haugh and Partners, recognising Haugh’s contribution throughout the practice’s 28 years of existence.

Q&A

Rachel Haugh

Studied University of Bath
First practice
Austin-Smith:Lord
First project
Refurb of part of Ordsall estate, Salford
Current projects O
ne Blackfriars; Battersea Power Station; Dollar Bay; St John’s masterplan; offices at 2 St Peter’s Square and One Spinningfields, Manchester; Downing Plaza, Newcastle; Queen Elisabeth Hall, Antwerp
Current clients
St George; Battersea Power Station Development Company; Mount Anvil
Favourite architect
Norman Foster
Favourite building
l’Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, by Jean Nouvel
Why architecture
I had a passion for drawing, was introduced to Peter Blake’s monographs on ‘Le Corbusier’, ‘Mies van der Rohe’ and ‘Frank Lloyd Wright’ at an early age, was inspired, yet received careers advice against it and, as a result, became more determined in my choice!
Biggest challenge facing women in architecture
Persistent and sad preconceptions about women and their role held by the construction industry in general. Issues related to childcare and maternity, which affect women more than men in the profession, where an immediate response may be required 5 days a week, does not lend itself well to flexible/part time working.
Advice to aspiring female architects
Passion, commitment, vision, self-belief, optimism and tenacity are necessary traits. If you have them, go for it!

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