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Woman Architect of the Year shortlist: Cristina Segni

Cristina Segni, partner at Foster + Partners, has been shortlisted for the 2015 Woman Architect of the Year Award

Cristina Segni joined Foster + Partners in 2003 and moved up through the practice before becoming a partner in 2009. She was one of the first 10 female architects to be made partners at the AJ100-topping firm. Segni has been working on the design and development of Apple’s new headquarters since the practice won the scheme in 2009 – a job which she describes as a ‘once-in-a-lifetime project.’ While working on the main Apple campus she has also led a small team through the design and construction of a new cafeteria for Apple employees. Completed in 2014, this was the first Foster + Partners project in Cupertino and was particularly challenging, due to its very tight schedule – a year and a half from concept to completion.

Q&A

Cristina Segni

Studied Universita degli Studi di Roma ‘La Sapienza’, Rome, Italy
First practice
Hopkins Architects
First project
Lawn Tennis Association National Centre, Roehampton, London
Current project
Apple’s new headquarters in Cupertino, California
Current clients
Apple
Favourite architects
Louis Kahn, Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, Norman Foster, Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano
Favourite building
Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas, by Louis Kahn
Why architecture
My approach to architecture was tentative. During high school I enjoyed both scientific and artistic disciplines and I was looking for some type of study that would combine both and would have a practical and social aspect to it. I knew that architecture required the knowledge of a variety of subjects so I decided it could be the right path. I was also fascinated by the possibility of translating an idea into something real and physical. As I didn’t have any connection with the architectural environment I didn’t know what to expect. Only as time progressed I realised that architecture is not only a profession, but a way to live.
Biggest challenge facing women in architecture
The same for any architect, male or female: to keep the vision alive through all the complications that arise during the building process.
Advice to aspiring female architects
Have fun and surround yourself with people you trust and enjoy working with.

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