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Woman Architect of the Year shortlist: Teresa Borsuk

Teresa Borsuk, a partner at Pollard Thomas Edwards, has been shortlisted for the 2015 Woman Architect of the Year Award

Joining Pollard Thomas Edwards (PTE) in 1984, Teresa Borsuk moved up through the practice, becoming a director in 1987. Last year, as PTE celebrated its 40th anniversary, Borsuk became one of three senior partners at the practice. Through her leadership, the number of women on the AJ100 firm’s staff has grown to more than 50 per cent. She has more than 30 years’ experience in housing, mixed-use and regeneration sectors, and has designed and delivered projects ranging from major mixed-use 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 also acts as an RIBA client adviser and has been on the jury of a number of awards and competitions.

Q&A

Teresa Borsuk

Studied The Bartlett, University College, London and a scholarship year at the University of Kansas, USA
First practice
DEGW
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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