“I’m an architect with almost 20 years’ experience working in practice. Being a traveller at heart, I have worked in London, Poland, Seville, Tasmania and Sydney. The construction industry was badly hit in the recession that started in 2008. Ronan is also an architect and we had recently bought our first house. With pay cuts and threatened redundancy, we decided to go to Australia for a year and ended up staying for almost 7 years.
We lived the dream in Sydney for several years, working on exciting, large-scale projects during the week and spending our weekends outside enjoying the sunshine, the beach and Australian wine. I was an Associate in the oldest Architecture practice in Australia. This was a design and management role, running teams working on large projects in a big, international practice with people from all over the world. We became Australian citizens. However, after my daughter was born we made the decision to move home to be closer to family.
For a long time, I had thought of starting my own business and I finally decided to start my own Architecture practice, Studio PARK, just over a year ago when I was off on maternity leave. Partly out of frustration at the lack of flexible work opportunities for architects here and culture of long days in the office. At the same time, I started teaching architecture at Ulster University part-time which I love because it encourages me to also keep learning.
The past year has been challenging at times with two young children at home, a husband away 11 hours a day Monday to Friday, starting a business and working part-time. However, the hard work has begun to pay off and Ronan quit his job in January to join me at Studio PARK.
Now he sees more of the children and we share the load of the business and household.
Our business is very much focused on providing high quality design, a great service, and making sure our clients are always happy. My personal passion is to create buildings that have minimal impact on the environment. I’m particularly interested in how the buildings we inhabit impact on our mental and physical health. The spaces we create as architects have the potential to bring people together, to uplift, to create connection and improve health and well being for the occupants.
Outside of architecture, I sew every week, I wish I could paint more, I read and dance like a lunatic to unwind (not at the same time) and I miss travelling and running. My weaknesses are perfectionism and procrastination (because of the perfectionism). My strengths are attention to detail and determination.
Thanks for taking the time to read if you have got this far! I’ve really enjoyed being part of the MAW network and look forward to getting to know you all better in the coming months.”
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