Our profession is about improving lives and providing that bit of joy.
My name is Marié Nevin, I’m an architect at Stride Treglown in Cardiff.
We are currently in Bute Park. We’ll just head to somewhere less windy and go for a walk. This park is really big, it stretches across from the city centre. You could spend the whole day here if you wanted to. I’ve been lost many times. I was walking yesterday, took the wrong turn and spent an hour and a half trying to get home.
A clear path to architecture
I was born in Japan and I was there until I was 11. We moved to Malawi for a few years and ended up in England where I did my GCSEs and A levels. After that, I chose to come to Cardiff.
I’ve always loved music. I learned to play the piano when I was little and thought I’d be doing something with music. It wasn’t until I was in year 12 that I started to think about a different path, keeping music as a hobby. You have to be really, really good or really, really passionate to make it and I didn’t think I was good enough. With architecture you have to go through a set of degrees. I quite liked the idea of having that clear career path.
Breaking down barriers
At the beginning of last year, I started doing some school engagement work. For one session, we went to a primary school and talked to the children about architecture and the different roles needed to deliver a building. I’ve become a lot more passionate about inclusion and diversity. The industry has so many facets to it and I’m aware that people may have pre-conceptions of what it takes to be an architect, or even what architects look like. I want to help break down that image and barrier, especially for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds or minority groups.
We’re just going past this massive…I don’t actually know what that is. It looks like a dog and an owl doesn’t it? There are quite a few little statues and sculptures in this park.
Getting into the heart of a community
I’d like to do more social value work. I’d love to get right into the heart of a community, get to know the people and develop a scheme with them that is driven and owned by the community and grows with them.
I worked on a domestic violence unit project in Cardiff Royal Infirmary; an internal refurbishment over two floors of a Grade II listed building. I really liked working with the end users because we got to develop the scheme with them. They wanted it to feel quite homey with soft carpet tiles, sofas, floor lamps and so on. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for the actual end users, so I wanted to make a place where they felt welcome, felt safe and looked after. Our profession is about improving people’s lives and providing that bit of joy, so I do enjoy that side of things.
Let’s start heading back while I know where we are!
The idea of starting a band had been floating around for a while. It’s one of those things we talk about at Christmas parties and socials but never talked about it whilst sober until last year. After I found out we had a drummer in the office, I thought ‘Oh we could start something here’. Then a couple of weeks later, lockdown happened so we had to put that on hold for a bit.
We had saxophonist, a guitarist, a drummer, all from the Cardiff office! We’re a talented bunch. And I did the vocals, bass and keyboard.
A couple of people in the office suggested we cover ‘Under Pressure’ by Queen and David Bowie. I always thought that was a powerful song but it also reflected the stressful situation we were in. It was really relevant and reminded us to be aware of our mental health as well. I paired that with Des’ree’s ‘You Gotta Be’ because I thought it was a really empowering song about facing your fears, challenging what’s around you and being strong through the pressures of life.
The power of music
Music to me is an emotional outlet. Since lockdown my mental health hasn’t been the best so it’s something I can go to and it makes me feel better. It sounds really cheesy but it makes me express myself and it calms me down.
I wanted to get as many people in the office as possible to be part of the video so I managed to get a few people to do some of the clippie, clappy, clicky bits. I really missed everyone in the office and I wanted to create something that gave a sense of us being together and show that there is something to look forward to.
Maybe we will be able to perform it at a summer party or a Christmas party. That’ll be brilliant.