Alexandra Gerrish-Ives

Associate Technologist

After initially pursuing a career in marketing, Alex realised she was actually more architecturally inclined. She now specialises in heritage sites and listed buildings.

A chartered technologist, team leader and project runner in our Bath office, Alex is responsible for coordinating teams and delivering projects from inception to completion across a wide range of sectors, with a current focus on student living.

What made you switch careers?

My career change was like a lightbulb moment. My husband and I have always lived in houses that needed restoration and during each sale people would ask if I was a designer.

When the opportunity came to extend a dwelling, I couldn’t contain my excitement at creating a new space. While I was drawing up the initial sketches I realised that this was what I would like to do. Because I didn’t want to just imagine the space, I wanted to know how each and every nut and bolt would make it work, I chose to become a technologist.

Are there any challenges facing heritage conservation?

The recent past has not helped many historic buildings. During the second half of the 20th century, buildings that weren’t neglected entirely were modernised with new technologies not appropriate for the original fabric, often causing more harm than good. Today this exacerbates any repair and adds cost.

What’s your favourite project you’ve worked on to date?

Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre. It was an existing building with an extension that we did out of straw bales. It also had a thatched roof which is very rare for us to work with. The building was in a Site of Special Scientific Interest and had ancient monuments nearby, so it was fascinating to work with something historic, but also to use modern technology with the straw bale build.

Do you have a pet hate?

Thinking that you need to build a pastiche in a heritage city. I don’t think you should copy what was done historically. Take influence from it, yes, but it is important to create something from your own generation.

What advice would you give your 20 year old self?

Start yoga now, it’ll save a world of aches later. I started about five years ago, but I definitely should have done it earlier, pre pregnancy. We do sessions in the Bath office at lunchtimes.

Industry Bodies:
  • MCIAT – Chartered Architectural Technologist.
Awards:
  • RTPL South West Award for Planning Excellence 2014 ‘Schemes on the Ground’ category for Chesil Beach Visitor Centre.