Caroline believes in helping people to progress to their best potential and strives to build a wide network of support across the practice.
An expert in school design, she enjoys working with clients at the earliest stages of a project and acts as a conduit between them and the design team to ensure their brief is translated into an inspirational learning environment.
Caroline, what are the key challenges that affect the schools sector?
The main one is funding. Cuts and a review of the school estate over the last few years means that a standardised approach is now preferred to get schools built more quickly and cheaply. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing – parts of the building are repetitive and benefit from being designed efficiently once and then duplicated – it’s the spaces linking those repetitive units that really make the difference to people. With the strain on resources, there’s often a real limit to what we can do. It’s the ‘joy’ that often suffers.
What is your proudest moment?
Presenting the Speech Day Awards at the first school I completed as an architect. They were using the building I had designed and were keen to hear about what we had done, the things we had to consider and the challenges we’d faced. It was great helping them celebrate their success, but as a fairly young graduate it didn’t seem that long since I had been in their shoes.
What advice would your give your 20 year old self?
I would encourage myself to understand more about the choice I made when I chose to enter a male dominated industry. There are a lot of opportunities for women because we do things in a different way and we can have a huge benefit to the industry, but sometimes it’s a difficult path. It’s very important that we support each other.
If you weren’t an architect what would you be?
A teacher. I enjoy helping people understand things in the office, coaching and mentoring and particularly supporting clients that haven’t been involved in buildings before. Most of my family are teachers so I think I’ve had a narrow escape from the classroom!