Here at Nicholas Jacob Architects, our team is made up of a talented bunch with a broad range of skills. In a series of blog posts we want to introduce you to some of them and find out more about what inspired them to follow a career in architecture. Next on the list is Pippa Jacob.
What’s your educational background?
I studied at the University of Portsmouth. Along with qualifying as an architect I have a Masters in Professional Practice.
Why did you want to become an architect?
Although my Dad (Nicholas Jacob) is an architect I had never considered it as a profession until a school friend asked him what subjects and grades were needed to study architecture. I had a bit of a eureka moment when realised I had the right requirements too. I had always enjoyed art and when one of my A-level projects was titled “The Built Environment” it cemented my love for all things construction.
What was the first project you worked on?
I worked on a range of education and healthcare projects for HLM Architects on the south coast during my training.
How has your career progressed?
When the last recession hit I was fortunate to relocated back to Ipswich, join the team at NJ Architects and complete my training. I have always been passionate about education, both the act of learning and the spaces in which study. Having had some amazing tutors I was keen to incorporate teaching into my career. In September 2015 was appointed as a lecturer one day a week at the then University Campus Suffolk, now University of Suffolk. I really enjoy the opportunities of forging cross professional links between academia and practice.
What does your job involve on a day-to-day basis?
There is a romantic idea that architects sit at drawing boards all day. I do have the rare luxury of a drawing board next to my desk however most of work is carried out on the computer. Before a project starts on site my time is spent preparing planning applications, writing specifications and drawing detailed design packages. The highlight of my job is once a project goes live and you get to carry out regular site visits. This is where the skills of being a good problem solver and team member come into play. I enjoy finding the best solution by drawing on the skills of the construction team.
What are some of your favourite projects you’ve worked on over the years?
A career highlight was being one of the architects who worked on The Avenue Theatre for Red Rose Chain. It was the most amazing project to kick-start my career.
Nicholas Jacobs Architects is very involved in conservation projects. How did you end up in this field?
At the start of my career my specialism was in sustainable education design so moving to work in a conservation focused practice was quite a change. However, I now have a great interest and respect to the specialist in the field who work to preserve the heritage of yesterday for future generations.
What do you think is the best piece of architecture in Suffolk?
I am a big fan of the Dune House by Jarmund Vigsnaes Architects and Mole Architects which is one of the projects for Living Architecture.
What buildings around the world most inspire you?
My favourite period of architecture is Bauhaus. I like the simplicity of form, the use of curves and how, as a movement, it influenced all aspects of design from art and furniture through to architecture.
Are there any other architects whose work particularly inspires you?
I love the purity of form in the buildings designed by Le Corbusier and the fun and sculptural work by Frank Gehry. A few firms that inspired my student projects are Sarah Wigglesworth Architects and van Heyningen and Haward Architects. Both firms create architecture, often with a sustainable ethos, that respond sympathetically to client and place.
What personality traits or skills do you think you need to be a good architect?
Determination, good communication skills and a positive approach to work; you may need to pull some long hours!
What advice would you have to people starting out in a career in architecture?
If you are creative, determined, enjoy problem solving and care about what the built environment of tomorrow will look like, architecture is a great profession to enter into.