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Faces of Architecture: Francesca Harrison

RIBA North East members showcase their diversity, skills, interest and backgrounds, highlighting how it has impacted on their careers within architecture.

11 July 2018

Francesca has always enjoyed design and wanted a career which would allow her to use practical skills. Whilst at school, an architect gave a talk on an extension proposed for the school which inspired her to research a career in architecture. She grew up in Ripon, North Yorkshire and then went to Leeds Metropolitan University to study architecture.

My first job was a Part I placement at a small practice on the outskirts of Leeds, which specialised in listed building repairs and renovations. I was lucky enough to work on a wide range of projects including an extension to a homeless centre located in the crypt of a Grade II listed church in Leeds City Centre – a very unique and interesting project.

After completing my Diploma, I moved to Newcastle where I began working at Ryder Architecture, and then qualified as an Architect in 2015. I have had the opportunity to work on a number of different projects including a new-build headquarters for housing association Thirteen in Stockton and an exhibition for the Great Exhibition of the North within Cooper’s Studios.

I enjoy exploring client’s aspirations and helping them to develop their ideas through design. My favourite project to date is Vita Student, Strawberry Place which is a 332-bed student residential scheme in Newcastle City Centre. I particularly enjoyed this project due to the difficult site constraints which allowed the project team to explore innovative and creative solutions to fulfil the brief. I admire The Scottish Crime Campus because of its unique yet simple design and strong concept which has been executed to a high standard.

I am involved in a range of non-project activities, the Young Architectural Practitioners Forum as an ambassador, a member of BCO Nextgen North committee, and an RIBA student mentor. I believe everyone should be treated equally within the architectural profession, and that diversity and inclusion bring different ideas and initiatives to the profession.

Francesca's contribution is part of our Faces of Architecture campaign, celebrating the diversity of architects in the North East. If you’d like to get involved, contact Amy Tomlinson.

© Francesca Harrison: Ryder Architecture

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