Faces of Architecture: Lydia Mills
Lydia was raised in North London, in a creative family of mixed backgrounds, including English, Irish and Bajan. Over time, each culture had a unique influence on her values and interests, later informing her architectural work.
As a child, I spent many summers building houses out of twigs and leaves for the fairies that lived in my back garden and the local park. Over time, my interest in story-telling and narrative as part of the architectural design process grew stronger and I went on to study architecture at Newcastle University. Sadly, the fairies moved away.
To date my favourite project at university was my 3rd year graduation project, the Institute of Tarot- a gallery dedicated to the divinatory art of Tarot reading and home to three resident fortune tellers! The idea was to create a series of architectural spaces which would evoke within building users a sense of what each Tarot card means, without any need for an in depth knowledge of the Tarot or psychic abilities. This was challenging, as the story that Tarot cards tell, both individually and as a collective, is so rich with symbolism and meaning. However, it encouraged me to think about my design in a lot of detail and experiment with architectural forms and building materials.
Currently, I work in the sports sector, which has been an unexpected, but fantastic experience. I very quickly fell in love with sports and leisure buildings, the positive impact they can have on a community and the challenges they bring.
I feel in any profession, the ability to draw upon a range of experiences and ideas has a major impact on the value of work produced. During the short time I have worked and studied in architecture, I have always learned more when working in a diverse team of people with a wide variety of interests, skills and styles of thinking and I feel very fortunate that there are increasing opportunities for me as well as future generations to connect and learn from each other.