HPA Director Zoe Celebrates 12 Year Anniversary During National Apprenticeship Week - HPA

HPA Director Zoe Celebrates 12 Year Anniversary During National Apprenticeship Week

To highlight Annual National Apprenticeship Week last week (5th-11th February) and celebrate Zoe’s 12 year anniversary at HPA, Director, Zoe sat down with Holly – Postgraduate Assistant and Part II Apprentice to discuss her career journey and highlights.

Holly: In the 12 years at HPA, what has been your favourite memory?

Zoe: My favourite memory has to be watching all the children running into Bendrigg after the cutting of  the ribbon on the opening day of Acorn House. Seeing them use the space, with their coats flung around the room was a proud moment. In contrast to that, seeing 28 metres of piling that I had painstakingly set out with a contractor for an advanced manufacturing plant was very satisfying. The pile was driven in so far that it made the ground shake. It felt like a giant game of kerplunk!

Holly: What has been your favourite project to work on so far?

Zoe: Choosing a favourite project is a bit like asking someone to choose a favourite child….
I’ve loved the hotel work we’ve completed over the past few years and I’ve really enjoyed working for Wildsmith Hotels and Another Place. Both clients really appreciate the unique customs and different valleys of The Lake District so it has been really special to create places that embrace that. In my spare time I’m often swimming, running and hiking in those areas and being so familiar with the incredible surroundings makes it even more of an honor to get to work in them too.

Holly: What has been your greatest achievement since starting at HPA?

Zoe: Like most professionals, I’ve had a number of crises of confidence about becoming an Architect in my time, never mind becoming a Director of them. However, I’m torn between getting my AABC (Architects Accredited in Building Conservation) and my work helping and mentoring others. I’m really proud of the legacy of students and Architects we’ve had in our practice who have gone on to make their mark. The creation of the Architecture Club with local charity, E2M (Escape2Make) has been amazing as it has meant we’ve been able to inspire some of these young people and help them on their way down many different career paths. One individual from the group now has an apprenticeship with a local contractor and it was so encouraging to cross paths with them on a project recently where they had been working on the joinery repairs. Another from the group is now studying Architecture at Lancaster University where we now also teach so I’m really proud of the cycle of giving back and seeing the younger generation flourish in their chosen fields.

Holly: What do you hope to achieve in the future?

Zoe: We’ve created our start up, sister company, WooHoo which focuses on Sustainability & Heritage and as such we’ve begun to see huge improvements in our designs and in our overall knowledge of sustainability. I’m really looking forward to seeing where WooHoo takes us, however in the immediate future, I’m keen to deliver the improvement works to Barrow Sixth Form and feasibility of Talyllyn Railway. I always hope to build things in the right way, collaborating and being part of a team to create places that people enjoy.

Holly: Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give yourself prior to qualifying as an Architect?

Zoe: The first thing I would tell myself and anyone else starting out on their journey into Architecture is simply to have patience and to persevere. In the early days as a student, I really beat myself up with worry where as I should have just embraced the challenges of it all. I also would tell my younger self to embrace the areas that I excelled in and have more fun with them.

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