Introducing Pippa, NJA Architect

Our team at Nicholas Jacob Architects is made up of talented individuals with a wide range of skills and experience. We are introducing you to some of our team members in detail through a series of blog posts to find out more about what inspired them to follow a career in architecture. Our next team member is Pippa Jacob.

What is your educational background?

I studied at the University of Portsmouth. I have a Masters in Professional Practice along with qualifying as an architect.

Why did you choose to become an architect?

Despite my Dad (Nicholas Jacob) being an architect, I hadn’t ever considered it as a profession until a friend from school asked him what grades were needed to study architecture. I had a bit of a “eureka!” moment when I realised I had the necessary requirements. I always enjoyed art at school and when I created one of my A-level projects (titled “The Built Environment”) it cemented my love for all things construction.

What was the first project that you worked on?

During my training, I worked on a range of healthcare and education projects for HLM Architects on the south coast.

How has your career developed?

When the last recession hit I was relocated back to Ipswich, where I joined the team at NJ Architects and completed my training. I have always been passionate about education, and having had some amazing tutors I was interested in incorporating teaching into my career. In September 2015 I was appointed as a lecturer one day per week at the University of Suffolk. I really enjoy the opportunities of forging cross-professional links between practice and academia.

On a day-to-day basis, what does your job involve?

There’s this idea that architects sit at drawing board all day. I do have the rare luxury of a drawing board next to my desk, but most of the work carried out is on the computer. Most of my time is spent preparing planning applications, writing specifications and drawing detailed design packages, all in preparation of the start of a project. Carrying out regular site visits through the duration of a project is the highlight of my job. This is where the skills of being a good team member and problem solver come into play. I enjoy drawing on the skills of the construction team to find the best solutions.

What are some of your favourite projects that you have worked on over the years?

Being one of the architects who worked on The Avenue Theatre for Red Rose Chain was a career highlight. 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 beginning of my career I specialised in sustainable education design, so moving to work in a conservation-focused practice was a change. However, I now have a lot of interest and respect to the specialists in this field who work to preserve the past heritage for future generations.

What do you think is the best piece of architecture in Suffolk?

I am a great fan of the Dune House by Jarmund Vigsnaes Architects and Mole Architects which is one of the project for Living Architecture.

What buildings around the world inspire you most?

My favourite period of architecture is Bauhaus. I appreciate the simplicity of form, the use of curves and also how, as a movement, it influenced all aspects of design from furniture and art 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, sculptural work by Frank Gehry. Sarah Wigglesworth Architects and Van Heyningen and Haward Architects are a few firms that inspired my student projects. Both firms create architecture that respond sympathetically to client and place, often with a sustainable ethos.

What personality traits or skills do you think you need to be a good architect?

Good communication skills, determination, and a positive approach to work – you might need to work some long hours!

What advice would you have to people starting out in a career in architecture?

If you are determined, creative, enjoy problem solving and care about what built environment of tomorrow will look like, architecture is a brilliant profession to explore.