March 8, 2024

Women in Architecture - We Speak to Anda on International Women's Day

On International Women's Day 2024 we spoke with Anda about being a woman in Architecture

On International Women's day 2024 we took the opportunity to hear from Anda Cornea. Anda has been with the company since July 2021, first on a part 1 placement, and has since moved onto a Level 7 (Masters) degree apprenticeship at Sheffield Hallam University, with our support.

Hi Anda. How did you first get into architecture? Can you remember the moment you decided you wanted to be an architect?

I remember I was a 12 years old and I told my godmother I was going to become an architect and live in London. I ended up slightly North of there, but now live in the place I began this journey. I believe I was drawn to the idea of having the knowledge and ability to shape my world.

Who is your biggest role model?

Definitely my mother. She believed in me and my ability to pursue this career and she didn’t hesitate to make sacrifices in order to get me on this path. She was a resilient and creative woman always making something out of nothing, or like we say in Romania, 'making heaven from what we have'. I find this is an interesting idea to consider within architecture as well.

What’s your favourite part of your job?

It would be those early stages of design where I have to immerse myself in the context and understand what I have to work with. I feel like I get my best ideas during those moments. I also love exchanging ideas and thinking collectively about a design.

Architecture is still largely male-dominated – why do you think that is?

I believe this is a much more complex problem that expands beyond architecture. I remember a colleague of mine saying that women are more competent than they are confident. It made me think that it probably stems from how guarded and risk-aware women have to be all the time to protect themselves, and stepping into this industry is either not worth the risk or we don’t understand the reward or don’t value it as worth the risk. I am still trying to decide that for myself.

How would you encourage other women to pursue a career in architecture?

I think you can’t sell it with words. You really need to try it and see if it is a good fit for you. I have a friend who had a hard time during university and was convinced she wouldn’t like practice, but pursued to get a job anyway. It turns out she really enjoys it. I think it’s not necessary the role that women don’t take too, it's that they might get off too early before they find their place in architecture. Don’t give up too easily!

Where would you like to see the industry in five years’ time?

It would be nice to see a change in how we communicate what we do so people have a better understanding and thus value our work and our input. I believe this would make it possible for us to also be remunerated properly. Also, I hope there will be no more exploitation and people working crazy overtime hours without being paid. Last, but not least, we need a massive change in how we design and build in order to respond to climate change appropriately. I believe that can be a great creative challenge, breathing some new life into architecture.

How has C+A Design’s workplace ethos helped you, supported you etc?

I really appreciate being encouraged to think and work by myself, as well as being safe to communicate opinions and thoughts within the team. I believe this is really important, especially for a Part 1 / Apprentice as in this time we need to be able to express our strengths and work on our weaknesses. We can only do that if we feel like we can ask 'stupid' questions and have a space where we can put our skills and ideas to work. I feel like C+A Design is always open to find these sort of opportunities for me.

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