Women in Architecture

This International Women’s Day we’d like to take the opportunity to celebrate our very own Women in Architecture.

In a traditionally male-dominated industry, 40% of LSI’s staff line identify as female, forming a statistic we can be very proud of. All decisions made regarding employment are made based on merit rather than on gender or any protected characteristic. Whilst this is said, we currently have 7 women working towards qualifications funded by the Practice.

Women have a place throughout the business hierarchy at LSI, including Director Mirja Mainwaring and Associate Louise Knights, who play a key role in encouraging and inspiring the younger generation of women at the Practice. We asked them to share what it means to them to be an architect, and their experience of working in the industry:

Mirja said that “When I started working at LSI over ten years ago, I was lucky to have been allowed flexibility to find the right balance between being a mother-of-two young children and pursuing my career at LSI. As a Director now, it is important to me to make sure that we give all parents and people with responsibilities outside of work the same opportunities to progress their careers, which is crucial to retain our best talents.

I feel very passionate about celebrating diversity in our profession, bringing people from different backgrounds with different experiences and skills together and ensuring that all voices are heard. True inclusion means building trust so that everyone feels they can speak, hear, learn and discuss their views and are being treated equal regardless or rather because of their differences. This is how we achieve real innovation and create positive cultural change.”

“From an early age I wanted to be an architect. At 16, I was lucky enough to undertake work experience with a female architect, which confirmed that architecture was the career for me. It gave me an opportunity to see the difference we, as architects, can make to people’s lives. I now feel very fortunate to be in a position where I can be a role model for others, both inside and outside of LSI.” said Louise.

Louise also added her perspective on being a working mother; “I’ve now been at the Practice for over 15 years, having children in the last 5, and I agree with Mirja. During my maternity leave, I was kept up to date with what was happening in the practice and included in various trips and learning opportunities and have been supported on my return to work.”

We’re really excited to be working alongside Karen Fugle, a professional architecture coach, on a number of bespoke workshops starting this month, covering unconscious bias, communication & productive conflict and improving confidence. We hope that these sessions will better equip our female employees to deal with some of the professional challenges they face and highlight how our male colleagues have a part to play in recognising and addressing bias.