Barbara Weiss

Barbara Weiss

Practice: Barbara Weiss Architects
Established: 1987
City: London
Country: United Kingdom
www.barbaraweissarchitects.com
mail@barbaraweissarchitects.com

Barbara Weiss was born in Milan in 1954. She studied architecture at the Ecole d'Architecture in Geneva. She then transferred to the Architectural Association in London, obtaining the Diploma in 1979 and becoming a member of the RIBA in 1985.
Early work experiences include periods at design offices such as Philip Johnson-John Burgee, and Richard Meier in New York; Valle Broggi Burckhardt in Milan, and at Stirling Wilford and Associates in London as project architect working on large-scale buildings and a new town in Italy.
Barbara Weiss has taught part-time at the Architectural Association. She is co-author of two books, including Do it with an Architect, aimed at bridging the gap between the domestic client and the profession.
Barbara has acted as an assessor for the Civic Trust for the past ten years, and was appointed in 2007 to the CABE Design Review Panel for Schools.

Barbara Weiss Architects

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Brent Birth Centre, Central Middlesex Hospital, London

The stand-alone Birth Centre (completed in July 2004), a finalist in the 2004 Prime Minister's Better Public Building Award, and recipient of a Civic Trust Award, was the first of its kind in the UK, both in terms of concept and the quality with which this was realised. This NHS flagship building was built with the aim of providing a safe haven and relaxing environment for women choosing to have a non-medical delivery.

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How does diversity of people reveal itself at work? An architect's daily professional life is steeped in personal relationships: with clients, contractors, other consultants, representatives of the local authorities and institutions, and with colleagues. Each of these groups is naturally different, in terms of priorities, skills, interests, outlook, backgrounds and in an infinite variety of other ways. While learning to understand differing individual viewpoints, and to communicate and reach consensus within diverse environments are huge challenges, they are also fascinating and rewarding aspects of the profession.
If you could change one thing in our profession, what would it be? It would be wonderful if our professional skills were valued more by clients and the general public - too often amateurs think that they are equally well suited to design or manage complex projects, showing a total lack of understanding of the 'process' as a whole, and of the thought, theory, experience and talent that is required to produce a beautiful and practical design solution. This is not the case with other professions... we need to educate our public!
What do you find most rewarding in your area of work? Seeing a built project looking wonderful yet essential, beautifully executed, answering all your client's requirements, must be the main reason for investing so much time, care and effort into the profession; there are many other rewards, but the excitement and intense satisfaction of having created something you yourself think is beautiful is hard to describe.