People Who Make Places: Anne-Héloise Dautel

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Hello Anne-Hélouise Dautel! Thanks for contributing to People Who Make Places:

First question, how do you describe what you do when someone in your family asks?

I create and design spaces and buildings for people by sculpting and manipulating the light, volumes, etc. We all live in an ‘architectured’ world which has been designed and ‘dictated’ by planners and architects and I would like to sensibilise people to their surroundings and Architecture in general. Architecture is like a playground for me, or a laboratory where I manipulate volumes and materials, combine them, try to understand what the client’s wish is. Architecture should be a profession and a career of continuous research and personal development.

I have been working in the UK as an Architect for more than 4 years. I am currently employed and have been working in a Architecture firm based in Central London for nearly 2 years. Before that, I used to work in a Belfast based firm specialised in Conservation work. That Northern Irish company sent me to China for a 3 1/2 month business trip in Shenzhen in order to create a partnership with a Chinese local firm. I had the chance to work on masterplans on scales much bigger than anything I have worked on in Europe. I also had the opportunity to do some architectural research in the Architecture School of Bhopal in India while being part of a students exchange programme between Bhopal and Queens University of Belfast.

What is the most interesting project you have worked on?

A 5.3 hectare regeneration masterplan in Bangor, sea-side town in Northern Ireland. The final proposal includes a cultural, leisure and arts hub and theatre, located in the town centre, as well as shops, restaurants, offices and hotels – all of which acting as a catalyst for regeneration in the heart of the town. Its apartments and hotels put its residents first and will ensure this vibrant and diverse place has an enduring legacy. I have worked with the local residents closely to determine their needs and define the programme and space.

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What aspect of your work gives you the best feeling?

Working with and for people.

What keeps you awake at night?

When I feel like I could have performed better and did not give the best of myself.

What does your work now have to do with what you studied, if at all?

I studied Architecture in France and Northern Ireland and am now an Architect.

What advice would you give to a young person interested in a career like yours?

I would warn them of the complexity and difficulty of this profession. From Uni to a professional environment, your work will be criticised. You need to be truly passionate about Architecture when working as an Architect.

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