International Women’s Day 2021 - Spotlight on Joanna Bacon

In celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8th, we're profiling female trailblazers and aspiring leaders creating real impactful change across our global business. For this piece, we asked Joanna Bacon, Architectural Designer in our London studio to share her thoughts on what inspires her in her daily work.

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London skyline

What drew you to a career in architecture and design?

Being very happily art-driven throughout my school years, I found myself stuck choosing either Fine Art or Architecture to study at University. Visiting London for the first time is actually what swayed my decision. I’d never been anywhere like it before and found the whole atmosphere really inspiring, to the point where I knew Architecture was what I really wanted to do. 

Jo Bacon headshot landscape

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I really enjoy 3D modelling and producing visuals that capture the essence of a space. I love working with other people and seeing a combination of ideas materialize into shapes and forms and further down the line into fully developed designs. 

Is there anyone you would say has inspired you in your career to date?

I would say that Kevin Fellingham, one of my lecturers at the University of Cape Town definitely inspired me. His work is beautiful. It speaks for itself, shows clean lines and simple architecture but each detail is unique and specifically designed. A huge amount of consideration is given to how light works within a space and how a built form is integrated into nature. He was my mentor through my masters and has definitely had an impact on how I design today. 

What does good leadership look like to you?

I believe good leadership comes with knowing the people you are leading,strong communication, time management skills and leading by example. 

Do you think women face particular challenges in the architectural world more so than men? What kinds of things can we do to overcome this?

This question really speaks to the huge topic of gender equality. I won’t speculate on the broader topic but rather talk from my own experience in the architectural world. My answer may be biased as I have only had good experiences so far. I have worked at firms where women are given the same opportunities as men and are not discriminated against. A group of us girls from Benoy recently attended an event celebrating women in architecture where we were lucky enough to hear from the likes of Sheila O’Donnell and Eva Prats (nominees for architect of the year’ award), who showed us that despite any challenges we may face, women are doing amazing things in architecture. 

We live in a day and age that is progressive. To overcome these challenges of inequality in the architectural profession, I believe that we as women need to keep pushing forward and showing off what we’re capable of, and in the process, give young upcoming female architects access to the same kinds of positive experiences I have had. 

London 2

What would you tell your younger self, just starting out in their architectural career/​studies?

Try and pinpoint what exactly it is about architecture that has made you want to pursue it. Find yourself a mentor that inspires you and surround yourself with others who aim for excellence so that you never stop learning. 

Jo Bacon headshot landscape
London 2