Spotlight – Indre Hobson

Indre in the London studio

Indre is an architect with over ten years of international experience in designing and delivering well-considered buildings of multiple scales for a variety of uses. A multi-faceted design professional, Indre’s hands-on approach means she understands projects from day one – driving them towards success from beginning to end.

In 2019, Indre spearheaded a partnership with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) to set up the Architecture Parent’s Club (APC), which aims to provide an inspiring and supportive environment for carers to connect and continue growing and learning as designers.

You focus on very large-scale projects and but have also worked on smaller, more boutique offerings. As an architect, how do you manage swinging between scales?

The thing that excites me the most about working on both big and small projects is the ability to deepen my understanding of the way people perceive and experience spaces. Architecture is not just a single industry, it is an assemblage of multiple perspectives and approaches that collectively shape the way we understand and address the challenges faced by the people and communities we serve. Every project I work on, no matter the scale, is an opportunity to cultivate my ability to work across scales and disciplines creatively, and to better comprehend scale relationships between buildings and systems. I believe that it is what allows us, the designers, to create more holistic and meaningful environments, urban eco-systems and experiences for our ever increasingly challenging world.

 

What do you think small projects have to learn from larger ones, and vice versa?

Learning is a lifelong process that only experience can cultivate. And to me, the broader the experience, the better. Small scale projects can be wonderful and are often about making the big ideas happen, they challenge you to think outside the box. On the Arran Marine Discovery Centre project in Scotland we crafted an illusion of a balancing, driftwood-like form but also wrote an R&D proposal for an offsite construction of the building which would then be floated across the Firth of Clyde to the remote island location. Large scale projects, on the other hand, provide vast opportunities to work alongside a broad range typology experts and various building specialists you may not necessarily encounter when working on smaller jobs. All these experiences are invaluable as they help shape and inform my future design decisions, be it on a small scale project or a city wide masterplan.

Arran Marine Discovery Centre (shortlisted in the World Architecture Festival Awards)

“Every project I work on, no matter the scale, is an opportunity to cultivate my ability to work across scales and disciplines creatively”

Woods Bagot’s winning design for an international design competition for a 300m mixed use tower development in Taiyuan, China

The Zabeel hotel at the Palm Jumeirah in Dubai repositioning project in collaboration with WB sister company ERA

Woods Bagot’s global studio model has enabled you to work on projects in the Middle East, Australia, China and Europe from your home studio in London, how do you go about getting a sense of the local community you’re designing for?

The ability to work on international projects is something that I really value and enjoy but working internationally and breaching unfamiliar ground also has an added responsibility of making sure that we always design with a strong appreciation for regional culture and ecology in mind. Having 17 studios across the globe means that we can always collaborate with our regional Woods Bagot colleagues to gain better understanding of cultural and socio-political nuances and other relevant contextual insights. We also have a bespoke set of technical tools that allow us to study and analyse local geography and climate. This collaborative approach and in-depth groundwork enables us to create inspired buildings that respond to the character of a particular region and place, helping to ensure that our designs act in the best interests of the foreign communities and economies they affect.

“Working internationally has an added responsibility of making sure that we always design with a strong appreciation for regional culture and ecology in mind”

Why did you start the Architecture Parents Club (APC)? What would you like its impact to be?

It is a worrying fact that almost 90% of female architects in the UK say that having children puts them at disadvantage in the workplace, and many, sadly, chose to leave the profession all together upon starting a family. The transition to parenthood involves significant changes and adjustments and only when I became pregnant with my son I realised how little support there was for working parents in the Architecture and Design Industry. This is where the motivation to start the Architecture Parents Club (APC) came from. Armed with the support from the Woods Bagot London studio, myself and other collaborators partnered with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) to set up the club in early 2019 with the key aim of providing a relevant and convenient professional network for working parents that offers a curated programme covering a range of relevant career, wellbeing, parenting, inclusion and other workplace-related topics. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that humans are hardwired to connect and I would like to think that APC will continue to provide that social environment for parents to connect and support each other through share experiences as I have always believed that being brilliant at work and at home shouldn’t be mutually exclusive.

“If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that humans are hardwired to connect”

Indre is an accomplished architect with over ten years of international experience of designing and delivering well-considered buildings of multiple scales and typologies worldwide. She is a passionate and dedicated design professional with extensive experience of leading projects collaboratively across all design and delivery stages. Indre works closely with our clients and Woods Bagot’s global team of experts to design innovative, sustainable and creative solutions and is committed to delivering excellence to our clients.

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