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Why I love my job as an architect

Paula Barnes lives in Hove and runs Eliza Barnes design studio. She has been an interior designer for 18 years.

What I love about my job is being outside and not being stuck in an office.

Many people have this misconception that being an architect is glamorous. I work with builders and it gets pretty mucky on building sites.

I am often on building sites or sitting at my computer buying products and materials for a project.

My advice

The desire to design should come fairly naturally. If you are visual and like thinking up ideas for designs then go for it.

Don’t worry if you can’t draw. You can use a computer or learn to draw.

I was really bad at art at school and I really could not draw or paint. This almost stopped me from studying architecture. But then I realised that architecture is so much more than drawings. It’s mostly visualising space in 3D. I can walk into a space and immediately have ideas for how to improve it.

You can change career

Initially, I worked as a television director but after having children in 1997 I wanted a more flexible job. This led me to return to university to do a degree in architecture.

My advice to my younger self

Be brave. It doesn’t matter if you fail. Just get up and try again. Go for a job you really enjoy otherwise it will drive you crazy.

I didn’t even know what an architect was until I was around 19. I never came into contact with one.

Sometimes it can take a while to work out what your thing is. But don’t worry just keep thinking about it and working it out!

The best thing I ever did was work really really hard at school. Going to university opened up my world.

Charlotte Harding
Charlotte Harding
Charlotte is a journalist and the co-founder of The Women's Work Collective.
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