Energy and determination of these social warriors undented by sober thoughts of the future
RIBA Journal’s nine Rising Stars 2018 gathered at celebratory event in Bloomberg London last week with their colleagues, mentors, family and friends. This year’s winners are a diverse group of social warriors, which brought the discussion that followed into sharp focus. On stage were Friedrich Ludewig, director of ACME and Rising Stars judge, Kate Murphy, Foster + Partners’ project architect for Bloomberg and Jelena Cousins of Cousins + Cousins. They were tasked with sharing their career experience with the Rising Stars.
Murphy described her route to Bloomberg, working at and sticking with major projects at Foster’s, despite the length of time each took – and the lessons learnt. Working four days a week for the past 20 years, she has been a pioneer of part time and sees how changing technologies and attitudes have made things easier, along with a mixture of men and women taking advantage of these. Cousins traced her career route through firms showing varying degrees of sympathy with her emerging commitments as a mother before describing how she has now found a healthier mode in the expanding practice she runs with her husband.
Ludewig spoke with a tinge of sadness at his wish to make everyone in the practice happy – and the practical impossibility of doing this. Asked for tips by the Rising Stars, he offered that you should be a good person to work with, this being a stronger recommendation than any previous work could be. With Brexit negotiations hanging over business, one Rising Star asked for advice on surviving economic turbulence. Ludewig said his strategy was to convert the bank balance and outstanding invoices into so many months’ operating costs – two months is ok but under one is bad – all shared in a weekly meeting at the practice.
What was remarkable was the sense of energy and determination that survived even these sobering thoughts. As the Rising Stars spilled out of Bloomberg’s timber vortex it was revealed as the building’s Instagram moment. With the odd leap to reach the crazy curves the Rising Stars set off back into the world – ready to make a difference.