Who Am I and Why Am I an Architect?

Magda Haener

by Magda Haener

25/05/2016, in Manchester Blog

As a child, always enjoyed playing building games – was this a trigger to become an Architect?

I was brought up by the seaside and spent my summers on the beach building sand castles and sculptures. Although I was brought up during communist times in Poland, I was lucky enough to get a box of Lego once in a while, thanks to a seafaring dad returning from international adventures.

During my childhood, my parents built their first dream home. It took them 10 years to accomplish this (it was during a communist era where building materials were scarce), so most of the time we spent in that house felt like living on a building site. In the years that followed, I would move to a different city to learn and ply my trade, but I often think those early memories might explain why I love the smell of wet cement and plaster – it literally feels like home.

I enjoyed painting and design as a child and finally decided to become an architect quite early on in life.

I loved to design and draw… and it was something I was good at. It was also something I thought might allow me to change the world for the better. But another reason I was interested in architecture was that of my mother, who had always secretly wanted to be an architect. She probably had no idea how long the working hours were in this profession, or that having children wouldn’t really go with working full time in a nice big practice, but it’s good to know she had these dreams.

I successfully accomplished my studies at Wroclaw University and got a degree in Architecture and Urban Design. I started to work as an assistant architect during the fourth year of my Masters in 2004. At first, I went through residential design when I was based in Wroclaw, but later got involved in architectural supervision of large retail centres, which is why I moved to Moscow for two years. Here in England, I came back to residential and domestic architecture and in 2010, passed my qualification exams.

I moved to Chorlton in South Manchester in 2013.

Sale and Urmston and of course Chorlton became my local grounds as an Architect in that times. Since then, I’ve been enjoying helping domestic clients build their dream homes. Before in 2010, I met Lisa Raynes the first time. Our collaboration reached new heights in early 2016 when Lisa started to build up the architect franchise project you see here today. Now, I get to play the role of ‘pilot’ architect for Pride Rd and enjoy a brilliant combination of concept design work, day visits with clients and a busy schedule as a mum. I now have a career-life balance that works perfectly.

The hand drawing style Lisa and I have adopted plays a big role in our process, allowing us to trace back our thought paths when developing options for our clients. We create fantastic plans in collaboration with those homeowners, that tap into our feelings for the property and my experience of ergonomic flow in it. Ideas are developed and crafted, with no time wasted on unwanted options. Often I propose something unconventional that may be embraced by those willing to think outside the box, but whether reaching for new angles or basing our drawings in tradition, I know my international experience of housing in Poland, Russia, Germany and Switzerland and the UK is valued. After all, something very standard in one country can be very novel in another.

I had always hoped to have a career which didn’t have me tied to a desk

I tend to get restless when sat for too long in front of a computer screen. And here I am, doing my favourite jigsaw puzzles one minute, then travelling to interesting places in Chorlton, Sale or Urmston in Manchester. It’s a truly rewarding way to spend my time – even if it is a million miles away from the young girl with a box of lego and a big imagination.

By Magdalena Haener

To learn more about past residential designs developed by Magda and the Pride Road team, check out our ‘Projects’ section.

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