5 inspiring women in Architecture you should know about

Here at BCU, we are proud to have a wide variety of inspiring female academics, students and alumni across the university. Find out about a handful of the influential women from our Architecture course and their wonderful achievements.

1. Jemma Browne

Jemma was appointed the first permanent female head of of Architecture at BCU since it was established in 1908. Jemma aims to advocate for an inclusive and sustainable education for all Architecture students. She states she was inspired by female architecture pioneers, Jane Drew and Rosemary Stjernstedt, of whom spoke openly about being excluded from classes and being paid less simply for being a woman.

Jemma said: “During my time studying Architecture, there were several female academics who I connected with strongly, and who I guess saw something in me, and often now, as an academic myself, I remember this and will mentor students, showing them a belief in their potential.”.

Her advice for any budding architects? “Work hard, but work for others, not just for your own gain. When you can work for social good and build a team, we can do anything with good people around us, create and do things that matter.” 

2. Ula Maria

Landscape Architecture alumna Ula Maria landed one of the most coveted prizes at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show – and, according to her former tutor, has placed her among the foremost garden designers in the world.

Ula, who studied BA and an MA in Landscape Architecture at BCU after moving to the UK from Lithuania, made her debut at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2024.

The Forest Bathing Garden was a collaboration with Muscular Dystrophy UK and was described as "a much-needed place of solace and reflection for those affected by a muscle-wasting condition". 

3. Emily John

Emily John, who graduated from our BA (Hons) Illustration course in 2023, has become the School of Architecture’s first Artist in Residency. 

Despite not being a graduate of an Architecture course, Emily said: “The fact that I was given this opportunity shows me that the staff at BCU have a real respect for interdisciplinary relationships and understand the wider context of their discipline. That gives me a lot of hope because we need to build connections with each other to move forward and to face the pressing problems that we are encountering.”

Emily’s practice is relevant to Architecture because of its shared materiality and its relevance to building sustainable practices. She is looking to reapply industrial technologies to create more contemporary forms of print; both 2D and 3D, and with a particular focus on ceramics. 

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4. Elsie Gribbon

Interior Architecture and Design student Elsie Gribbon has been heralded as a “neurodiversity champion” using her autism as an advantage to take home a Women in Property (WIP) National Student Award.

More than 100 students entered the WIP awards programme in 2023, but Elsie’s passion for the built environment shone through and secured her first prize.

Elsie said: “This special award has allowed me to reflect on my experiences, grow professionally and gain the confidence to inspire other women in the property industry.

“I became aware of how advantageous my neurodiversity can be as it makes me a creative problem solver with great attention to detail, high motivation on project-driven tasks and a willingness to lead with compassion and empathy.”

 5. Kathryn Moore

Professor of Landscape Architecture, Kathyrn Moore, is one of the many advocating for a new BCU-backed project to create an urban national park in the West Midlands.

Kathryn and the project West Midlands National Park (WMNP), received recognition from the prestigious Rosa Barba Casanovas International Landscape Architecture Prize, which is also recognised by the Government’s Research Excellence Framework for its originality, significance and rigour.

For more than 25 years Professor Kathryn Moore has explored the conceptual and practical implications of an integrated understanding of landscape.  

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