For many young people, being an architect is a dream job. But what does a normal workday look like? And what makes a good employer? In the interview, Leda Kremmyda, architect at oow from Berlin, talks about her very personal journey.
I think I was born into it! (laughs) My father is also an architect. He was responsible for urban development in Athens, our hometown. I grew up surrounded by drawings, paintings and models. We talked day and night about what places should look like that will make people feel comfortable. The idea of becoming an architect was probably already planted in my head before I even knew what it meant.
After studying architecture at the National University in Athens, I did my master’s degree and initially worked as a freelancer. Then I took off to London. There, I worked at an architecture firm: it was ambitious, but slightly smaller than oow. I have been part of the oow team for two years now: for me it is the perfect workplace in the perfect city. Berlin is still changing and we all inspire each other. For me, it’s the place to be!
I am much more content with my work! (laughs) Yeah, I’m really happy about the way I can work here. And apart from my personal situation I have also developed professionally. I have grown in many ways and today I work in all areas: from design to the actual construction.
In London, I worked mostly on my own. With oow I got to know a different way of working. We talk to each other a lot, put our designs up on the wall and discuss them. Is this the best solution there is? Or is there another option to design the room in an even better way so that the residents will feel comfortable in it? We are all similar in age, that makes things easier. And it is a great feeling to develop ourselves and our projects together.
We planned a sanatorium for 80 residents in Bonn. An old, heritage-listed villa will be preserved and integrated into the design. As chief architect, I was involved in the sanatorium project from the very first sketch – here too, of course, we visualised everything three-dimensionally. The same is true for one of my other projects: the rooftop bar 260 degrees at Mercedes Platz in Berlin. That way, already at the planning stage, we were able to visualise what makes the bar stand out today: for example the interplay between the interior and the spectacular view over Berlin or the great design details such as the bar counter made of polished copper. It’s always exciting when you stand in the building for the first time and realise: Hey, this all works pretty well!
Our profession is very creative and that is something I really enjoy. So, yeah, that stereotype is actually true. However, very few people are aware of how we are primarily problem solvers in our day-to-day work. This is less exciting but just as fascinating. (laughs) You have to be pragmatic and, above all, plan in a cost-efficient way. We can’t ever forget: In the end someone has to pay for the building, everything has to work.
In London, the atmosphere was a little formal at times, here, everything is much more relaxed. People reinvent themselves here, again and again, and many exciting things happen in architecture and art. I want to be involved in that!