Kirsten Lees – Episode 38

Our guest this week is the architect Kirsten Lees, Managing Partner at Grimshaw Architects.

Kirsten was elected as the London studio’s first female Managing Partner in May 2018. In a somewhat unique arrangement Grimshaw’s Managing Partner is elected by the studio’s nine Partners for a three year term, renewable once, helping to balance renewal and stability in the practice’s senior leadership.

Kirsten was born in Scotland and studied architecture at the University of Glasgow before taking a year out to work in Spain. She later worked for the Practice Bach y Mora Arquitectos before returning to the UK to work for Michael Wilford and Associates, and then going on to join Grimshaw in 1997.

Grimshaw was founded in 1980 by Sir Nicholas Grimshaw and the practice has gone on to build a huge range of iconic buildings including the Eden Project, the National Space centre in Leicester and the former Eurostar Terminal at Waterloo in London. Indeed the practice maintains a strong reputation for its legacy of transport and infrastructure buildings.

As well as her Managing Partner role, Kirsten continues to work on a number of projects across the arts, sports and masterplanning – areas of work the practice are keen to expand on.

The practice has undergone a huge internationalisation – with projects and offices in New York, Doha, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, Melbourne, Sydney and of course in London.

For this week’s episode we joined Kirsten in the practice’s Clerkenwell studio.