Senior architect and company director Isobel Middle.

Senior architect and company director Isobel Middle.


1. Tell us a bit about yourself.


I’m a qualified architect with over 20 years of experience.  I studied at Newcastle university for my degree then I relocated to Portsmouth Univeristy for my RIBA Part 2.


Shortly after that I moved to London and worked there for a number of years, working for various different practices.


Before moving back to Cardiff, I was working for TP Bennett, one of the country’s top fit-out practices.  I was a director there also.


To get out of the South-East/London, I decided to move back to Cardiff for bit more of a work-life balance.  I’m very happy to be working for HLN as a director again.


2. What inspired you to become an architect?


When I was 12 years old I read a book about Christopher Wren.  He had this capacity for math and science and he was also good at drawing.


I thought to myself, ‘I can do all those things, this is something I can do!’.


During careers advice at school, the mentors advised me that no-one had decided to study architecture from my school for over 15 years, so I thought, ‘Right!  That’s definitely what I’m going to do!’.


3. How long have you been working at HLN Engineering Ltd?


For the last 3 years.  It’s not the first time I’ve worked here, though – I was here for close to three years, approximately 12 years ago.


4. What does a typical day look like for you?


I don’t think I have a typical day!


It really depends on what sort of projects I’m working on.  Sometimes I’m travelling around the country, going to client or contractor meetings.


Other days I’m in the office looking at spreadsheets and reviewing drawings that are about to be issued, as-well as attending internal management meetings.


It really is varied – just the way I like it!


5. Do you only work with commercial clients, or do you offer this service to domestic clients as-well?


I tend to work with commercial clients although we do have a core base of domestic clients that we work with.


This side of the business is actually growing in size/scope, which is great.


The type of work we do for domestic clients varies from loft conversions to house extensions, even barn conversions.


6. What project are you currently working on?


I’ve just been assigned to the Nationwide team, which is a UK wide re-brand/refurbishment project.


I’m also working with the engineering department on the Rockwool project in Brigend.  Planning was recently approved and work is due to commence on site very soon.


That’s actually a very large engineering project, so the involvement of the architecture team is very much to do with planning and assisting with the design of a number of buildings.


I’m also working on a care home in Essex and we’ve just got planning permission for a golf club-house in Buckinghamshire, which I’m looking forward to.


7. What do you think the future holds for architecture?


Good question.  Moving forward, there will be a greater focus on delivering exactly what the client needs.  Unfortunately, more and more companies are seeking more cost-effective ways of delivering buildings through contractors, effectively bypassing the architect.


The role of the architect is certainly changing – it’s seems to be less about the aesthetics and more about the practicalities of a building.


Sustainability is also a major issue, in particular building energy use and material waste.  Communicating the importance of sustainability in architecture to clients is one of our key tasks, and something that architects in general need to push more.


For more information on our architectural design services, get in touch with Isobel today.

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