An Interview with Anita Rebaudo
This year we are featuring blogs about our people and giving them a platform to share their stories.
We spotlight our Associate Architect, Anita Rebaudo in our new ‘Inspire Interview’ feature, where we hear from our team – what their professional journey has been like so far and their advice and inspirations.
Tells us about your career journey to date and what attracted you to a career in the built environment.
I’d love to say that I have always had a passion for designing buildings, but it would be a bit of a fib, as I have had a bit of a diverse career journey to where I am today.
In secondary school, I loved studying design and technology and IT. I had a brief fling with the construction industry at 15 when I decided to jump from A-levels and go and learn about the building trade at a local college. Unfortunately, vocational pathways back in my day were not very good, and within half a day, I had walked out of the college and begged my school to take me back.
Due to the rush of switching back, I made a snap decision and signed up to do Physics, Maths and Chemistry. The best decision, it turned out, as I realised I had a severe thirst for knowledge, and it’s where I learnt that I like rules (I just don’t always choose to follow them!)
Destined for a Formula One pit crew job, I excitedly began Automotive Engineering at the University of Leeds. Funding issues led to a part-time job working reception at a gym alongside working in a restaurant. I started to like the university scene less and less. Ultimately I dropped out in my second year and worked full-time in the gym, working my way up the ladder and picking up fitness qualifications.
The jump to architecture was again rather by chance, and I’m (slightly ashamed to say) that my boyfriend heavily influenced me at the time – his sister was an architect, and I thought she was “so cool and in control”.
So when my fitness career dived in early September of 2004, I made another mad rush decision to try and get on an architectural course. Fortunately, despite my lack of drawing skills, Leeds Beckett University took one look at my qualifications and gave me a place.
Nothing could have prepared me for my first day when I arrived in the studio surrounded by fresh-faced 18-year-old design students whom all knew their 2H from their 2B and fine-line pens from charcoal. I think it’s fair that I still don’t know my pencil weights, but I don’t care much as long as I have a blue Bic biro (medium tip, obviously).
I joined Bowman Riley in my year out and hated office work; after the student life and split-shift life of my working career for almost a decade. I was forced to sit in one spot from 8.30 am to 5 pm. Fortunately, I met a university friend at lunch on my first day who convinced me that I should at least see the day out… 15yrs later, I’m still here, working in the most diverse job for a company I love!
What’s your favourite thing about Bowman Riley?
Despite my first-day wobbles adjusting to office life, Bowman Riley has always felt like a second family, and my colleagues have supported me through some of the toughest times in my life. I love how the company has grown and developed over the years, unafraid to try new things and diversify – it has encouraged me to do the same with my architectural career.
I love the eclectic mix of people and the collective depth of knowledge, meaning you are never alone when problem-solving.
What was your first job?
I went to work with my dad in the restaurant at about 15 and loved it. I would have made it my career if it had paid more and if my mum hadn’t drilled into me that it was not a long-term career option!
What’s been your career highlight to date?
It has to be The Garden Pavilion and Bar 88 at Grantley Hall.
Despite the super long hours and steep learning curve, this phenomenally rewarding project accelerated my experience exponentially. It was a once-in-a-career project, but I remain hopeful of another in the future.
What piece of advice would you give someone entering the industry?
Trust yourself and speak up but be open to other opinions and don’t become annoying.
Strive for good relationships and respect others but don’t get walked on.
Most importantly, make the decisions you can sleep with at night because, ultimately, the buck stops with you!
What’s your claim to fame?
I was once filmed singing in Italian with my primary school for the local TV news.
My mum and dad had spent the weekend listening to “Volare” on repeat for about 3 hours to handwrite and duplicate the lyrics. After two days of practising and being filmed, they cut out our bit!
Tells us something people might not know about you
Most people know I teach fitness classes outside of work, but I am also a fully qualified Personal Trainer and Sports Massage Therapist.