During our interview series the judges will tell us what they are looking out for in a winning entry and why they think you should enter the WAN awards.
Yasmin Shariff is a practising chartered architect and director of Dennis Sharp Architects. She has won several awards for sustainable and innovative designs and has campaigned for sustainable development and diversity throughout her career, regularly contributing articles to professional journals. Her most recent research focuses on the Modern Movement Houses of Nairobi, Kenya.
Why should people enter the WAN awards? What are the benefits in your view?
Entering the awards gives practices an opportunity to reflect on what they have achieved. It is a great opportunity to gauge how well the designs stand up in the international arena. The process builds confidence and sharpens presentation skills.
What attracted you to becoming a judge for the WAN awards?
Participating as a judge helps me keep up to date with the latest ideas and projects and enables me to meet some very inspiring people.
What sort of scheme would you most like to see among the entries?
Schemes that respond inspiringly to social and climate change issues.
Tell us about the projects you’re most proud of: Bayford Grange is a restoration project of an early Georgian country villa. This heritage building had been poorly maintained and the client was paying around £1,000 a week just for the heating oil. We managed to bring the heating cost down to £25 a week and incorporate renewable and energy efficient systems seamlessly into the buildings. The gardens were redesigned so the spaces inside and outside flow beautifully. We helped the client select sculptures to enhance the landscape and main living rooms and undertook the interior design with some impressive eco materials including graphene paint that absorbs CO2. The house is now 21st century technology ready and will serve the owners for another generation.
Strawdance is a strawbale dance studio that we designed and helped build 23 years ago. This project, built for just £5,000, continues to bring joy and a community spirit.