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My name is Laura, and I am a qualified architect and mother. It's fair to say that up to this point, I have dedicated almost half of my life to the field of architecture. I left home at eighteen when I decided to enroll for my Bachelor's Degree at Manchester School of Architecture. Since then, I completed three Master's degrees and worked in various offices across the UK (ESA Capita, dMFK Architects, Fletcher Priest Architects) and the Netherlands (MVRDV) where I currently live. My journey had an upward trajectory in terms of career until the moment I had my first child and decided to move to my partner's hometown, a small, picturesque, and (very) traditional Dutch village by the coast. In 2019, I started my own architectural practice - Atelier Umbra. While this experience was and is not without its challenges, it gave me a sense of agency and put my life into perspective.

Fitting in personally and professionally, trying to adapt my skills to an unfamiliar environment, and growing into my new-found identity as a mother found me tossed into the unknown. This left me thinking: how can I create a support network for mothers who are, just like me, facing the everyday challenge of balancing their personal and professional life? What are our stories and what can we learn from each other? 

So this is me reaching out to you, all architect mothers out there that are in search of a place to talk, willing to share experiences and ideas or that are simply looking for a virtual community bringing together resources, research, and informed opinions. It is still unclear to me how this space will evolve, but what I do know is that this idea has the incredible potential of helping us re-define the perception of motherhood not only for ourselves but also for those witnessing our journey.

While I am not aiming for this space to become a journal of my day-to-day life, I will kick off through a series of posts that will hopefully get the conversation going. Thinking ahead, my mind is racing -  I am aspiring for this platform to take a life of its own and become a hub of support and information for all those of us that are balancing maternity and career. I am therefore dedicating this online platform to us, to our collective experience. Who knows what wonderful things we can achieve together?

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