Posted: 23.08.2016

Student Grace Baker was so inspired by the transformation of her school, Woodlands, she decided architecture was the career for her.


After speaking to her school’s business manager, Grace was put in contact with us, as the architects who designed their new school. We were able to offer her work experience at our Derby office, an experience that further cemented her ambition to become an architect.

Now Grace has just received two A* and an A in her A Levels, securing her a place at The University of Edinburgh to study architecture.


Grace comments: “During my A-levels, our new school was under construction on the same site as the original. In spite of the intermittent sound of drilling, to watch a building rise from the classroom window was inspiring and sparked further my interest in the design behind the new structure.”


After expressing an interest in urban design, maber gave me three different sites in Derby, identified as areas requiring development in the 2030 city masterplan and asked me to develop ideas for one of them.

I visited St Mary’s Gate, which contains a high proportion of listed buildings. Many of these buildings, originally used by Derby City Council, are now vacant while large areas of space dedicated for parking surrounding Middleton House seem relatively wasted.

My vision was of an area that would both encourage and promote creative industries and city centre living, whilst harnessing the potential offered by a growing student population in Derby.


Lee Smith, our Associate who oversaw Grace’s time at maber comments:
“We are very pleased that our work at Woodlands School not only created a modern and efficient learning environment but has also inspired Grace to follow her passion for architecture. As a practice, we are always looking for ways to support and nurture the next generation of architects and would like to congratulate Grace on securing her place at university.”


My experience at maber both confirmed architecture as the route for me and through the support and advice from the Derby team at maber, I learned a range of new skills and developed confidence in my ability to use them in the future.