I absolutely love watching programmes such as Location, Location, Location, and Grand Designs.
I absolutely love watching programmes such as Location, Location, Location, and Grand Designs. I always find myself looking at architecture and buildings too. As a result, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to an interview with Zaha Hadid on Radio 4 this week, and to learn that she has been awarded the Royal Gold Medal for architecture from the Royal Institute of British Architects in recognition of her body of work - an accolade whose previous recipients include Frank Lloyd Wright, Frank Gehry and Lord Norman Foster.
Zaha is one of only three women to have received the award; her designs include the Aquatics Centre constructed for the 2012 London Olympics, the Maxxi Museum in Rome and the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in London – all stunning forms of art, design and engineering. Professor Peter Cook described Zaha as ‘our heroine’ and said her work was ‘special’. In the interview, I gained an insight into how Zaha ‘ventured where few would dare’ – with building designs ranging from the small to monumental, many of them complex and intricate tours de force, made possible by advanced computational methods and engineering. Zaha explained how she moved to the UK at the age of 17 and has gradually built a business to include a dozen architects with 400 employees. The self confidence that allows her to command such a ‘big ship’ could cause some to feel uneasy, but throughout the interview, there was no doubt that Zaha has unquestionable talent and a ‘boldness’ that I really admire. She mentioned the need for there to be no ‘glass ceiling’ - refusing to be pinned down as a woman. Zaha’s professional success and fame are clearly based on her talent and hard work. She was honest about how difficult it is to be a woman in architecture. Her success, she said is ‘due to perseverance, determination, and focus’ – qualities I firmly believe in.
The concept of the ‘glass ceiling’ - the unseen, yet unbreakable barrier that keeps women from rising to the upper rungs of the corporate ladder, regardless of their qualifications or achievements is important. I want all our girls at Invicta to understand that this can be broken. To take on board Zaha’s ‘boldness’ is key, I believe, to our approach at Invicta. So, when this week, we have had students demonstrate just this, I am incredibly proud. I have been lucky enough to watch our Year 7 – 13 students lead a United Nations Conference with children from Lunsford, Offham and Mereworth Primary School. They discussed international politics and relations with great self-assurance. Our Amnesty International group led a Human Rights’ Workshop with Aylesford Primary School and over 24 piano soloists from Years 7 – 12 provided us with a delightful evening of charming music at our Piano Soiree. The students involved in these activities have pushed their own boundaries and as such, are on the way to ‘breaking that glass ceiling’! As we embark upon a week whereby we have students participating in the ‘Invicta Speaks Competition’ I shall look forward to seeing our students’ work described as ‘special’ – just like Zaha! I have no doubt that this will be the case.