A new generation of practitioners are challenging our definitions of experts and expertise and calling for more diverse voices to be heard. Citizen talks to some of the innovators and entrepreneurs who are working across and beyond professional boundaries to improve city life.

Tara Gbolade: Gbolade Design Studio

Tara Gbolade

Tara Gbolade is an architect, app developer and co-founder of Gbolade Design Studio, a practice focused on architecture, property and product development

What drives you?
I truly believe that our imagination has the power to change lives. Architecture and app development change the way everyday people experience and interact with the world around them, allowing them to live fuller and more sustainable lives. That’s why we developed the MyPart3 app, which aids architecture students undertaking their Part 3 qualification and the r-Home, an off-site housing system that focuses on social connectivity and family flexibility.

What barriers have you had to overcome to get where you are today?
I’m young(ish), black and female. I’ve had to contend with this through my career. However, I’ve also been surrounded by brilliant MDs, mentors and clients, who have challenged, inspired and believed in me. These are my personal heroes and I’m forever grateful for their support. Understanding the challenges faced people from a BAME background inspired me to start the Paradigm Network: a professional network that champions BAME representation within the built environment. We’ve been fortunate to be supported by forward-thinking companies including Jestico + Whiles, Sarah Wigglesworth Architects, Brick by Brick, and Build Studios.

What’s your business model?
We’re archipreneurial in our approach to what a successful practice looks like. With a small core team, we take a collaborative approach to working with creative architects, app developers and property experts – which means  my working weeks are incredibly diverse, educational and fun.