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Established in 2021, the IAF Graduate Panel offers a discursive and collaborative space to share ideas and an opportunity to link with the IAF’s core programme. We’d like to introduce you to our eight panelists over a series of interviews.
Meet Jessica Keller, Graduate Architect, TAKA Architects.
Jessica is an architectural graduate whose interest lies in placemaking and understanding the social and material fabric of the landscape through drawing and model making. She graduated from the School of Architecture, University of Limerick in 2020. As an architectural intern, she has worked in offices in Ireland and Canada. Now based in Dublin, she works as a graduate architect for TAKA architects.
Tell us about the work you’re currently involved in.
As a graduate architect, I am working in an architecture office, TAKA Architects, that deals with various scales of project types. Currently engaged in public, domestic and exhibition work, I’m very appreciative of all the invaluable experience I’m gaining that will help contribute to my career moving forward. In tandem with this, I’m working with my colleague Róisín Cahill in the ongoing initiative with the IAF Graduate Panel.
What drew you to a career in architecture? What are your aspirations?
I was quite unsure about pursuing a career in architecture to begin with; it was curiosity more so than anything. Then an unexpected delight when I realised how I could communicate through a variety of mediums to express spaces that observers could relate to or empathise with on some level.
On reflection, curiosity has been consistent throughout my education and career so far, and I’d like to keep learning. There are so many supportive and knowledgeable people within this community, I would be content in just taking it all in for the moment.
Why did you decide to join the IAF Graduate Panel? What are your expectations?
With the past two years in mind, I joined the IAF Graduate Panel to connect with a larger network of individuals and communities who are actively engaging with Irish architectural discourse, and to contribute collectively with other architectural graduates on the panel through peer learning.
Throughout this new programme, the IAF have been an amazing resource to build what is hopefully going to be a long lasting initiative, to connect architectural graduates with the public and practitioners.
What area of architectural practice are you most interested in and hoping to further develop your career in?
Graduating in 2020, I’m still figuring this out as I take the next steps into my career. With an initial interest in degrees of repurposing architectural elements to enhance an essence of place, I have a lot of fun with continuous learning in different areas of architectural practice – especially when I take away a new piece of knowledge from one area that can inform another. The small connections that are made can give a more holistic approach to a project. I just hope to develop myself and my own way of thinking through that process of working in a bit of everything.
Tell us about a contemporary Irish building or contemporary building designed by (an) Irish architect(s) that you admire?
A contemporary project I have been consistently revisiting is St. Mary’s Medieval Mile Museum designed by McCullough Mulvin. Growing up by a monastic ruin, walking around its perimeter brought back very fond memories and feelings of exploring an unknown. Only in addition to this, I was finding pieces of lead treasure attached to the restored 13th-century church when turning a corner. And the contents are just as captivating.