Architect Zara Moon is forging a reputation for her innovative, ground-breaking designs.
When Zara Moon set her sights on becoming an architect she was determined to succeed. Multi-talented, and with lots of determination, this feisty Northern girl was a top performer on her university course, and at the age of 30 she has fulfilled another dream of being one of the few female architects to head up her own business.
Burnley-born, it soon became evident that Zara’s determination and quest for perfection would dominate. She was part of Team GB’s endurance horse riders and became the best in the UK, travelling to Italy, Dubai and Bahrain to compete.
Setting up her own business last year after spending five years working as an architect in Liverpool, was a big step for Zara but it has been one that she has relished.
“I always knew I wanted to set up on my own and it just seemed the right time to do it,” explains Zara, who is currently refurbishing three-storey premises in Colne where her business, Zara Moon Architects, is based.
From the moment she started practising as an architect, Zara has forged a reputation not only for her approachability, but for her practical living and working spaces.
“I love working with existing buildings as well as new build,” she says. “Sometimes when you are working on an existing building, it’s like one big puzzle that needs to be solved. The outcome has to be fit for purpose – something that will transform people’s lives, through the environment in which they live, work and play. That’s what my business ethos is all about.”
“It’s also about listening to people and maybe coming up with ideas and an outcome that they had not previously considered. It has to work for the client and for the people using a particular building,” explains Zara, who has worked on numerous prestigious projects since setting up last May.
These have included:
A barn conversion in an area of Special Landscape Value in Helmshore saw Zara create a contemporary glazed walkway to link areas of the building, and opening up another part of the conversion to double height: “It allowed for maximum light to flood into the building, and taking advantage of the fantastic views,” explains Zara.
NEW BUILD LUXURY HOMES
Zara has worked on a prestigious development of four £2 million four-storey properties in Bolton, featuring basement garages with car turntables, and roof gardens. She was asked to develop the client’s vision into workable designs for the construction phase.
BURNLEY FC COMMUNITY PROJECT
Burnley Football Club, in a collaboration with Zara Moon Architects, has developed a one stop shop community facility incorporating the already existing Burnley Food Bank. Following a change of use, the building on Charter Walk in the town centre, will feature a teaching kitchen, a café and library, to promote healthy active lifestyles. With an industrial aesthetic, Zara is using raw materials, which have been donated by local companies.
EX-MILITARY COMMUNITY PROJECT
Zara Moon Architects are the chosen architects to design the refurbishment of an existing building for a community project involving ex-military personnel in Ramsbottom, with the potential for securing lottery funding.
Zara Moon Architects has a grounding in construction and Zara is also part of the construction company Lancashire Masonry, which specialises in stonework. The company has worked on many high profile projects upwards of £1million including Sawley Hall, Clitheroe, Cliff Castle, Keighley and the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution). Together Zara Moon Architects and Lancashire Masonry work collaboratively on many of their current projects.
“I love working on community projects. I also like working with stone buildings as they reference the traditional but I love contemporary interiors too. Basically I listen to my clients and I am very hands-on. I am constantly in touch with them, I do lots of site visits, which is my favourite part of the job. I just find architecture so exciting!”
“Since setting up in business on my own I have worked on so many interesting projects,” adds Zara, who feels strongly about the role women play in the industry.
Teaching part time at the University of Liverpool, where she was a student, has also given her a greater insight into how young women can progress through the ranks.
“I love teaching and seeing students grow in confidence. When I was at university I didn’t have much confidence. I was viewed as ‘the Northern girl’ but I was so determined!”
“It’s pretty unusual to see a young, female architect heading her own business, but I hope I can set an example to other young women in careers like architecture and construction.”
“I absolutely love my job and the people I meet. I think all my clients consider me really approachable. They can ask me anything about the project – and I think that’s really important.”