Name: Jenny Etheridge

MSA Role: President

Manchester Practice: Ellis Williams Architects


  1. Why Architecture?

From a young age I had an obsession of monitoring the local property pages! – buildings have always been for as long as I can remember a great interest. This, combined with my methodical and creative educational style, Architecture seemed to be the perfect career which blended these skillsets.

  1. What drives your passion for Architecture?

Architecture, design & space have a daily impact on everyone’s lives daily in some way. I am particularly passionate about how Architects have the opportunity to indirectly change how people live and work in a positive way. From how we navigate the city, to how we feel in our homes or workplaces, architecture and design play a pivotal role in shaping the way we live.

  1. How did your architecture education and career journey to date, bring you to working in Manchester?

I grew up in a small town in the South Lakes, opportunities for Architecture were near impossible, therefore on completion of my A-levels I left my small hometown for city life! I set my sights on the undergraduate Architecture course at Nottingham Trent University.

Following graduation from my Part1 course, in an effort to save some money I relocated back to Cumbria where I accepted the Part 1 Placement job offer from Harrison Pitt Architects in Lancaster. My year at Harrison Pitt Architects provided clarity architecture was for me and began to feel excited about what was to come in the years ahead. My part one placement equipped me with the experience and skill set required to continue with the next step of my architectural career – I enrolled on the Masters course at Manchester School of Architecture.

Having grown up isolated at the end of the Furness Peninsular, Manchester was the closet ‘big city’, I had frequently visited from a young age. The city felt familiar and in 2015 there appealed to be a really prosperous feeling about the place. I enjoyed the Masters course at MSA more than I anticipated. After graduation, Manchester’s skyline was thriving with construction activity. I had loved studying in Manchester and was eager to secure work in the city.

I secured a job at Buttress Architects in the summer of 2017 and worked at the leading design practice for five years. I sat my Part 3 exam at Buttress and was fortunate to work with really great people on some really great projects during my time there.

I am now a Senior Architect at Ellis Williams Architects, I am very excited to work with the amazing team at EWA, working within the Manchester office over this next stage of my architectural career.

  1. What do you enjoy the most about being an Architect in Manchester?

Manchester is a city which pays homage to its rich industrial past whilst reflecting vibrant innovative architecture across the city. It is a city with ambition & confidence – this in line with the scale of the city makes it a really exciting place to be able to make a difference.

  1. What was it that made you decide to run for Manchester Society of Architects President?

I became involved in the MSA around 5 years ago. Following studying, qualifying, and working in the city I was keen to give something back by contributing to the future of the city.

For me, becoming the president of the MSA enables the opportunity to work with passionate, intelligent, and creative individuals from varying roles to fulfill our society’s ethos:

to champion and to nuture the current and future architects of Manchester’

To be able to chair a society where we can make a potential impact to the city and its inhabitants is a daunting yet exciting and would encourage everyone to engage and become involved. I’m honored to be following in some renowned footsteps.

  1. What is your favourite Manchester Building?

I have two for different reasons –

Whitworth Art Gallery – The late Victorian building has been beautifully restored with a new elegant extension. I love the projection and connection to Whitworth Park, the reflections of the park back onto the glazing. The building is bold yet sensitive, subtle yet clever.

The Whitworth - new west elevation
The Whitworth - new west elevation

The Express Building – When I first began working in the city my morning walking commute would take me past this striking building. I was taken aback by the chrome curves and tinted glass. A real classy building standing proud on Great Ancoats Street.

Express Building
The Express Building
  1. What advice would you give a young person wanting a career in architecture?

Architecture requires hard work, be prepared for this but is a very rewarding career… Ask the silly questions, explore various practices, embrace criticism, and keep sketching!

  1. What do you do in your spare time?

As much as I love my job, time away from my desk is important. I am a keen runner, last year completing Manchester half marathon, I have my sights set on a European marathon this year! Growing up in the South Lakes, being outdoors is important, I love a long countryside walk!

  1. In your opinion – energy and sustainability aside, what is likely to be the biggest game changer in our built environment in the next 50 years?

Firstly, is preparing for increased city density: Our cities need to grow at a rapid rate to accommodate the growing population. We need to find ways to address the issues of creating housing, not just for the current population but also for the additional 3billion on their way.

Secondly is AI: It is daunting to contemplate how quickly technology advances, however there is no doubt in 2070 AI will be shaping our environments in some way, therefore we need the skillset to adapt. We will learn to work differently, just like CAD and Revit didn’t displace Architects it transformed workflows. Embracing the new tools and evolving knowledge will be key, Architects must remain current and continually update their skill sets.

  1. What is one thing you believe we should be talking about in architecture that isn’t discussed?

Fees, value, & the image of the Architect. Key themes which the Manchester Society of Architects will be running a series of events and conversations on over the next 12 months.