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Inspiring Women 2017 – Swansea University

One of the women nominated to represent the University during their month of celebrating Inspiring Women 2017 was SPECIFIC Building Integration Manager Joanna Morgan.

Joanna is a registered Architect with over 15 years of experience working as a Project Architect in a commercial practice. Jo joined the SPECIFIC Innovation and Knowledge Centre working for the College of Engineering in 2014. As Building Integration Manager, Jo is involved in the creation of large scale demonstrators that include the energy generation, storage and release technologies developed at SPECIFIC, with the aim of turning buildings into power stations. During her career, Jo gained an extensive understanding of the construction industry and has been chosen many times to share her knowledge as a speaker at industrial and public events including Ecobuild and the British Science Festival.

Jo recently designed SPECIFIC’s flagship demonstrator, the Active Classroom, based at the Bay Campus. With excellent time management and multitasking skills and an endless supply of patience, Jo not only designed the innovative building but also project managed the entire construction from funding to feedback – all under extreme time constraints and pressure. Relentlessly upbeat, Jo’s sunny disposition has meant that even under adverse conditions balancing designing, project managing (as well as pitching in and working on the construction site), she has done so with a smile on her face and is a pleasure to work with.

Jo’s attention to detail is a great asset to the project and when designing the classroom, she incorporated a multitude of features to bolster its green credentials. Features included a living wall sown with seedlings from the Site of Special Scientific Interest that the Bay Campus is built on. Jo arranged for this to be planted with the help of local schoolchildren which featured on BBC’s Newsround. Jo’s dedication to the job overlapped with her love of arts and crafts. To make the Active Classroom aesthetically pleasing and to show how this can be done by re-using items that would normally be thrown away, she created many finishing touches at home in her spare time. This included making furnishings; growing the seedlings ready for the living wall; melting down crayons to create beautiful coloured tiles for the walls and repurposing cable drums as stools for the kitchen area.

Jo’s passion for sustainable architecture has meant she is heavily involved in educating both industry professionals through CPD seminars and events, as well as schoolchildren. Jo is a registered STEM ambassador and regularly holds events and workshops for schools to introduce them to the sustainable building technologies of the future and inspire the next generation of architects in sustainability.

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