Hannah started her career as a Structural Engineer, studying at The University of Liverpool and gaining a first class masters degree in Civil and Structural Engineering. She worked for several different engineering consultancies, from the large scale multi disciplinary firm Arup, to smaller local firms.
She excelled in her work, but somehow felt dissatisfied with the buildings she was responsible for. She wanted to design ecological building that were low impact on the environment, beautiful buildings that complimented the landscape they are set in, and that required minimum energy to function.
Hannah returned to her studies at the Centre for Alternative Technology, successfully completing an MSc in Architecture – Environmental and Energy Studies. This was a fantastic course, enabling Hannah to learn a new approach to building design using natural, sustainable materials, and learning the principles of passive building design. During this time she attended a course in straw bale building, and instantly caught the straw bale building bug – there was no turning back!
In 2010 Hannah was lucky enough to have the opportunity to work for amazonails as a straw bale building designer. This gave her the ideal opportunity to combine her creative and technical skills to create buildings that she was passionate about.
Hannah has continued to work with Barbara and the Straw Works team, and has been involved in a wide range of straw bale buildings, from houses to allotment buildings, each individual and unique in their own right. Her experience as an engineer allows Hannah to create buildings that are simple and easy to construct, and ensures that material use is economical, also a very important part in sustainable design.
Hannah broke her back in 2012 and lost the use of her legs. Life dramatically changed and she has been a wheelchair user since then. One of the first buildings Hannah had designed had just been built, and Barbara came and picked her up from the hospital to take her to the opening day. Ironically she got to test the disability access she had designed herself, thankfully she managed to get up the ramp!
As a wheelchair user, Hannah can now approach accessible design from a fresh perspective, and have a greater understanding of the needs of people with disabilities. We are just lucky that Hannah is still able to continue with the work that she loves, creating beautiful, natural healthy homes and buildings that make people feel good. You couldn’t do that with concrete!