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News > Alumnae Interviews > 10 Questions with... Funmbi Adeagbo

10 Questions with... Funmbi Adeagbo

We talked to Funmbi about her career as an architect, the valuable advice she received growing up, and the feeling of unrestricted creativity when at school.
30 Oct 2023
Written by Sian Ellis
Alumnae Interviews

Funmbi Adeagbo (No.1, 2006-10), is an architect and newly elected council member at the Royal Institute of British Architects, London. Giving an insight into the work she currently does, she sees herself as a practical architect, treating space as a technical and artistic challenge with a vital focus on sustainability. She talks to us about her love of painting and sketching while at Roedean, and how an honest piece of advice at school, helped her push forward through the challenging path to her chosen career.

1. What is your favourite memory of Roedean?

This is a hard one. I was fairly social and enjoyed my time with friends. However, I would say the quiet evenings in the art room sketching or painting away were grand. It’s very hard to recreate the sense of unrestricted creativity where you can really let loose.  Nowadays there’s all the busy-ness of adulthood. Also, the shock of having to buy materials and realising how expensive it quickly gets. I really value the time I had.

 

2. What was the best piece of advice you were given whilst at School?

Don’t study architecture if you want an easy ride! Our careers advisor at the time (Ms Davies) was very honest and frank about how challenging my degree and chosen career would be. Especially as a woman. I didn’t go in with a sugar-coated view. I knew how gruelling it would be and, in a way, it’s kept me going. To be where I am now, is very much my decision.

 

3. When you were at Roedean, what did you want to be when you ‘grew-up’?

I didn’t really have a clear vision of what type of career I wanted to have. I just wanted to be someone who was of impact and didn’t let the resources spent on me to go to waste. "A good education is a gift, and this should be shared." Those were the principles imparted by my Dad when I stepped into the doors of Roedean and those were what I took with me, stepping out. That and the mental image of him muttering in the background “Please don’t ‘waste’ my money.”

 

4. What are you now you’ve grown up?

We are all still growing up daily. Currently, I’m a practicing architect and newly elected representative on the RIBA council for London. I’m slowly trying to do what I set out to do. When opportunities come, I try to always say, yes. Achieving what I want from my adult life/career is an evolving journey not a destination.

 

5. What does your job involve?

I design spaces… buildings. Homes, workspaces, if opportune, community spaces. I would say I’m a very practical architect. I treat space as both a technical and artistic challenge. You have to balance priorities and expectations because there is generally limited time and financial resources. In today’s climate sustainability is also vital. In my opinion, this should have always been the case but hopefully the industry is waking up.

 

6. What have you done that you are most proud of?

Being a good daughter and sister to my family. Work is work and I pride myself in always challenging people and myself to do better in whatever line of work you partake in. But yeah, I would still say the things I’m most proud of is being there for those closest to me.

 

7. What are the three objects you would take with you to a desert island?

A knife, rope and bottle. I’m a practical person.

 

8. What books have had a significant influence on you and why?

I'm going to be stubborn and pass. Ask my sisters! I love consuming knowledge but I’m by no means a bookworm. I’m not going to pretend I can get through long text without nodding off. I’m dyslexic so I tend to learn by engaging other senses. I used to doodle or focus on images to remember… Anyway children, please read your books! This is still a good thing and is very important.

 

9. What is on your bucket list?

Learning to swim properly so I don’t need a life jacket in open water. I’d love to swim with dolphins.

 

10. If you had one year and unlimited funds, what would you do?

Travel as much as possible! Eat all the cuisines and learn every style of dance possible. For every country I’d visit I would pick one social and one physical issue to donate £10 million to someone or an organisation who genuinely are trying to make change happen.

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