Polina Pencheva

Associate, Morris + Company

From a very young age I was fascinated by the act of making. A child, like many others, with wild imagination; I was reading and making-up stories about lost ancient cities and undiscovered worlds and then ‘building’ the vehicles and spaces that would take me there.

In my early teenage years, my imagination evolved into a notion of personal expression and a fascination with ancient history, fantasy adventure books and languages. I started expressing myself by: rearranging the rooms in our flat, making my own clothes, painting on the walls in my bedroom, building tree houses etc. – what a nightmare I must have been for my parents.

Growing up in Eastern Europe, with both my parents coming from working class backgrounds, I was always encouraged to take on science and maths subjects at school, as my parents believed there would be no professional realisation for me in my home country if I were to pursue my interests in art and history. This led me to studying in a high-profiled maths and IT secondary school and college, putting aside studies of arts and history which I dearly missed. During math school, however, I developed valuable skills such as logical thinking, appreciation of order, record keeping, problem solving and technological know-how among many others.

At the age of 16, when I became aware of architecture as a subject, I was determined that architecture would be the only way forward in which arts, maths, history and craft can coexist in my daily life. Since then I have pursued the study of architecture with passion and cherish that every day can offer a new historic context to be researched, a problem to be solved and something beautiful to be created.

I completed my BA at the University of Liverpool with First Class Honours. At Liverpool I found inspiration in the model workshop and will be forever grateful to the workshop technician Stuart Carroll whose passion for model making and material experimentation was contagious. I graduated with a diploma at University of Sheffield and gained my qualification at the University of Westminster both with distinction. Along the way, I always found inspiration in the work of Louis Kahn and Alvaro Siza. 

In 2015 I joined Morris+Company via a referral from a former university colleague, after having previously worked at one of the largest architecture practices in the UK at the time – Sheppard Robson. At Sheppard Robson, I worked on high-profile education, healthcare and housing projects including the Grade II listed Former Royal Eye Hospital in Manchester and the University of Wolverhampton Business School. Over the last five years at Morris+Company, I have gained invaluable experience working across a wide range of sectors and project scales from inception to construction and, at practice level, have led on BIM+digital innovation, social engagement and housing research.

​The drive for exploration and adventure coupled with the tough economic, political and architectural context in my home country pushed me to explore new horizons and opportunities abroad. During the last 11 years I have found home and purpose in the United Kingdom through architecture, and it’s made me aware of the powerful social purpose of architects. Today, through my work as Associate at Morris + Company, I strive to create spaces and places that would inspire people from all walks of life to come together, live a better life, be curious, adventurous and pursue their dreams.

BBC Television Centre. Image credit: ForbesMassie
Woodward Road. Image Credit: Darc Studio