"As a child I always enjoyed designing and making things, which generally made a big mess and drove my mother nuts!" says Polly Harbison. After spending most of her childhood living in the Southern Highlands in country NSW, she went to the University of Sydney to study architecture and put her creativity to a new test. "As with any job there are good and bad elements, but when I am immersed in a design problem I enjoy it so much that it keeps me motivated to persist with the other parts." In 2003 she founded Polly Harbison Design and has been working on a range of projects, including some with Melbourne-based architect Clinton Murray. Together they collaborated on Balmoral House, pictured above.
Which five words best describe you? That question is too hard - well, that is five words!
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? My first serious job was with Angelo Candalepas, who is a very talented architect and also quite a task-master so he drummed into me a few good habits. The turning point in my career was starting work with Clinton Murray, who has been a fantastic mentor.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? To mix persistence with enjoyment in what you are doing.
What’s your proudest career achievement? The recently completed house at Balmoral designed in association with Clinton Murray.
What’s been your best decision? To continue my interest and work in architecture whilst having a family – even though at times it was very sporadic and part-time work the design fire was still alight.
Who inspires you? Camilla Block from Durbach Block Jaggers is an architect I really admire.
What are you passionate about? My family. And also creating beautiful things.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? I have a bit of an architect crush on the Wespi de Meuron Architects at the moment.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? So many places to travel to.
What are you reading? A bit of Ian Rankin Rebus to unwind.