grant associates monogram
9th Mar 2021

Our people: 5 minutes with Oana Anghelache, Grant Associates

Oana Anghelache MSc MArch joined Grant Associates as a 3D Architect/Computational Designer in 2019, having previously worked in London and Amsterdam.

Oana is inspired by the process of distorting spaces and creating emotions through interactive design, using code to create geometry: this has led to exhibits in the Netherlands, Spain and the UK to date. Oana now shares her thoughts on her experience with Grant Associates so far, including the role that computational design plays in sustainable and engaging architecture.

What are you most passionate about?

I’m fascinated by every aspect of design - whether it’s buildings, interiors, structures or landscapes, I enjoy all parts of the process, no matter the scale or size of the project. I’ve trained as an architect but my specialism is computational design: non-standard, interactive design is a very new and experimental field and it’s a really exciting space to be in right now. Lots of universities are carrying out research into it, but not many practices are using these techniques yet, so I jumped at the chance to be able to do so at Grant Associates; the practice has a real willingness to do things differently.

I find interactive design fascinating and fun; there’s just so much innovation happening right now in terms of materials and fabrication methods. With computational design, you have the opportunity to create whatever you can imagine, and then to robustly test and simulate it using data to make sure that it’s a well-informed, sustainable design.

It’s not a robotic process; far from it. Computational design is actually a tool for creativity and artistic ingenuity - and I believe it allows for a much more organic approach to design.

Oana Work Process 02

The parametric model of the sculpture is created in Grasshopper, which offers the flexibility to change variables and quickly iterate through options.

Where do you turn to for creative motivation?

I’m constantly inspired by what I can find online: I regularly turn back to the Netherlands, where I studied, for creative motivation, and to DigitalFUTURES workshops. Pinterest and Instagram are also great sources of creative content; there’s just so much happening in landscape architecture, architecture and wider design right now. I really enjoy the work of Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen, who is now using 3D printing to create dresses - it’s so interesting to follow these tech innovations and how they’re being used creatively.

I’m always looking ahead to trends that will be influential in the future: performative design is set to be really important in the battle against climate change as it provides the ability to measure the performance of a designed environment over time, using real-time data, and to build in an optimal way that supports the wider world.

Oana Work Process 03

Example of transversal section through sculpture – the parametric model stores the coordinates of each contact point, for each section. This data generated in Grasshopper is exported into an Excel file for fabrication.

What projects are you most proud to have worked on, during your time at Grant Associates?

I’ve had the opportunity over the past 18 months to work on a wide number of projects, lending my specialism to support on the design side of things. I’m particularly proud to have been involved with Distrito Madrid Castellana Norte, a long-standing project that has allowed me to contribute towards the design of a park, getting truly immersed in the world of landscape design.

What does a typical day look like for you?

There’s always a lot of design involved! Each and every day at Grant Associates sees me testing out ideas and designs, building and refining these, working on at least a couple of different projects at the same time: it’s often a race against time, striving to come up with the best possible solution or optimal design within a certain timeframe.

I have the opportunity to work with everyone in our team - both here in the UK and in Singapore - and while we’re all missing the physical social aspect right now as we mostly work from home, we all speak regularly and check in with one another. I’m looking forward to chats over coffee together, exploring creative projects in person and lunch breaks in gorgeous Bath once again!

Oana Work Process 01

Final design of the sculpture - once all variables are set and an optimum solution is selected, the parametric model can be brought into Rhino.

What is the best thing about being part of the Grant Associates team?

I was working for an architecture firm in Amsterdam on a large infrastructure project in Belgium when I applied to join Grant Associates: the project was striving to create the best possible public space for the residents and made me aware of just how important it is to build sustainable, healthy urban environments that are also functional and solve practical issues. I was attracted to Grant Associates’ portfolio of projects as well as the ethos, and knew that we could create some really cool environments together. I’m very proud of the projects that I’ve been involved with so far, and looking forward to what comes next.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about a career in design and architecture?

Stay curious and critical. A curious mindset is always important; remain up-to-date with latest thinking in all design fields, from architecture to art, as well as what’s happening in technology and social sciences: it all has an impact on what we do. Be critical and remain so, always considering what’s being built and the ways to try to positively improve on it.

Lively minds making a liveable world…

Our continued success at Grant Associates is due to the talent and commitment of our multi-skilled team.

The practice currently employs over 70 people, from over 17 countries, across our two design studios in Bath and Singapore. The majority are qualified landscape architects, working together with architects, 3D modellers, BIM and visualisation specialists, horticulturists, designers, IT and other technicians.

We are always interested to hear from talented and enthusiastic people who would like to join our dynamic teams in both offices. Take a look at our latest vacancies and get in touch.