Meet the Scholars

Kristian Foster, architect

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Born and brought up in North Staffordshire, Kristian became interested in the built environment at an early age. Seeing the hand-drawn plans of his aunt’s new home when he was eight sparked his fascination with buildings.

Spending his teenage years sketching buildings he began to admire the heritage of Leek and observed the decay of the industrial buildings of the potteries. Witnessing the loss of this heritage and its irreplaceable value, Kristian left school at 16 to join an architectural practice to train as an architectural technician. He returned to college to study for his A Levels before starting his architectural studies. Taking his Part 1 at De Montfort University offered him a good technical training, and moving to Kingston University gave a different perspective on the theory and art side. It was whilst undertaking his thesis on mills that Kristian first heard about the SPAB from a tutor. Whilst studying, Kristian also worked at several design-focused architectural practices. Through the Scholarship he hopes to gain a good grounding in conservation so he can pursue a career in conserving historic buildings and finding solutions for their continued use.

Part of a local group, he has been involved in the unveiling of hundreds of Minton tiles which for decades had been covered by wallpaper. Kristian’s intention is to continue to protect and champion North Staffordshire and to work to stop future loss of the area’s heritage buildings.


Lilian Main, architect

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Drawn to the SPAB’s pragmatic approach, Lilian starts her Scholarship having just completed her Part II studies at the Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales. Her decision to study here was informed by her interest in the relationship between architecture and health– from the food we eat, to the buildings we inhabit and the cities we live in. After completing her Part I architectural studies in Sydney, and seeking to learn about more than just contemporary design, Lilian’s travels took her to Nepal, where she spent time helping to repair traditional buildings. It was here that she realised that heritage, health and sustainability could be inextricably linked, and it was this experience that fueled her desire to work with existing buildings.

Moving from Australia in 2013, she completed the Prince’s Foundation Summer School and then an MSc in Architectural Conservation at the University of Edinburgh. Whilst enjoying education, Lilian’s most valuable lessons have come from her time at Page\Park Architects in Glasgow, working on the Glasgow School of Art, along with other Category A Listed buildings on Isle of Bute. Now based in Cumbria, she enjoys any outdoor activity that gets her outdoors and up a hill.


Aoife Murphy, structural engineer

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After graduating from Trinity College, Aoife worked for 3 years designing elements for industrial buildings. Losing her job in 2010 she took the opportunity to go travelling and found herself in Christchurch, New Zealand as an earthquake struck the city. Joining a company working for the Earthquake Commission, she was immediately plunged into a unique set of circumstances and became involved in the repair of earthquake damaged buildings. As a senior engineer, Aoife now manages teams of engineers who assess sympathetic repair strategies which value retaining the look of the building whilst making them safer during earthquakes. Intrigued by repairing buildings in a way sympathetic to their method of construction, the Scholarship will give her the chance to pursue this interest. Having spent 6 years in New Zealand, she was preparing to return home to Ireland to continue her career but decided to apply for the Scholarship.

Aoife has travelled to Africa with an Irish charity to build and repair schools and houses. Already in contact with the organisers of SPAB Ireland, she is keen to get more involved with the group.


2 thoughts on “Meet the Scholars

  1. Great to meet you all in Benson for the evening – next time I know we will do better in the ‘news of the week’ round! All the best, Ben

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