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Our People | Iskra Garbachkova

December 23

Following on from last week’s Planning post, we wanted to shine a spotlight on the Project Lead – and all-round integral part of the AO family – Iskra Garbachkova.

Having embarked on her architectural journey at the University of Kent for Part I, Iskra joined AO in September 2012 before she took a rather unique path for Part II, opting for the challenging – and lesser known – RIBA office-based course through Oxford Brookes, enabling her to gain academic and professional knowledge while further developing her design and technical skills in a full-time work environment. Here she received a Commendation in Cultural Context for her dissertation on the power of architecture and design in healing and holistic recovery. Following this, Iskra successfully completed her Part III at UWE in 2019, marking a triumphant chapter in her studies.

From the outset, Iskra has gone above and beyond to create architecture that makes a difference - for her clients, and to the communities they serve. A strong advocate for Passivhaus, and environmentally conscious design practices, her work is characterised by a blend of innovation and sustainability. During her time at AO, she’s worked on a broad range of projects - from single storey extensions (when the business was smaller) to large residential developments, and everything in between. Throughout, her goal has remained the same - to create inspiring, and responsible design.

Iskra's tenure with Anderson Orr reflects not only her architectural acumen but also her warmth, passion, and the unwavering dedication she commits to her clients - many of whom specifically request her services and directly pass her name onto others. Her charismatic presence, gentle demeanour, and ego-free approach make her an invaluable asset to the team - a wonderful colleague, and friend.

Beyond the drawing board, Iskra's commitments extend – unsurprisingly – into the community. She actively participates in Women in Architecture events, and as a testament to her community spirit, she recently became an elected member of her Residents Association, dedicating her time to local causes.

Iskra's interests outside work also showcase her vibrant personality. A globetrotter at heart, her love for travel and exploration knows no bounds, and we are never surprised (anymore) by the adventurous trips she takes with husband, Ameya. Her affinity for cocktails – especially margaritas – adds a zestful touch to her social side, and over the last few years she’s cultivated a passion for F1, and running, having completed the Oxford Half.

As we celebrate Iskra and all that she’s achieved and brought to the practice, we look forward to watching her continued personal success, and her contributions to the AO legacy and the wider community.