Mary Bowman

What’s your name and position?

My name is Mary Bowman and I am a partner at Gustafson Porter + Bowman.

So what are your main responsibilities in relation to the Pavilion?

I’m in charge of the masterplan for IQL. So the Pavilion is just one part of my role in the project.

Where do you enjoy spending time around Stratford – at lunch times or before and after work?

Well, you obviously have to mention Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. But usually when I’m on site I like to head to Endeavour Square. Now that the planting is complete and events are taking place here, it’s really coming to life as a civic space in its own right.

How did you get into the industry? Planned or by accident?

Both in many ways. I always planned to be an architect and in fact I worked in architectural practice for the first 13 years of my career. I then, rather accidentally, moved sideways into Landscape Architecture. I didn’t have any of the appropriate qualifications to start off with but I’m now a chartered member. I think having the architectural background really helps to better understand the relationship between buildings and landscape and how they interact.

What did you do before you started your current role?

I worked for two architectural practices, Foster and Partners and Walters & Cohen Architects, before starting at Gustafson Porter + Bowman in 2002.

Did you study at University? If so, where and what?

I studied Architecture at the University of Virginia before doing my diploma at the Architectural Association.

What’s the most exciting aspect of the Pavilion for you?

The use of cross laminated timber is really interesting. As is the fact that the Public Realm was designed in advance of the Pavilion. This meant that the building had to integrate into a pre-designed setting.
The most interesting part of the project for me, however, is the roof. It’s unusual in London to have a rooftop that’s accessible to the public. The building itself invites you up the stairs to the viewing terrace on the rooftop, giving visitors expansive views across Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Endeavour Square and beyond.

What’s the best part of your job?

At Gustafson Porter + Bowman we’re London based, but work on a high number of International projects. It means our projects are so varied – they involve different languages, cultures, ways of working which makes day to day work fascinating. The other lovely thing about Landscape Architecture projects is the way that, after completion, they change and develop over time in a way that buildings don’t. It’s always nice to revisit a space and take in how it’s organically changed over time.