If Only: Carolyn Ouwehand of Glenn Howells Architects


If Only… we could look at the world through a child’s eyes, wonders Carolyn Ouwehand, associate at GHA

Words by Carolyn Ouwehand, associate at Glenn Howells Architects


If Only, for a day, I could see the wild, colourful world I imagined as a child. Trees would be villages, connected with bridges over garden fences and adorned with platforms for tea parties. Houses would be futuristic and as colourful as candy, with roofs covered in wild flowers. And we would do away with cars so that streets would only be for people, pitches and parties. It is silly, whimsical and unrealistic, but it is also rid of inhibition and full of joy – which, as architects and designers, is a place our creative selves search so hard to find. As a ‘grown-up’, this unbridled imagination feels so far removed, and is overshadowed by the burdens of practicality and responsibility. But it is this turn-on-its-head thinking that can challenge norms and lead to innovative design. Being an architect can be hard, but oh, is it fun. So, find your kid-self, let him or her have a go by breaking the rules, thinking big and tapping into a pure, unadulterated imagination.


Carolyn Ouwehand is an associate at GHA. She joined GHA’s London office in 2016 as senior architect, bringing with her over 16 years of US based professional experience and a rich catalogue of projects. She is currently leading on a number of mixed-use feasibility studies in east London. 

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