Luxembourgish architect Tatiana Fabeck has built her namesake company, Fabeck Architectes, from the ground up over the past two decades – “I must say that I work quite hard and a lot, but it’s my passion.” Fabeck Architectes are committed to urbanistic designs, covering everything from large public institutions like universities, to privately owned buildings.
Tatiana trained as an architect in Paris and America before working for a Swiss architect Cuno Brullmann et Associés for 3 years. Eventually, she decided to move back to Luxembourg and start working for herself under Tatiana Fabeck Architecte and established Fabeck Architectes around 18 years ago.
The company has grown continuously. She founded Fabeck Architectes SARL in 2012 and 3 architects at the office joined as associates – now she boasts 26 employees. What makes Fabeck Architectes stand out, is its familial aspect – Tatiana’s father has supported her throughout her endeavours, and he offers good advice.
“What is important is that you can talk to different people and family members so they can help think about the best things to do,” she said.
Fabeck Architectes work across all areas of architecture. Currently, they are working on a shopping centre. Previously, they won an award in Moscow for work on plush villas. As well, they have worked on building 245 apartments in Dakar, Senegal. Tatiana enjoys this because she must learn about the people and their cultures in order to make informed architectural decisions. Her passion, however, is for renovations of buildings like castles, old houses and industrial sites.
“The architect is in front of lots of changes – lots of social changes, construction changes, much more awareness of ecological problems. So every day you need your eyes very open, the ears very open. I always say you need to be very curious and hope things are going more or less well.”
Tatiana said she had been concerned about how to handle private and professional lives, but luckily for her, the office is very close to her house. She finds that “the closeness is great” for raising her children and being able to spend time with them, as she realises this can be a problem for some people. She also acknowledges that she may have received criticism had she not had children, as women can be seen as too career oriented. “However a woman does it, it’s always open to criticism,” she said.
To counter this, she argues that there needs to be more representation in professions like architecture, and women should believe more in themselves and, if they are interested, they should apply for degrees in subjects like architecture, engineering or mathematics.
“When I am in meetings, you really see that women are underrepresented. There are lots of women in the offices, but on the front there are few, and I must say women are very good, have lots of consciousness and perhaps it needs time. You have more and more women who do architectural studies, but there’s still a way to go.”
Tatiana thinks that anyone in their career should have a vision, not simply a selfish vision of a career but also one where you can have empathy for your clients and your team. Everybody should play their role, whether things are easy or tough, staying positive is vital in any job.
Her overall advice for aspiring entrepreneurs? “Be inspired every day. Have your eyes and ears open. Don’t be laid back… I would say even if there are problems, one should not give up, one should be enduring, you need to persevere and have a little bit of humour – and don’t take things too seriously.”