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Naomi Fisher

Director | Chartered Architect

BA(Hons) DipArch RIBA

Founder & Strategic Director | ROAM

Trustee | The Active Wellbeing Society

RIBA Part 3 Professional Examiner | Birmingham City University

RIBA Jury Member | West Midlands RIBA Awards 2018

My practice of architecture is influenced and motivated by designing for people and their activities, underpinned by the belief that good design can engender social change and community cohesion. The immersive approach I adopt listens to the end-users’ needs, recognising them as the experts, and designers as creative facilitators. I respond to design challenges pragmatically and innovatively, appreciating the importance of long-term economic sustainability; an aspect valued by commercial and not-for-profit clients alike.


The relationship between public health and urban planning is of particular interest to me. I believe that wellbeing starts with a sense of belonging, fostered in the way the public realm is designed. I believe that social inclusion starts with equality in this space, rooted in safe, affordable and enjoyable pedestrian, cycle and public transport infrastructure.


Much of my effort outside work is focussed on putting my community principles into action, pioneering my own local projects.

2018 street closure

Find me… pouring over a map, discovering south Brum’s parkland by bicycle with my children, and just sometimes tucked into a corner of the Wildcat Tap with a pint of real ale.

Natalie Marsh

Chartered Architect

BA(Hons) MArch RIBA

I graduated from Birmingham School of Architecture + Design in June 2019, as a Master of Architecture with Distinction, after previously completing my Undergraduate studies there, where I graduated with a First Class Honours degree. During this time I was lucky enough to collaborate with APEC Architects, acting as a mentor for second and fifth year Architecture students, undertaking their CoLab module entitled ‘Clients + Users, Consultation + Engagement’. This was a great opportunity to put my own research – ‘The Art of Engagement’ – to good use, exploring ways in which we engage with clients and future users, and how these processes can be enriched and improved.

I began my studies in Architecture in 2013 and have developed a keen interest in engaging with communities and residents local to building projects, which in my experience, leads to richer, happier and more sustainable project outcomes. During both my studies and working in Practice, I have gained a lot of experience within the housing sector, with specific regard to how we can provide alternative routes to affordable housing. I have a keen interest in joinery and I love working with existing buildings and structures.

I became a Chartered Architect in July 2022, after completing my Part 3 studies at Birmingham School of Architecture. I now also tutor one day a week at BCU on the Interior Architecture Course.

I love working at APEC Architects, alongside a team of trailblazers, re-defining the ways in which we engage and collaborate with clients, stakeholders and future users to create meaningful architecture that improves the lives of its inhabitants, and the built environment.

My final year thesis project looked into the history of the canal boat and waterways, specifically in the context of Birmingham, and how this could provide an alternative route to affordable housing through WikiHouse principles enabling people to build their own homes on the water.

Find me... spending time with my (three!) dogs, taking photographs of anything that sparks joy, and exploring my surroundings in the Black Country + Brum.

Mary Poole

Chartered Architect

BA(Hons) MArch RIBA

I first joined the APEC team in 2013 after graduating from Newcastle University, and completed my Masters at Birmingham City University in 2017. At APEC, I have been involved in projects from the initial sketches to seeing them completed on site and have worked closely with a range of clients and community groups.


I enjoy exploring participatory and collaborative approaches to architecture and working with local community groups. During my Masters, I favoured more traditional methods of hand-drawings and physical model making. I had the opportunity to travel to Gibraltar to exhibit my final year work. During this visit, I explored the abandoned tunnels in the rock and appeared on the front page of the Gibraltar Chronicle.

MArch Project | House of Refuge and Exchange of Culture

Find me... sitting in one of Kings Heath’s independent coffee shops, reading a dystopian novel, or exploring a local National Trust Property.

Carl Dela Cruz

Part I Architectural Assistant


I began my architectural journey in 2017 at The University of Brighton, developing many skills in design throughout my time at University, including finding an interest in community-forward architecture and abstract design.

During my second year of study, I also developed my passion for cooking, creating a unique way of evolving my projects combining my love for cooking and architecture inspiring the design for an immersive food market, where visitors were able to explore their senses and navigate the building through the rich cooking smells.

I also have a keen interest in model-making. Having a physical model that allows you to observe aspects of your design which may otherwise not be realised in 2D, fills me with enjoyment. I find it rewarding seeing designs come to life.

I’m currently undertaking my Part I placement year with APEC!

James Phillips

Director | Chartered Architect


RIBA Accredited Conservation Architect
Architect Accredited in Building Conservation (AABC)
Secretary of the C20 Society West Midlands Branch | 2018 - 2020

I have been one of APEC’s directors since early 2015, having first joined the practice back in 2007. I carried out my architectural studies at Manchester School of Architecture and then RIBA North West, becoming a Chartered Architect in 2012.


I have led the design team on a number of significant projects covering a variety of sectors, including community, residential, church and education uses, and am developing a specialism in Conservation. I am interested in bringing heritage assets back to life through sustainable redevelopment; finding new uses that secure the long-term viability of a building.

Conservation works to the roof of Our Lady Help of Christians

Find me… pottering around the garden, enjoying a curry with friends and travelling the world to ride rollercoasters.

Holly Doron

Engagement and Research Collaborator

BA(Hons) MArch RIBA

Wolverhampton for Everyone Team Associate

CoLab Dudley Team Associate + Collective Member

RIBA Validation Panel Member

I became a Chartered Architect with Distinction in 2015, with a Birmingham School of Architecture First Class Honours Degree and Masters in Architecture with Distinction under my belt. Since 2007, I have gained experience in community, conservation, education, and arts and culture projects through consultation, design, project management and contract administration. I was the co-recipient of the Deutsche Bank 2013 Award in Creative and Cultural Practice, and an illustrator for Ljubomir Jankovic’s book ‘Designing Zero Carbon Buildings‘.


APEC’s strong ethics have inspired me in both academia and practice. I taught on the BA(Hons) Architecture course at Birmingham City University for 5 years, encouraging students to develop a thorough understanding of who they are designing for, to generate creative and socially-motivated designs. My research includes multidisciplinary entrepreneurialism, bridging academia and practice, and, currently,  community participation and empowerment in the built environment through my work with Wolverhampton for Everyone and CoLab Dudley.

'See like an architect' picnic workshop for CoLab Dudley's DoFest 2019

Find me… enjoying cold places, attempting to play cello, or getting excited over spreadsheets.

Everyone at APEC believes in the practice’s mission of bringing positive change to organisations and their communities, through high quality, pragmatic architecture that is economically and environmentally sustainable.

We place particular importance on the wellbeing of our team. We promote a healthy work-life balance and do not foster an environment of late night working. Our low staff turnover is testament to this, as is the fact that four of our current architectural staff first worked for the practice as year-out placement students and have returned.

Want to join us?

We’re always happy to hear from potential APECians, even when we’re not actively recruiting, so you’re welcome to email us your CV and examples of your work to

I could not have asked for a better Part 1 placement. I have learnt so much from all your mentoring, guidance and the general office ethos and I have really appreciated all the time each of you have given me... It has been amazing to work so closely with clients and contractors.

Mary Cooke-FoxReturning to university after her Part 1 placement

My experience at APEC has been wonderful, it has been a pleasure being part of a small, yet lively and enthusiastic team. To have gained an insight into a range of projects and work stages over just twelve months has been great; and I’m glad to say I have spent a chapter of my architectural education here! I wish APEC all the success in the future and hope they continue onwards with their amazing work!

Krishna PatelReturning to university after her Part 1 placement

Team news / View all news

Journeys with participatory architecture

| APECian, Blogs, Community Engagement, Consultation, Participation, Research | No Comments
As Holly embarks on a new research adventure, she shares…

Natalie is now an architect!

| APECian, News | No Comments
We are beyond proud of Natalie, and are so excited…

Mary becomes an architect!

| APECian, News | No Comments
We invite you to travel back in time to reflect…

Naomi’s charity features in the Guardian | ‘Reclaiming children’s right to roam’

| APECian, Third Sector | No Comments
Roam is 'the first charity of its kind running sessions…

Creating 15-minute Cities

| APECian, Research | No Comments
Naomi advocates for active travel in a webinar for Our…

Welcome Natalie, our newest APECian!

| APECian, News | No Comments
The talented Natalie Marsh joined us during lockdown, and she's…

Mapping a creative, kinder, and connected Dudley High Street

| APECian, Event, News, Participation | No Comments
Holly invited doers and the curious to 'see like an…

Learning Marathon #5 | The [not so] Finish Line

| APECian, Blogs, Research | No Comments
The Learning Marathon has come to an end, but after…

Why Women in Architecture matters more than just representation

| APECian, Blogs, News | No Comments
This International Women's Day, Naomi gives her thoughts on the…

Learning Marathon #4 | Develop

| APECian, Blogs, Community Engagement, Research | No Comments
Holly continues her Learning Marathon blog series on how citizen…

Naomi remembers Nelson Mandela School in her article for the RIBA Journal

| APECian, Research | No Comments
"I poured over plans and photos in publications at the…

‘You mean YOU, the architects, do the consultation?’

| APECian, Event, Research, Third Sector | No Comments
Naomi shares her thoughts after her 'Working with an Architect'…

Learning Marathon #3 | I ❤︎ diagramming

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Holly runs a diagramming workshop for the Learning Marathon that…

Learning Marathon #2 | Explore

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Two months in, Holly talks about her Learning Marathon journey…

AAE 2017 Conference Proceedings are Published

| APECian, Blogs, News, Research | No Comments
'Integration of Practice Experience into the Design of Undergraduate Courses’…

Congratulations to James for becoming an RIBA Accredited Conservation Architect!

| APECian, Conservation, News | No Comments
We're all proud that James' conservation expertise has been recognised…