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Archontia Manolakelli

Archontia Manolakelli

Architect + Design Researcher, Atkins

Archontia is a chartered Architect and interdisciplinary Design Researcher at Atkins. She specialises in applied research and digital tool development, with a focus on applications of psychology for real and simulated environments. Bridging the gap between research and practice in her current role, she is involved with projects across multiple design stages and sectors, including Workplace, Aviation, and Education, both as a designer and as part of the Atkins Research + Innovation team. Her range of expertise includes design for wellbeing, stakeholder engagement, pre/post-occupancy evaluation, and utilisation of quantitative and mixed-method research towards evidence-based design. Her approach is informed by her masters studies in psychology and computational design, where she explored spatial preferences in relation to personality, occupant experience using virtual simulation, expression of personal space in corporate offices, and design for neurodiversity in post-pandemic workplaces, through fundamental research. Archontia's mission is to design inclusive and sustainable places grounded in evidence, that help occupants feel comfortable and considered. This aspiration extends beyond the bounds of her professional work into her interpersonal relationships, where she strives to create safe spaces for discussing mental health. To better align with her values around supporting others, Archontia trained in person-centred counselling in parallel with her career in architecture to become a mental health volunteer. She has since used this skillset as part of her listener role for 7-Cups and more recently as a Mental Health First Aider, with the aim to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness in work environments within the construction industry.


"The foundation of any successful construction project begins with the well-being of those involved in its creation, whether that is people working on design, management or construction aspects of it. Studies have shown that construction workers specifically are at a higher risk of experiencing mental health challenges compared to many other professions. Factors such as high-stress environments, long working hours, physical demands, and job insecurity contribute to this. Prioritising mental health in the construction industry is therefore not just a matter of good practice; it is an essential element in fostering creativity, productivity, and safety on the job."