Mark Pellant – Director & Architect
Mark was born and grew up in conservative Surrey but, having a Swiss mother, was fortunate to be exposed to European design and ideas from an early age. By the age of twelve he knew he wanted to be an architect and studied hard to get into School of Architecture. After 7 years training and graduating with distinction from the University of Brighton he worked for a number of internationally acclaimed, design-led architecture practices including Conran & Partners and Sheppard Robson in London. Mark gained extensive project experience in the housing, commercial, education and health sectors during this time and also later worked in Australia for Group GSA architects on the Sydney International Shooting Centre for the 2000 Olympics.
In the mid-1990s Mark spent over three years travelling overland through Africa, Asia and South America on a modern-day equivalent of the 18th century ‘Grand Tour’. Not only were these travels hugely influential in terms of exposure to alternative world culture, architecture and design, but they were a sobering experience highlighting global environmental devastation and the onset of the effects of climate change. He witnessed at first-hand glaciers retreating, severe flooding, drought, polluted seas and beaches, deforestation and wide-spread poverty.
Following this experience Mark resolved to make a difference in both his personal and professional life and in March 2000 he established his own practice – Koru Architects – with the intention of designing sustainable, low-energy buildings that would reduce carbon emissions and promote the use of healthy, natural and sustainable materials. Seven years later Mark took the opportunity to design and build his own eco house and put into practice his architectural ideals and sustainable principles to create a zero carbon home / office built from natural materials with low embodied energy. The house was awarded the RIBA Downland Prize for sustainability 2011.
Koru Architects is now expanding and yet Mark remains true to his principles to deliver thoughtfully designed, sustainable solutions to his clients. His vision for the future of the practice is to expand into more diverse work sectors such as commercial, education, healthcare and leisure and to be the leading ‘eco architects’ in the South East. Mark serves on the Architects Design Review Panel for Eastbourne Borough Council and has been a fully chartered and registered architect for over 25 years.
Issi Rousseva – Architect
Issi is a fully qualified and registered architect, with a RIBA Part III qualification, masters degree in architecture from the University of Brighton and an undergraduate degree from Kingston University. Issi joined Koru Architects in March 2016 and works closely with Mark and Christina on all stages of the design and management process.
Issi is experienced with a range of design and image editing software and also loves hand sketching. She has worked on architectural projects in Switzerland and Bulgaria as well as the UK, giving her an insight into the international diversity of architectural styles and building regulations. Before she started her career in architecture, Issi worked for four years as a Section Commander at the University of London Officer Training Corps, where she trained cadets and picked up strong leadership skills.
Christina Vakarelova – Architectural Assistant
Christina grew up in Bulgaria and moved to the UK in 2009 to study architecture at the University of Brighton. In 2012 she graduated with a BA (Hons) in Interior Architecture. She has been working as an Architectural Assistant for Koru Architects since 2014, working closely with Mark to deliver a range of residential and commercial projects, both new-build and extensions/refurbishment. In this way she has built up an extensive portfolio of work and is continually developing her knowledge of design and the construction industry.
She is predominantly responsible for producing technical drawings within the practice, and also contributes original ideas to concept designs. Christina is proficient with design and image editing software and has a wealth of experience with community arts projects. Christina is currently studying her masters degree in architecture at the University of Brighton.
Oscar Berkhout – Communications & Marketing Officer
Oscar was born and raised in Berkshire, before moving to Brighton in 2014 to undertake a degree in Journalism at the University of Sussex. Graduating the summer of 2017, he has started a Marketing and Communications Internship with Koru Architects. Previously, Oscar has worked for The Independent, where he contributed regular features to the website, as well as being involved with a marketing campaign for the i Newspaper.
Since, he has been involved in multiple start-up businesses around Brighton, broadening his marketing and communication skills, including managing social media, PR, networking and content creating.
Aylin Metin – Architectural Assistant
Aylin is the newest member of the team, having joined Koru Architects as an Architectural Assistant in February 2017 to support Mark on design work for all our projects. She is currently finishing her Part II Masters Degree in Architecture at the University of Kent, where her dissertation is on improving the quality of urban life through waterfront developments. She holds an undergraduate degree in Architecture from the University of Portsmouth, where she worked on a wide range of design projects and picked up skills in digital architectural design and image editing software and hand sketching. Before starting at Koru Architects she previously worked at What Architecture in London as an Architectural Assistant. Aylin learnt to draw at practically the same time as learning to walk, and has always loved art and photography. She is multilingual, speaking four languages.