NAME: Petra Jebens-Zirkel
BACKGROUND: High Studies
POSITION: President of the Spanish Institute of Baubiologie
ORGANIZATION: Jebens Architecture
My Background and Career
My name is Petra Jebens-Zirkel. I was born in 1952 in the south of Germany. Between 1971 and 1977 I studied architecture in the Berlin Technical University. While I was studying, I travelled around Europe, USSR and Turkey.
I worked in several studies of architecture in Berlin, and I trained myself, in a self-taught way, in bioconstruction. In 1983 I was travelling around Nepal and India for more than one year. In 1987 I arrived at Spain and I built my own bioclimatic house with Bioconstruction. Since 1992, I work on my own in restoration and new building work: houses and apartments, holiday cottages, public works…
In 1994 I passed my exams and practices in the Institute of Bioconstruction of Nuebeuern (IBN), and I got my degree in “Baubiologe”, that recognised me as an expert in Bioconstruction. Between 1996 and 1997 I made several trips to Germany and the United States, in order to continue studying the guidelines for the sustainable architecture.
I am a project manager and I’ve managed more than 180 works, from restoration to new building work, of which 95 are of Bioconstruction. Since 1999 I only made projects of Bioconstruction. I am Academic Director and Supervisor of the Master’s Degree in Bioconstruction from the University of Lerida, and I also collaborate in other Master’s Degrees from the Universities of Zaragoza and Madrid.
Between 2003 and 2009, I made the Project and Execution of the Headquarters of the Center of I+D+I of energetic efficiency (Circe) of the University of Zaragoza, a public work of Bioconstruction of national and European reference.
In 2009 I’ve been in charge of the Spanish Institute Formation of Baubiologie, of which I am the President.
At the beginning of my career, I had to overcome different problems, apart from very little money to be able to continue with my development. On the other hand, in the university, when I studied, women who studied technical degrees were a minority; so I was discriminated against by some professors. In Spain, at first, 23 years ago, being a foreign women dedicated to the bioconstruction was very difficult for me to be accepted by the building firms.
What helped me most was to count on a great deal of inner strength, with a good karma and multiple blessings.
I can say that my abilities are:
• My personal development through work is important.
• In cases of conflict, I bring peace.
• I like to negotiate and that all the people leave satisfied.
• I like to work as a team.
• I organized activities and in an easy way.
• I like to establish my own aims and reach them.
My most outstanding qualities are that I am very critical, persistent, optimistic, and self-confident. I’m also a democratic, organised, with a forward-looking approach, creative, impatient, analytic, brave, open-minded, relaxed, flexible, theoretical, distrustful, innovative, cooperative, shy, conservative, active and ambitious.
I was inspired by other people such as the architects Imre Makovech, Antonio Gaudí and César Manrique.
Hints & Tips
Lucky saying or phrase: One person can change the world,
My advice and suggestions for other women, for helping them to reach their aims, are that they should learn to trust themselves and their inner strength. If they have a clear sense of what they want to do, they have to make an effort to reach their wishes without fears. This is the best way for their own realization which satisfies the soul.
If you want to be a woman setting up your own business, you need to develop an inner strength, be brave to overcome all the problems, be consistent and “fight” for something which is worthy.
Regarding weaknesses, which need to be overcome, they would be all the insecurities that make us paralyzed, the laziness, and rejection of all kind of thoughts: “it isn’t worth it”, “I can’t”, “I’m not good at this”…