Jana Higgs
Senior Architect

“Hotels lead two lives: they’re like a theatre with the stage and the backstage. The back is the well-oiled machine that runs the front, and they have completely different needs.”

“I specialise in hotels. I’ve had a fascination with them ever since I travelled around Europe with my parents when I was growing up in Berlin.

It’s because they lead two lives: there’s the front of house and the back of house, like a theatre with the stage and backstage. The back is the well-oiled machine that runs the front, and they have completely different expectations and needs. The guests want to be spoiled and pampered. The hotel staff want to use the space as efficiently as possible to serve the guests, and the owner wants maximum return on their investment.

After I finished high school, I went travelling and I worked for six months at a hotel in Disneyland Paris. It was my first great opportunity to experience the ins and outs of a hotel—to look at it from both sides—and I was even more fascinated.

When I returned to Germany, I completed my degree in architecture at the Bauhaus University then I moved to London and started working on a wide range of projects across Europe. I did hotels, airports, train stations and shopping centres.

Since then, I’ve worked in the UK for two major international hotel operators. Being on the client side has given me great insights into the demands of the people using the building. It’s taught me a whole different side to architecture.

I came to ARM in 2018. I’ve learned that a good hotel is one that meets the guests’ expectations, regardless of the service offer. I’ve worked on the full range and it doesn’t matter what level of luxury you have, the complexities of the back and front of house are the same.”