What sparked your interest in architecture?
My Dad was a builder and I would spend most of my school holidays labouring on his building sites. He would also get up early on the weekends to do drawings for planning applications and building regulation submissions, as he didn’t particularly like the drawings done by architects. Although I enjoyed my time on his sites – and perhaps at the back of my mind knowing that it was and always would be extremely hard work – I was more interested in his drawings. This further developed at school whilst doing ‘graphical communication’ aka technical drawing classes. The rest is history.
Is there an area of your role that you are particularly passionate about?
I don’t like wasted space or undefined boundaries – at the micro building level or at the macro place level. I always seek to design buildings and spaces to minimise this and usually start from the outside first, thinking about the edges of boundaries and buildings and then worrying about the internal planning later. If a scheme is to have a space, hard or soft, it should be used to drive the position of buildings rather than the other way around, with the space filling the gaps. And of-course you can’t beat a good hedge.
What advice would you give anyone starting in the profession today?
Don’t waste your time … have a plan and hang in there. Keep looking around and up and always ask questions.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned over the course of your career?
I have learned two lessons – the first is that you should assume nothing and the second is not to be afraid to ask a question or question a decision. The former is important in making sure projects progress and responsibilities are clearly defined. The latter is something to bear in mind at every stage of the project and to ask questions if you are unsure of decisions. I have learned that it is better to ask a silly question than not to ask at all and to always question decisions made, as circumstances can change over the course of a project.