My favourite buildings are often ones I don’t expect to love.
I’m inspired by great buildings, it’s one of the things that made me choose this career. I think that appreciation of great structures is common to all architects – whether we’re part of a delivery team or doing the front-end work, we are excited by great buildings that people want to be in.
These days though, most buildings are so well-publicised that you build a high expectation of them before you see them. That’s why I love it when I’m surprised by a building. One example is the Great Court at the British Museum in London. Before I visited the site I thought it would be a great piece of technical design, but when I went there I was surprised by how beautiful the space was.
I really enjoy the way each job changes over its lifetime. At the start of the project, there’s a lot of time spent in the office on concept and design development within a team environment. As the project progresses to the construction phase, it provides me with opportunities to get out to site and work with the people responsible for building it. For me, this is all part of the charm of being an all-rounder in my profession. Working across the whole process keeps me in balance.
I think excellent design requires a great working relationship. It doesn’t matter how good we are, unless we are like-minded with the client in terms of delivering their vision, the project won’t succeed. It also helps when you have a client with vision, because I think that unless you have great patrons in the world, you won’t get great buildings.
I’ve lived all over the world and one of my favourite places is Hong Kong. I was only there for a few years, but I had a really strong connection to the place. It was where I met my wife and a time in my life when everything was changing for the better. It’s a really, really interesting city to be in – especially because during the time that I was there, Hong Kong was being handed back to China.