I hope I’ve been suitably British and self-effacing so far, but this is the place to be clear about what I think I can do, and do well.
My experiences as a designer and maker of furniture, graphic design work, owner of small businesses, occasional writer and speaker, director of my own construction company and consultant to other businesses have added layers onto my 20 years’ core training and professional experience as an architect.
Tech skills and experience: Most recently I have developed the design and the database schema for the beta version of our startup – Therapy-smarter.com, also acting as the product manager, writing specifications for freelance developers to work from. In the course of this work I have taught myself bash scripting, automating the processing and overdubbing of 400 exercise videos and voiceovers using ffmpeg.
I’ve read and grokked a fair chunk of Agile / Lean startup stuff, used azure servers and other cloud systems, built a couple of PCs, and am teaching the computer science GCSE curriculum to a group of home-educated children.
I have worked with computers in many different ways, starting with Apple ][es and teletype terminals in 1978, working as an operator /programmer (Basic) on a PDP11/40 for a year in 1980. Obviously as an architect I have used many CAD and 3D platforms.
In 1995/6 I built an entire project information database in FilemakerPro for the 10 person team which worked with me on the design of the Wellcome Wing at the London Science Museum, bringing all letters, memos, faxes (yep, those old things…) information issues, drawing registers and the like into a single system which ran for 5 years.
I’ve completed an online course creating android apps, written a comprehensive (35 page) technical spec for an e-commerce website and did user testing for Basestone – a construction information startup that is doing brilliantly.
Design and Problem-solving: I have always practised architecture in a way which I believe closely parallels aspects of the tech/startup world; looking for and analysing ways to intervene in and improve on fundamentally complex and messy environments, proposing discrete, practical solutions that maintain the maximal degree of responsiveness to changing conditions without losing their purpose or character, aspiring always to a feeling of clarity and beauty in the whole.
Working with primarily first-time clients, being able to get under the skin of a poorly understood and ill-defined problem area is something I have become very good at – this skill underpins the primary goal of my design ability – finding transformative solutions that embody but simultaneously transcend all of the myriad technical, sociological, psychological, regulatory and other issues without letting the features that address those issues distort or dominate the quality of the whole.
Parsimonious approach: as construction, almost alone among the main industrial sectors, has experienced a large relative decline in productivity over the last 40 years, finding economical, lean solutions been a necessary skill.
Project Management / Team working: buildings are the quintessential team projects, with creative input required from a wide range of people with radically different agendas, skill-sets, timescales. The architect’s responsibility, uniquely in the team, is to keep hold of the big picture – the final quality of the whole project, to be able to understand the relationship of this to all the various players, and to communicate this appropriately and effectively.
Having gone further than most architects, and run my own construction crews in tandem with the architectural design of my projects, I have strong and deep experience in all aspects of project management, from preparing critical path analyses at one end to dealing with people of all kinds under conditions of extreme stress at the other.
Communication: I have excellent verbal, written and graphical communication skills.