Insider Interview - Architect


What 5 things are inspiring you at the moment? 

1. Belle & Sebastian BBC Sessions.

2. The film Che, Benicio Del Toros new one.

3. London.

4. Photography, my Horizon Perfekt

5. Venezualan chocolate, and trying to cook using it. I made a risotto with it.

Chocolate risotto?

You just grate a little bit in it. It’s a sweet potato risotto with blue cheese, with a bit of lemon then just grate abit of chocolate into it. It was good.

You’ve got some work on display at the Cube Gallery at the moment. What was the project?

Its called Northshore: Make Me A Home. It was an RIBA international Competition. The brief was set to masterplan a river site in Stockton-on-Tees and to look into the design of one type of house.  

So where did you get the inspiration for your design?

Erm, I guess a lot of it came from my family. It was me and a fellow Part 1 student, Victoria who works in our Liverpool office.

Your concept was for a tree house?

That ended up developing as we designed it. We were inspired by the way in which

Families develop over time. That was where the idea of growth came from, so the main material we used for the houses was timber. We just liked the idea that these houses would grow from the ground. The house grows with the family.

So why did you decide to become an architect?

I think it started when I was young, I was a big fan of football, I loved going to football stadiums and was in awe at the capacity and size of these buildings. Then when I was in Manchester with my dad, in ’96, the Manchester bomb happened. I saw the city fall apart, but looking back it was probably one of the best things to happen to manchester as the city has regenerated from this.

 And you actually heard the bomb go off didn’t you?

Yeah, I was just getting my hair cut at the time and I heard this big bang and no body knew what was happening, I remember some girl was screaming, then me and my dad got instructed to run down Deansgate, there was word that there was another bomb so we made our way to the Manchester Science and Industry Museum.

Have you got a favourite building in Manchester that you could recommend people look around?

John Rylands Library is worth a visit, in terms of a modern extension, it is just so nice to look at. It has really brought to life the old building.

Have you been into the Law Courts?

I’ve not been into it no, but I walk past it everyday. It is a dead interesting building though, it was one of the nominations for the Sterling Prize this year.

I really wanted it to win.

Did you watch it? Kevin McCloud presented it, he was funny. 

He’s a legend.

Total legend.

Who are your favourite architects and designers?

That’s tough.

I know you’re a fan of Le Corbusier…

He is dead inspirational because what he was doing at the time was so far ahead of what everyone else was doing around that time.

Yeah, he had his 5 Steps which is still around today..

Exactly, we use that today. I went to his exhibition in Liverpool and you just appreciate how good he was. Houses he did back then get built today, you see them getting built now and you think that’s a new design but he was doing it ages ago.

Zaha Hadid, I think every body has a lot of respect for her, just because what she does is so groundbreaking, she constantly pushes the boundaries.

Future Systems, they are amazing but Jan Kaplicky has just died…

Really? I always imagined them to be a really young lot of designers…

No, they’re dead old, in their 70’s.  

They designed the basement food hall in the Manchester Selfridges.

Yeah they did the Bull Ring in Birmingham too but its worth looking at the Prague Library. It’s a library that they designed and got it through the planning stages but it never got built. People say that he pushed it that far and he pushed himself too far and that was his last project before he died. His work is inspiring but in terms of architects whose style I like, I used to be really into Tado Ando, his concrete buildings such as the one in Picadilly Gardens.

Im inspired constantly by different architects and designers.

I guess its not just architects that inspire you

Im inspired by everything. Music, film directors, I think its true that you can get inspiration from everything that is around you, its not just about your profession.

All the creative industries inspire one another.

Architects do have a reputation for being a well dressed bunch, whats it like where you work?

There is a perception of us being smart, but it is still a creative industry and I think fashion and architecture go hand in hand. I just wear a shirt, jumper, jeans and shoes and I normally feel pretty smart.

Do you view fashion as art of as more of a commercial money led industry?

I totally see it as art. You can take so much from what fashion designers do. The Matthew Williamson exhibition at the Urbis last summer was dead interesting. There is so much structure to garments that you can apply to architecture. I love it when I see someone really well dressed or someone wearing something unusual too.

What are your favourite brands?

Barbour is one. I’d like a Breitling watch, but thats not what I can afford at the moment, I like Fred Perry and Marks & Spencers, they have classic stuff in there.

Do you think you’re influenced by trends?

I think we all are without really knowing. I just tend to wear what I like, if I see a kid wearing something I like then I might buy it, but then he’s probably bought it because he saw it in a magazine, and it goes round like that, we are influenced without knowing it.

Whose style do you admire?

I used to think Kanye West looked good. He used to wear loads of Ralph Lauren.

He’s designing for Louis Vuitton now.

Have you seen that graffiti artist whose just collaberated with Louis Vuitton?

Yeah its Steven Sprouse, ive seen the bags.

They’ve done a skateboard as well which comes in an L.V plastic box, its pretty cool.

Whats your favourite item that you own?

The best piece I own has to be my Barbour jacket, it keeps me so warm.

Its something you can keep forever, an investment.

Exactly, you can send them off to get them rewaxed and you can get them tailored too. So basically you can keep the same one forever. Mine’s got an attatchable hood too.

What is going to be your next purchase?

A Lens Baby.

Whats that?

They’re called Lens Babies and they are just a series of lenses for cameras. You attach them to the lense and you can get some interesting images.


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Hannah Murgatroyd













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