|| This page forms the submission by Steve Smith for the
Year 6 Management requisite for the 2002/3 session at the Manchester
School of Architecture.
This years course, run by Vic Basil and Dominic Wilkinson, consisted
of a series of 7 lectures given by practicing Architects
from a wide variety of firms, ranging from sole practitioners to large international
companies. Each visitor was asked to speak about the experience of running
a practice from their particular point of view.
A summary of each lecture can be seen by following
the links to the left.
The series began with the smallest and youngest practice, Arca. Partner John Lee gave an enjoyable
account of the highs and lows of setting up and running a small practice.
He was followed by John Hickey of Downs Variava, a medium sized firm
also based in Manchester. Mr Hickey gave a interesting account of
the financial challenges of running a practice and described in some
detail the importance of cash flow, and not just profits in a successful
David Cash, of BDP, the UK's largest architecture firm described how
the practice is increasingly focusing on the growing amount of public
sector work which is a challenge even for a practice of this size.
These sentiments were echoed by Paul Hyett, the current RIBA President,
who reiterated his opinion that the UK needs more large firms to cope
with the new influx of public sector work. He lamented the fact that
much of this work is currently going to American firms and explained
the historical reasons for this. His strongest advice for future architects
was to be fully aware of the social and political context within which
buildings get commissioned.
Next to speak was Irena Bauman, cofounder of Bauman Lyons Architects Ltd. She gave an interesting
introduction into how Belbin Team Roles can be used to understand our strengths and weaknesses and
built stronger teams within which to work.
Brian Johnson of newly created firm Aedas was the penultimate speaker
and he explained how globalisation had informed the process of mergers
that had taken place to create the new firm, of which Abbey Hansen
Rowe was one. The firm now has over 850 staff in 8 countries worldwide
and is currently thriving on PFI school and hospital projects. Mr
Johnson gave an introduction into the PFI process expressed some concerns
that architects might have about it's outcomes.
Steve Hodder of Hodder Associates, a small to medium sized practice
was the final speaker. He described the journey he had experienced since
founding the practice nearly 20 years ago. Most interesting were the
pitfalls that arose when attempting to expand the practice into a
new London office after his Stirling Prize win brought a sharp increase
in work load.