Stephen Drew00:03

Hello, everyone fits first day. One more day to Friday, one more day to the weekend, but I'm going to help you break up this week. Don't worry. We're going to get over the hump together. All will be revealed in 25 seconds. I got my bow ready. I've got the massive my room ready, but more importantly, I've got an amazing guest.

Just the safety and more seconds. Don't worry about it. We'll be there. Grab that sandwich. Is it practice today? I was at a very mediocre Sainsbury's. Don't worry about it. We'll go for it now.

Hello everyone. I am Stephen Drew in it's Thursday and together we're alive. I've got a fantastic guest here. The ominous Chris year is actually Chris Simmons, who you may have seen on LinkedIn. Chris is an architect. Well, that that really helps. Cause the show is about architectures and they, but he's an architect who does amazing illustrations.

There's all this crazy awesome stuff is at Squire's and partners. And there's set up something called Artex instruction. Now, Chris, welcome to the stage and I should have tested this before, but hopefully you can hear a clap and I'll do it.

Chris Simmons01:22

I can hear a clap. Thank you very

Stephen Drew01:23

much. Thanks. Yeah. Well, I did a member jumping in.

Intro then maybe you can eloquently tell me and the audience a little bit about yourself and then we'll, we'll go into the nitty gritty we're talking about today.

Chris Simmons01:38

Okay. So I'm Chris persimmons. Um, so I'm an associate director at squadron partners. I've been there for eight years. Um, I, I think I started that when I just qualified as an architect.

So I'm um, about eight years qualified post about three, um, And I think my experience of architecture has been incredibly positive. You know, I'm really passionate about saying actually I really loved being an architect and I think it's a really positive and, and, and, you know, varied career path. And, you know, part of that is.

Setting up architect's instruction, which is, um, basically a sort of support and mentoring service, um, community type thing for a young architects and architecture students trying to basically. You know, make support you of, of, in, in your kind of careers, look at how, um, you can transition from university into practice support at sort of both ends and, you know, try and give a bit of.

My experience and, you know, my know how I'm trying to make things a bit easier. There's a, there's a good quote that I read recently on, on the socials. And it was be the person that you needed, um, you know, earlier in your career sort of thing. So, you know, that's, that's, my aim is trying to give a bit back and, and, um, hope you guys, and, you know, make that journey a bit easier because it's long it's arduous.

It's, you know, got very. Different directions. You can go in, you know, architecture is such a large and varied career paths, as you know. So even I'll tell you, you know, you don't necessarily just begin, you know, don't, you don't do an architecture to course just to become an architect. There's so many other way, you know, other things you can go into and, you know, different avenues you can go down.

So yeah, basically it's, it's, you know, trying to support and, um, you know, do a bit more and, and let Steven says, yeah, Uh, I love drawing, you know, I'm always been passionate about drawing and it's kind of importance in. Architecture and communicating, um, you know, your ideas. So that's a big passion of mine and that sort of comes through in the content that I sort of produce.

Um, yeah, I think that's, that's kind of the summary

Stephen Drew03:56

of it. Amazing. Well, you can see my Chrome here cause I didn't select just the browser. So if anyone's thinking of Robin may, I'm actually looking at security, those at the moment. So. Don. Thank goodness. I haven't got my address out like crazy because everyone can see all my tabs, but hopefully they're looking at your awesome sketches on, not that I should sort of say, cause we're alive.

If anyone at any point has a question for Chris, just ask it. And as long as it's not too inappropriate and this kind of, okay, it can be a little bit provocative, but you know, as long as it's in the realm of accessibility, so. Band on LinkedIn. We will have that question. So me and Christ, we're going to talk a little bit about the architect's instruction in a, in a bit more detail later, but it was actually interesting, Chris.

So I'm going to bring it back to us for just a second. So before this, we were talking about a few things we wanted to cover today, and I think one important topic is actually the disconnect between architecture school and practice. And my understanding is that's probably one of the fails. Made you do your website maybe, and the way you can help students as well, and constantly bringing people into the Squires partner's office and so forth.

But can you tell me in your experience and then I'll share mine a little bit. How, where you feel the disconnect is between architecture school and practice.

Chris Simmons05:22

So I think, I think everyone's kind of everyone that's been through the process realizes that there is a disconnect and I think there are some positives and some negatives to that, you know, I think, like I said, Architecture is a massive career is a massive.

You know, severe of, of, of different career paths and things like that. And it's very complicated and you can't learn it all in university. Um, I think basically from my experience, you know, you do your part one, you do three years. I went to, um, uh, architecture school of Canterbury, um, and that's very much art space.

So it's, it's an old sort of sixties arts college. Um, that runs the course and I had a great experience, but obviously you come into practice and you're just like, wow, this is, this is different world was kind of, yeah. Yeah, exactly. And you know, I think nine times 10, the architecture we'll talk to will say similar things.

Yeah. Um, and I think in some parts it's very difficult because you are. You know, you make a lot of assumptions. You make a lot of, you know, it's quite scary going into practice and, and understanding, you know, so many different phases of design, you know, onsite, you know, pre-construction things and it's just, it can be very intimidating now.

I've also found that going back for part two, you know, there were still people that weren't really sure about their career path, pat part two. So they would go, oh, you know, I want to be an architect. I think, you know, I need to do a part two, maybe. So I'll, I'll do that. And you, you know, you get drawn along this, you know, this, this career of, you know, learning of seven years or eight years or not.

I think, I mean, there's not many people that do it in seven years anymore. I don't think, um, But, you know, along this journey with this idea of, you know, becoming an architect is, is this, this, this thing over here and still at part two, there are people that aren't quite sure. And, and, you know, I think it was only a part two where it really clicked for me that this is definitely, definitely, definitely what I want to do and me seeing the, sort of the wood through the trees.

So thing like just, you know, being able to. Um, the role and understand, you know, that this would be my future career and, and, you know, I'm, I'm, like I said, I love being an opposite and I'm really happy that I have done it, but it is that thing of, you know, in one, in one space, I kind of think there's a positive that you are, you know, you're not stuck learning all the technical elements and all the boring stuff at university.

I look, I, I enjoy the fact that, um, You know, university is there to teach me how to design. It teaches me process. And that's the kind of the thing. I always talk to people about this. Like whether I'm designing a master plan, a house or a toilet key, because it's all about design process. You know, those are the fundamentals of kind of what we do as architects.

And, you know, for me, university does fulfill those things. So in one way there's a disconnect and that's kind of a good thing because, you know, I don't want to be living. All the stuff that I need to do in practice, because you know, it's necessarily that intriguing and also, you know, policies change and, and, you know, materiality things change and, and, and regulations change and things like that.

So I think. Yeah, in one way, university is good because it gives you the sort of backbone to your, um, architectural understanding. But also, you know, it leaves graduates not knowing, you know, not actually being that useful to companies, you know, in a lot of, a lot of sentences, you know, You know, software trading, for example, I'm, I'm a big advocate for saying, you know, when you apply and we look at the CVS and things like that, you know, I'm not that interested in, in what software, you know, because you know, software can be taught, but I'm kind of interested in your, your ideas and your thought processes and you know, things like that.

But you know, a lot of architects need you to hit the ground running. You know, on day one, right? We need to do this package, jump in. You need to know the basics. You need to understand, you know, the basics of the software and things like that. And, and a lot of universities don't give you that, that, that. So, I mean, yeah, I'd love to, I'd love to hear about your experience.


Stephen Drew09:40

Well, not, not too, not too far away. I, you, you will laugh cause I know you do mentoring and I think that's so important and I do a bit of career coaching, but I've been referred to by another coaches, what would be the equivalent of the front end architect? Because I don't talk about what you do in practice, but for me, the disconnect that I see with a lot of people.

The one thing in university that's kind of skipped off a lot is actually how to get a job, right? Because it's spent so long doing your thesis and your, your, your portfolio crisis and all that stuff to be pinned up on the wall and it gets marked. And then it's like, go and guys, go out there, get a job.

And how you do that. It's kind of, um, very, very, very broad. And I think that some universities are getting much better at doing that, which is great involving, um, people in how to get a job near the end, because you can't really cover it in like an hour seminar. Like, okay, you gotta get your CV and portfolio without, you know, having been a hiring manager as well.

Having seen a lot of CV import for. There's different things at work. Some things that don't, but it's very open to interpretation and how people get that style across. But, um, yes, when I was looking as a part one, I remember putting software on my CV. And I knew MicroStation very little. I think I opened it like three times and I was like, right.

I'll put that on the CV.

Chris Simmons11:10

Isn't it. If you're looking at 30 times,

Stephen Drew11:12

how maybe right. It's open to interpretation. Why not? Again, why? I think you have to

Chris Simmons11:16

start writing as much

Stephen Drew11:17

as I do. Oh yeah. I called them the wheelie bars of nothingness, you know, I'm like 80% it's. Um, but yeah, so I think I put MicroStation on.

And the practice I joined in at the end, the EPR, they were like, oh, you're micro station. That's good to come here. I go for an interview, even though they did train us up, but it's one of them, things of how these little bits, luckily, like you said, they didn't say, are you a MicroStation guru or anything, but these little bits of information that actually, um, got me the job, but to your question of when I was in industry, I was very lucky on my part one.

But I joined a very creative team and they kind of got me in the easier bit of first crest by like I'm doing some Photoshop and all this stuff with some general arrangements. And that was quite nice. So it really ease me. And the culture shock for me though actually was when I went to do my part too.

And, um, I think that, because my part one. Experienced in, in the industry was good, but it was maybe not as detailed focuses the team I went on. I just, I, I got frozen in Christ. So those technical drawings and I mess them all up kind of thing, you know, it was, it was just one, one disaster after another. So I think that that could be enough of a disconnection.

You know, when you go back on your part, I think that hiring managers have a very different idea of what they want over there. Part two. And I I'd love to hear your thoughts on that. Have you hired any part twos that have come back from university? And I imagine they've all got different experience that they part ones, right.

Which can be disconnected. Yeah.

Chris Simmons13:03

I think we've always been quite lucky because we have a lot of part ones that come back to us, that part after that sort of thing. So it's that continuity and, you know, I think, you know, you're probably doing something right. If you've got people wanting to come back afterwards.

So I think that's a positive, you know, for the, the company in general. Um, but yeah, you're completely right. It is, you know, and, and another thing, this is, this is about that disconnect because apart one, you know, people. The PO, there are a lot less part, one job opportunities around. I feel like, you know, and it's, it's much more difficult to get apart one job, you know, and it's, it's, it's almost that thing of it being a Rite of passage that, you know, you require other architects because they know the system and they know that we've all been through that process that you, you need to support, you know, people at a young age and, and, and provide the jobs for part one.

And let you say some part ones are ingrained in a team and they're supportive and that. You know, they are mentored and, and some are there to, you know, do some coloring in and, you know, things like that. And that's the worst, but, you know, I mean, I'm not, I'm not trying to belittle anyone, but it is, there's some architect practices see it as a kind of an additional pair of hands, rather than someone you're trying to bring along in the, in the, in the process.

Right. And you're right at part two is kind of when it all gets a bit more real and, and. You know, you need someone to jump in and, and, and, um, you know, hit the ground running sort of thing. But as, as with anything, it's about understanding someone's level of ability, understanding. You know how much time and effort you need to put in as a employer, you know, as a, you know, someone's joining your team, you can't just expect them to, right.

You know, you, they won't go off and do that. You need to understand them. You need to get to know them. You need to understand their abilities, their understanding. And I think that's in one part, why I always I've, I've always felt like, you know, you have to go above and beyond. Mental people properly. It takes an additional amount of effort from us as more senior people to explain something.

And I've always been really passionate about, you know, stopping for a second. So. You know, setting, setting goals rather than individual tasks, you know, not just say, I need you to draw this detail. It's about communicating what this means. What's the impact. What's the bigger picture, you know, and letting people kind of, you know, learn in a way guide themselves through this process, you know, and that's, you know, not, not every, not every practice and not every architects are the same in that way.

And also because, you know, if you're under resourced and. You know, you're not, you're, you're already up against it with fee and things like that. You won't have the time and the inclination to make that extra effort. And it is it's the younger architects and the, the, the Architectural Assistant, which lose out on that support, you know, and, you know, while we're talking about it, they're the ones that then ended up having to work extra hours and, and things to make up, you know, All that, you know, the industry is just getting tighter and tighter and squeezed and squeezed.

And, you know, we're, we're, we're fight obviously, you know, UI and everyone else is trying to fight against, you know, unpaid overtime and exploitation of, you know, younger members of staff and things like that. And it's, it's such a balance. It's such a, you know, when you're trying to get experience and, you know, obviously when you go into practice, you want to try and make a good impression.

You want to try and take on workloads and show that you can. You know, you can manage them and, you know, it's, it's such a tricky thing, you know, and, and all of us are just trying to help and try and make it a bit.

Stephen Drew16:42

I think you're right. Well, well, if you saw me clicking away, then by the way, Chris, I wasn't deliberately being rude.

I was bringing up that beautiful list of questions that you prepared for me as the whole. You, no, I'd be very, um, a bit rusty of that. Now. I would be the, I'd be the one on your team with all, you'd see you the favor in them. All that would be gone. None of that. I. I was bringing in the few things up now, we'll just see what we can cover today.

Cause you're working. This is your lunch break and we will appreciate you here. But as you said, it's very difficult. Isn't it? The how we can break the expectation of young, young architects over overworked and underpaid. There's so many facets that I've seen on one hand, I've been lucky that last year in particular, I did a lot of work in the architectural practice as their hiring manager at accurate Lowry, where they pay for overtime.

And that was even the tricky things. What they've done Chris, is that they pay for a certain amount of overtime, but they try not to pay any more over that because there is no overtime after that, because there's a point where. You know, it's it's, you can almost encourage too much over time, but it was extremely rewarding.

All the staff love it. And it meant that by, um, introducing paid overtime that the, um, because that's all factored then in. The, the projects, the budgets, and you as an associate director, you're very acutely aware then of the costs and if the project is going over and, and, um, and so I fought, that was a good answer too.

One way that we can break the expectation that young architects, um, overwork, and then the pay this, that the old paid overtime should become more and more. Um, and it shouldn't be such like a rarity in architecture. You know, it doesn't mean that practices have to do it, but I never hear to have paid overtime years ago.

And, and I'd love to hear your thoughts. Oh, you can

Chris Simmons18:44

make it. If, you know, if, if these guys can make it work in their business model, you know, they, they appear to be a very successful up and coming. Architecture practice. So, you know, if they can make it work in their business model and, and, you know, achieve great things, then why come others?

For me, that is that question. I mean, I mean, I don't know the answers, but you know, it is. That thing is, it's like people talk about the four day week, you know, it's like, if some practices can do that, then you know, it's, it is possible. And it is, it does require people at the sort of Vanguard of, of these sorts of things to be able to actually stop and listen to, you know, what, what, what people want.

And, you know, I mean, you'll be acutely aware that, you know, a lot of power is held in the. You know, in, in, in the people getting the jobs at the moment, looking for the jobs, you know, the, the statistics are much different than they have been previously. I think, you know, when I was looking for a job previously, a long time, you know, long, very, very long, long time ago,

Stephen Drew19:45

you know, don't worry about

Chris Simmons19:47


I'll this one. Um, yeah, it was, it was much a much different environment. And, you know, obviously with, with, uh, You know, with the way things work, there'll be, there'll be ups and downs and, and, and things like that. And the market will follow that, but it feels like it's very much, you know, in favor of people, you know, wanting, you know, really positive cultures and, and, and people being much more picker about the, um, employer and, you know, benefits, not just being a bit of healthcare here and there, or a bear on a Friday night being actual, tangible, You know, I and cultures, you

Stephen Drew20:27

know, I'm glad you pointed that out.

The foosball table, it doesn't stack up anymore in 2022. It's a nice to have. Right. But you're very, very accurate at the moment. Um, it's been nicknamed the great resignation, which basically means that there are lots of people, especially last year resigned and that, oh, they moved on to other jobs and they think that the BBC last week said that there was a record amount of job vacancies in the UK at the moment.

So there are much more job vacancies than there are job seekers. So you're right. We have the opposite. The architect has the opportunity to selectively. Where they want to work. So it's not just the foods, but it's the culture, isn't it. And it's the . And, and I think that of that's really important. And I think that that's really one way to go.

So you're right. In one sense, one way to break exploitation has kind of happened that there's, there's a need for architects. You can't, you can't just, it's not the case. If you've got 10 people queuing up and they were exactly picture practice. And so on that sense,

Chris Simmons21:41

I know it's difficult, but there was a thing about strength as well, like coming into a practice and knowing your worth in a sentence.

Like it's very easy to come into a very intimidating place in a particularly large practice will be, you know, there are systems in place, which you don't fully understand and ways of working that you're not aware of. And, you know, I think a little bit of is about holding your own and managing your own time, you know, and I think.

You know, the, the I've never valued, you know, people working all hours, you know, I think, I think I can see through it and, you know, I don't think, I mean, you know, there are other people, there are the practices that, that, that work incredibly long hours and, you know, things like that. But I think the general culture of fear of looking over your shoulder of, you know, they're going home before me, and should I stay a little bit longer?

You know, to try and impress this person. Like I, you know, having, having been through that period of my life and now, you know, on the other side of it, you have a lot of balance in that. And you know, I, I value people that can do their job within the hours, allocated them, do it effectively. And you know, if it means.

You know, just being a little bit, you know, one less coffee break or just being a bit more efficient in, in what you're doing and trying to manage your time a little bit better. Like, yeah. It's easy to say. Cause I'm not, I'm not employed by a starchitect that wants to take the piss out of me constantly.

And I haven't had that experience. I know people that have, but then, then again, If it's a, if it's a buyer's market, don't go there. You know, if you, if you've heard bad things, you know, there are things, you know, architecture is a small world. You know, if people are aware that an employer is, you know, has a bad reputation and, and there are a few out there that have very bad reputations when it comes to, you know, hours, particularly.

You know, stop, stop knocking on their doors. You know, it's, the power was in your hands to a certain extent and yeah, their name might look it on your CV, but also if you can see that someone's worked there for six months and burnt out and you know, that doesn't actually mean as much as people might think of.

Stephen Drew23:54

Um, I think, I think you're right. And, uh, while, uh, I quite like the provocative to some people that might sound quite provocative, but it really is true. If you don't fancy work in those long hours, you really shouldn't go with air. And sometimes as you said on the scene, as it were, you definitely can kind of know about what a practice is before you get an into it.

It shouldn't be a shock going to sit and practice. That they work long hours. And while that can be provocative to some, actually what I've been talking about, I think was provocative to one of our guests, um, on YouTube, uh, when we were talking about fees and stuff. So I'm just going to bring it up. Ms.

Things C. Things be says any fault. The table PA E is related to the fact that graduates are not skilled enough and the employer has to train up the staff for all the knowledge and skills not learned at uni. Mr. Slingsby I don't agree with that. I think if you haven't got the time to train up a graduate, shouldn't hire a graduate and if there's not, and then the next bit was talking about.

Um, the project cost. What is the project cost eat more fee if you can't pay it over time? Well, then that's a good point. Cause then it goes down to your fees and when sometimes architects can, um, sign up for a low fees to win a prestigious project and all that stuff. And guess what? In my experience, if the fee starts on the project, glow crest, From my around that you agree with this, but if the fee starts quite low, then already that project can be strained before it kicks off.

And that's when, in my experience of seeing projects where fees lower is that it's more likely staff will do overtime and all this crazy stuff to kind of make sure that the project gets out the door. Um, so my answer would have been. To that is that the fee that you've got perhaps is too low. And again, I don't think that's, um, a good situation for you because Mr.

Slingsby that might affect your reputation down the line in this bond, will the grass doors, all these employees going to be talking about your long time and overpaid. So, Hey, but I really appreciate you sharing your viewpoint on you. Is there. You'd like to add to that crisis. Should we move

Chris Simmons26:05

on though? I think to be honest, I think they're fair points.

And, and I think there is an element of, you know, universities should be teaching you X, Y, and Z, but you know, you might use, you know, you might use X software, you might use Y software. You might just use the software. You know, that is very varied, you know? Cause you know, I might come out and I'm nice at this thing or an answer this thing and actually then that's not relevant to what you're doing.

It's. Yeah, for me, it's, it's about that core skillset. And, you know, I think there is, as with everything Architecture, there's a lot of learning on the job as well. You know, it doesn't have to be formal paid for training because I understand, you know, I do appreciate that that's expensive. As you know, particularly if you're not a larger practice to factor in software training is, is probably an expense.

Um, but also like, you know, Yeah, the problem is, is part of the whole system is low fees and the low fees push everyone down, but also it's the de-valuing of the architect and, you know, no one appreciates the value and skills that we bring to something. And that's the kind of thing that's happened over the X number of years.

Yes. Through, you know, the, the, the, the watering down of. Roland profession, you know, we're not contract administrators anymore. There's 60 people on design team rather than five, and it's all part of the system, but I don't think it's easy enough to just say the system's broken. So the youngest people are the ones that get screwed.

You know, I, I think we need to kind of look at it in a holistic way. And I think a lot of it does come down to fee. And, you know, if you don't win that project a low fee, but you know, you can put a fee in that sensible then surely as a business, that is, that's the right thing to do, you know? Yeah.

Stephen Drew27:50

I mean, you, you, you you've, you've handled the trickiest question with me together.

Um, we got through it. Um, I would just say even then, even in recruitment, because I don't practice architecture in, in the, in the sense anymore, but I do recruit and coach and then stuff like that, or the young things just like that. I still have competitors where the fees are low and I have to make a decision all the time, not to lower my fee crest because the moment I start working on.

Rose with lower fees. I don't do such a good job. My time is distracted. I'm spread too thin. And so it's not even just an architecture sector problem. It's being combatative. And I think unfortunately, as well as that, while you've got developers or something, and people move in the fees, lower actually architectural practices competing with each other to get the projects though in the feeds as well.

That can also lead to what I call like the downward spiral. You know, where in the end? Yeah. Someone wins the project that 2% and they go, we can't do this. So we're going to get the part one and the part two. And when the client comes in, we get everyone to sit at the desk and when they go with us, you know, they can go back to their teams.

And like, I've seen that once. Yeah. But they, oh, right. Well, let's see how we're doing for time. We got a little bit more time, but. Chris, when we need to go in a bit, I want to bring it back to architects and instruction a bit, because I think a lot of what you do is very interesting and helpful. So in particular, I want to talk about this.

The most important skills you think are to learn an architecture school, and you can expand upon that as well through your career. I'd love to know your thoughts on that. And while I'm going to bring up some of your stuff,

Chris Simmons29:38

I look a bit younger enough. Oh,

Stephen Drew29:40

that's my email's

Chris Simmons29:42

conscious. You're showing it.

Stephen Drew29:44

Hold on. You, uh, G yeah, G GDPR, like I've been gone from my accounts, the lazy people don't worry about it, but yes. So go through it.

Chris Simmons29:54

It's quite pertinent ready. Cause I was, I was doing, um, crits that Canterbury on Friday. So it always reminds you of, you know, what the important skills are when you're watching people present there.

I think it was fourth and fifth. Um, work for me, architecture is about communication in the first, you know, it's all about communication. It's all about, you know, you taking set idea in your head and communicating it to somebody else, whether it be a client, whether it be a planner, whether it be, you know, a building were expensive, whether it be a contractor on site or a specialist or user, you know, it's all about.

Getting whatever this stuff is in here. And whether that is verbally, whether that's putting stuff on the wall for me, whether it's drawing, I mean, that is why I'm so passionate about drawing, because I can't think of a way that I can communicate so effectively. The spatial elements or the materials or the, you know, the, the convergence of lines than on a piece of paper with a pen, you know, there's just not an easier quicker way.

That is so, you know, the, the, the ingrained in my body sort of thing, I don't need to, you know, turn on rabbit, model it, you know, add the parameters and print it out or whatever, you know, I can be on site. I can draw on a bit of plaster board to explain to the guy how to put together a certain detail. We can all stand back and we can talk about it.

You know? So for me, the skill is communication. You know, in, in all senses. And that's why I get quite fed up with, you know, the sort of Naval gazing architecture, community of incredibly long words to explain quite simple things. And because, you know, to what end it's, it's, you know, we're all very impressed and we can all talk about it to each other.

And, you know, it's a very intricate description of whatever you're trying to say, but. And it was an architecture about people, isn't it about communicate communities and, you know, users and stuff. So I think that we have such a ingrained thing and I, I completely went through it as well, like doing history and theory and stuff like that.

At uni, you get obsessed with these incredibly clever sounding things, but actually it's all about. You know, clicks, succinct communication. Yeah. Yeah. And like I said, it's for normal people at the end of the day is you're trying to, you know, I, you know, as, as with a lot of people, you get into architecture because you think you can make a difference and you can improve things.

And, you know, and also I quite like drawing and stuff, you know, they're, they're quite simple things. And, and it's about being able to communicate your ideas. In that way, you know, and then, and then that can lead on to, you know, presentation skills. It can move on to, you know, public speaking and stuff like that.

And, you know, crits are incredibly not quite liked Chris, to be honest, I know it sounds really geeky, but I always really liked the quotidian. Yeah, I know. It's a bit weird. Isn't it? Um, and it's, it's, it's, it's a way to talk about your work and. Yeah. Talk about your ideas and have a discussion. And, you know, you can, you can get offended by, but what people say, oh, you can have, try and have a constructive dialogue with them and try and learn something from it, you know?

And, and it's always that thing of like the people that couldn't take that criticism were the ones that kind of, weren't making the most of the Chris. I mean, obviously. You know, people are bloody tired by that point and, and, you know, nerves were a bit afraid, so it's easy to stumble a crit, but that's so useful.

Um, okay. So communication, I'll start talking about that.

Stephen Drew33:40

So it's important. Don't worry. You it's so key.

Chris Simmons33:46

Yeah. And then for me, empathy is the other big one. So me put myself in. Uh, you, you know, in somebody else's shoes. So I used to work at a place called Hawks architecture. They're based in, in Kent. And we used to do beautiful one-off houses for people in the countryside.

Um, my boss had been on grand design, so it was lots of grand designs types, um, houses. And that was lovely. Yeah. It was full, you know, Mr. Mrs. X or Y and, and they, they saved up all their money and they were trying to, you know, do this dream house and you really had to try and get to know them. You understood the couple dynamic and you understood the family, you know, and.

The briefing process was lovely because you were trying to understand, you know, where they moved through the house and how they used it and how fam how it might adapt in time. And family might move in or move out, you know, kids growing up or Odie parents coming in, and then you would throw in, you know, the sort of sustainable aspects and how, how, you know, the sun path works with everything.

And, and, you know, it was all about understanding. People, you know, how, and, and at the end of the day, that's all it's about, you know, you can have architects that are obsessed with buildings as these technical machines have, you know, and how details come together. But, you know, the end goal for me is about.

You know, either providing shelter or space for people, providing people, a place of work to fulfill whatever role they need to do, or people improving, you know, a little extension on the back of someone's house will have a massive change to somebody's. You know, if it's designed, right. If it's designed by an architect who's thoughtful and listens and you know, super passionate about people actually fucking listening about architects and not pushing their own ideas and their own agendas on people.

I mean, obviously we are the ones that come up with the ideas, but we need to be able to listen and filter that information and go through this thorough design process. You know, to give them maybe something that's unexpected that isn't, you know, the standard thing. And I have it all the time off of, you know, friends or people that aren't architects.

It's like, oh, can you just draw us up a set of plans and do this? And it's like, it's not really about that. It's not just about. I want a box on the back and, you know, make it square in a circular window. It's about, you know, how it works, how your life works in that space and, and things like that. And you know, for me, it's, it's, it's kind of what Architecture is about is, you know, there is a result, normally it's a building or it's a shelter, it's a, you know, whatever it is, but it's about people.

So, yeah. Communication and empathy are my sort of big, big thing.

Stephen Drew36:29

I love him. I am. I want to add to that point before you tell us all about where everyone can find you and, um, tell us about the Arctic instruction, but creates is so useful because. Can convey in concepts and, and, and the illustrating the people at your scheme.

And this is essentially a scale that you're going to be doing in your job interview. Great. It's pretty much the same thing, except in the, in the job interview. It's not just the project that you're, you're, you're conveying or sailing, and they know selling can be a controversial word, but in true salesman, the ship you want to, you want it to convince that person that you're the right person for the job.

And I think that. An amazing way to learn that because if you think about, and I always tell people, you know, you think about how stressful crates