Sarah Lebner - Drive and Persistence - Practising Architecture and Building Communities
By Stephen Drew
April 29, 2022
0:00 / 50:02
Stephen Drew00:01

Hello everyone. I am Stephen Drew from the Architecture Social, and I have a fantastic guest here all the way around the world. And we originally met when I was incredibly. Tipsy setting up the Architecture, Social community. And we met actually in America, but all the way from Australia, I have the fantastic Sarah Lubna accomplished architect, a community maker, and recently.

I found that you have a new family as well. Syrah don't you? So I've seen all the sites.

Sarah Lebner00:37

Hello everyone.

Stephen Drew00:39

Well, you thank you for being here, Sarah, first and foremost. Okay. So for anyone that doesn't know you, do you want to tell us in your own words a little bit about yourself?

Sarah Lebner00:53

Absolutely. Uh, so I'm the principal architect at a multidisciplinary firm in Canberra, Australia called lighthouse architecture and science.

We specialize in energy efficient housing. Um, I was recently awarded the Australian Institute of architects, national emerging architect prize. And. I'm also the author of a book, 101 things I didn't learn in architecture school and wish I had known before my first job, um, which is also connected to the online platform, my first Architecture job, uh, dot com and the membership community, uh, Cold the architect project, which is a place to help, um, students and graduates, bridge that gap between study and

Stephen Drew01:40

practice.

Amazing. There's so much good stuff there. And I do think that everyone here should check it out, but let's go back to the bridge. Let's expand upon what I said, cause I'm sure there's people, people going, what? The house you met in America drunk? No. Okay. So say you were so bad cause. Halfway through your pregnancy.

And there, we were setting up the mighty networks and then we were set on the mighty networks and at the time, so you were setting up your amazing resource, whereas for anyone here, basically Sarah walks you through your first job in architecture. You walk through, you know, becoming an, a. All those skills.

And I was setting up the Architecture, Social, which is kind of a little bit different, you know, it's a little bit like an open platform for people in architecture. So we were on this course and so we had this fantastic, uh, American style introduction, the setting it up and it was an American time. So you were probably there.

So it was like,

Sarah Lebner02:39

it was like probably like in the morning for me, I think at nine o'clock and then I, and then I realized who's this who's this Stephen architect guy. And it was like midnight for you. I think you are watching pirates of the Caribbean at the same time.

Stephen Drew02:55

Good memory. It was actually a Jurassic park montage, Richard Berry.

I'll be. And I had a, uh, like a, probably a bottle of wine. So when I got there, I was saying, Hey, I just got a question, but we, but yeah, that's been a learning kid. That's definitely been a learning curve, but we met each other from there. I've been quite impressed with all the stuff you do. So before this, you sent, oh, likewise.

Wow. Nah, hang on. You're the real deal as far as I'm concerned, but check this out. So I, listen, I watched your video. Before this. Okay. And we, and we'll put a link to it in the podcast if anyone wants to go to it. But I was almost a little bit Travis this morning. So I love London. And from London, I've got the noise out there, but you know, it was interesting seeing.

On the farm, you know, on your family's farm and also seeing you in your architecture practice, which I think is called lighthouses. And then, um, and so tell me a little bit about your roots. So it's your backgrounds growing up on the farm, and then you got inspired to do Architecture.

Sarah Lebner04:06

Yeah, absolutely. So, um, I'm, I'm from a very small town called Corian.

Um, it's sort of halfway between Sydney and Melbourne. If anyone knows their Australian geography, uh it's in, in the mountains, it's not far from the snowy mountains. We, we do have some snow in Australia, often surprises some people. Um, and yeah, it's, it's, uh, I'm fourth generation on the farm and my family are actually returning back to their soon and I'll be doing the remote regional Architecture thing.

Um, so I guess I was really influenced by that growing up, particularly when it came to sort of sustainability. And passive design because you just understand that stuff when you grow up in the country. So I met, I primarily became an architect out of an interest to pursue, um, sustainability and improving, um, the world dealing with climate change, uh, which has, has led me to.

Through a few different jobs, but landing at that multidisciplinary practice, lighthouse, architecture and science, which I'm the principal architect, but it's owned by a building scientist. So we have scientists and architects working together to, um, yeah. Collaboratively, um, optimize and test, um, our, our homes.

Stephen Drew05:29

That's amazing. There's an architectural practice in the UK where. Uh, oh, and architects and I used to work with them on recruitment and the people that set it up, one was an ex rugby player for Wales. The other person was a theater production and the other founder again, was a scientist. So yeah, it's an interesting mix, but I liked the work that they did.

And so. I can see, as you said, there's like that little inspiration kind of really helps I imagine, right. To get your own identity in terms of lights. I was through.

Sarah Lebner06:06

Yeah, well, we actually, we started out, um, I joined the company when they were jigsaw housing and there were three directors then a builder, a scientist, and an architect.

So that's where our roots were in that model. And it was a fantastic model for starting up. Um, but, uh, then as the firm grew, um, long story short, we ended up splitting that model. Um, so splitting with construction, just to have architecture and science and working with. Um,

Stephen Drew06:33

builders. Yeah, well, look, it's really interesting, but so you got this phone, you're working full time at lights out, so you're, you know, you're deep in the trenches.

You've got your family, which is fantastic as well. But what I, what I find is a way of both busy bees and basically we met because you were setting. The community, which is part of what you do, but let's expand the pawn for, because a lot of the people that listen to this in the UK, um, you know, they are from the UK because you know, this is where I'm from and we've got a lot of people and, you know, in Europe as well in some listeners in.

The U S but for anyone that's not. Oh, great. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So we're

Sarah Lebner07:14

getting there. We'll get, I'm just going to duck down and plug my laptop in, but please keep going clearly on the ball. As you can say,

Stephen Drew07:23

connected, maybe some people are not familiar with your, I've got your book now, but you want to tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind the website and every.

Sarah Lebner07:36

Yeah, sure. And I will just clarify that, um, when I'm not on maternity leave, which I currently am, um, I've most recently been working three days a week. So I think it's important to say that because, um, uh, I guess our unique business model where I'm the principal, but I'm not the business owner, um, uh, does allow me to do what I do, um, in a part-time mode.

So it is possible. Um, I know a lot of people sort of think you've become an architect and you just. You know, work the rest of your life, but, um, you, with some clever business management, you can be part time. Um, yes, the book, uh, 100 thirties, 101 things I didn't learn in architecture school. Um, I guess it seems like such a common experience when we, uh, when we leave our university, um, learning experience, we've spent all this time at university focusing on, um, design thinking, critical thinking, um, history, culture, all those really worthwhile things.

And then, um, I know the model, uh, most places around the world is the same that you, you're not an architect when you finish university. You are a graduate and then you have to gain work experience to learn a lot of the practical things. And I'm not necessarily criticizing that model because it would just be impossible to add all that stuff into university.

And what you're learning is so different depending on what sort of sector you're in, in architecture. But the problem with it is it means that you go from the rich learning environment of the university into a practice where you're learning. Only the way that one practice does things. You're learning it at a speed of very slow exposure.

So only at the speed of every project you're in often, um, you know, 90% of what you're doing. Isn't that exciting learning stuff. Maybe you're just doing graphics or drafting toilets. So the rate at which you learn all of these things, It's really slow and seems a bit backwards. So, so that's really been, my mission is to, to supplement people in, in those years between, um, getting their first job and hitting and graduation and helping people tick off those goals sooner.

And the first step to that was was my, I simply asked a heap of colleagues. What, what are the things. Really simple, basic things that you wish you'd understood better in your first job. So I guess it goes through, um, you know, some basic construction things, but also professional development, how some businesses work, different construction terms, all of the things.

Um, we, we did this great list between some friends of the 101 things. Um, and yes, it is a play on the opposite book. You probably know the fantastic book, 101 things I learned in architecture school. Um, So yeah, on purpose there, and look, the feedback has just been incredible. So many people seem to keep the book beside them on the desk.

Admittedly, I even keep it on my desk at work is there's some things I researched that I forget. And I often go back and think, oh, I had that number in the book. Uh, yeah. So that, that was step

Stephen Drew10:46

one with the book. Amazing, amazing. So we did the book on the book club here, and so it was really useful. I do think as well, especially in kind of a busy world, it's good to have a book with.

Right. What I like is that you've got the 101 things and you can pick it up and you can read free things, um, and you can put it down and you can return to it and you can refer to, whereas, you know, as opposed to something which is unruly and difficult to read, but, um, I guess was one thing as well. We have in common, apart from the mighty networks, what I admire is that kind of.

Going out of your way to kind of teach someone, maybe the bets that they don't feel very confident for, um, on which helps them with their career. So, uh, one of the inspirations behind the Architecture Social was last year during the time when I was watching Jurassic park and having wine and sat in that the community, but was also that less, so about maybe the literal skills that you have in architecture, but what.

I saw is that you had a lot of people who were leaving university and they didn't really know how to go about getting the job. You know, it was kind of like, Hey, you've graduated, congratulations, good luck out there. Or maybe some universities will have one or two modules, but actually finding a job is incredibly, can be incredibly difficult, especially during a pandemic.

And that's kind of like, um, one of the reasons and the inspiration. That, um, that I set it up, but I am, I do get a lot of joy from that as well. It is a lot of hard work. I imagine like your community to run it. It's a lot of hard work writing. A book must be a lot of hard work, but now that you've done, then, I mean, I what's the response been like to the book and the course and your website.

Sarah Lebner12:42

Yeah, I'm amazing. I guess it's always nerve wracking to put yourself out there. Uh, and I expected that, you know, people might be correcting things or saying, oh, well I would do it differently, but I haven't actually had any of that. Just a whole lot of thank yous, really. Um, people being grateful that it exists and, uh, I guess the next layer past the book, um, there's, there's a website with some useful articles, but then with the membership, um, It's it's really, we, we dive a lot deeper into that.

I guess it's kind of like coaching and mentoring. I was doing a bit of mentoring one-on-one, um, but that's very, time-consuming for me, very expensive for the students and graduates. So I thought there's gotta be a better way to do this. Um, and that's really what the architect project platform is. So it's a.

It's a more intimate paid community compared to the, the Architecture Social. Um, and we have sort of weekly content, whether that's guests, um, or little member sessions, or little challenges that follow a theme. And it's really focused on all that supplementary material. So we don't cover, we never talk about, you know, um, design or history or critical thinking.

Those university things, we focus purely on all that stuff that you're learning. Um, on the job in those first five years. And we do talk about job seeking a bit because I think you're absolutely right. There's um, uh, some people just seem to have a knack for finding a job and knowing how to go about it.

But a lot of people make really. Uh, basic mistakes. Um, and I think engaging with, you know, a service like your providing can just probably shave months or years off a job search to, to help people get, um, a foot in the right direction. And I think, uh, one thing I want to say on that is I think when people are thinking about perhaps doing a course or engaging services on finding a job, They might feel guilty like they're somehow cheating or presenting false information, but I always say not at all, you are showing that you have the resourcefulness, um, to, to, you know, show the best of yourself or to seek out answers to your weaknesses.

So, um, I'm really big on people, um, finding solutions to improving their soft skills as well as their technical.

Stephen Drew15:13

That's really interesting way to put it by the way, I think as well, there's always an also there's a balance out there because I, the, the, when you, you creating a course like yourself, you know, Um, what successful, where there is that?

Yes, I do one on one culture. Then there's a cost to them and we have to be really open about the cost of things, because you're a professional. You mentioned that you work in part time, which I really admire, because as you said, like, you know, the preconception of architecture many years ago, it was like, whoa, it's full time.

What are you doing? But. You can make this balance, but then at the same time, we all want to help everyone. But at the same time, again, things cost, you know, there's an upkeep to doing these things and like, you've got, you know, fantastic children. You have a husband, you have a house these bills need to get paid.

And one of the things that I always. I like to talk about in architecture is you mentioned as well, um, you know, this embarrassed months of maybe looking for help and all this stuff, but there's also this strange ma I used to call it a Britishness, but you can tell me if it's translate van taiko or so forth.

Is that people in Architectural always afraid to talk about money because it's seen as like, oh, that's unprofessional. No, in my opinion, being a professionalist. Totally. Okay. To talk about money. It's totally okay to talk about your salary. You're going to be charging the client fees is really, really important.

And I think a big part of being a professional is talking about. Then even talking about it with your, you know, future job or your current job, and so many people worry about it. And what I was going to say, because I want to get your thoughts on this, but where it feeds into the course is that there's so many stuff free online, but how good is the content?

And what I learned is that there's a relationship between time and money and. When I charged, um, money for something the upside is, I know the participant is really keen, but then you get a serious hour of your time. But what's interesting about your model is that it's not even transactory based upon the hour.

The beauty of. Community is that it's his halfway house, right. Of like, you're there a few hours, but people can interact with each other and it, in that sense, it's great. But also the catches with this thing is it relies on participatory. Isn't that it's like a gym subscription. You got to go to it. You've got to use it.

Yeah.

Sarah Lebner17:47

You got to meet halfway. And I think that's it, isn't it. I think we live in a time where you could probably teach yourself anything you want to know on the internet. Right. But humans just aren't that kind of animal we need. We need something that, uh, pulls us along, I guess, at a lot of what I've seen in the online education and community.

Spice. Cause when you run these things, Stephen, you follow all these groups of other people that do it. Don't you? Cause you're trying to work out how to do it. Well, um, what I've, I've seen more and more is that really these days it's just all about help me learn these things. Hold my hand, put, put me in a group of people gave me a Ramond.

Put it in a format that's going to attract my human brain to engaging with this thing, um, and doing it. And yeah, I th I think that's, that's the benefit of committing to anything like that. And, uh, finally, once we pay for things, we tend to, um, Pay them a bit more respect and actually do them and turn up as well.

Stephen Drew18:54

It's true. It's true. I mean, I'm guilty of it as much as anyone that if I get sometimes a free course that something, or like, you know, it's like, I think like part of the mighty networks was actually, I didn't go to, or cause there was a course, a course to make a course. Right. And I didn't go to all of them because I had a bit of that naughty boy syndrome because it was free.

I was like, ah, I'll watch a recap and stuff. And that. What you ended up doing is you cheat yourself, right? Because the one or two that I did go to you get immense value out to there. And I think that, um, it's the same thing. So whenever I get someone interested in coach, and so the first thing I say is like, are you sure.

All those resources for free on the access to social YouTube. You get me talking for 50 hours, like, and like people get bored of my voice or whatever, but I'm like, it's all that. But then with the coaching, I guess, and this is the interesting thing, I think it's also about accountability. Isn't it? It's about like, I think people, as you said, they want a hundred percent.

They want, they want me or you to come across or whoever and be. How many CVS did you send today and then like, oh yeah, yeah. And then you're like, dude, come on. You can do 20. And that's, um, bizarrely is worth its weight in gold. And the other, the other bit that I was going to say is that what's really calm, easy for me.

And you. It's not obvious for other people and vice versa. So for instance, it's really hard to in your career, look at your own CV, your own portfolio, but it's really easy for me. Who's got a different perspective to offer advice, and I imagine it's the same thing with yourself. So for anyone listening, Don't be disheartened.

That's why you engage with people who are experts in what they do, but you know, it does, you don't need to be the experts on CVS and portfolios. You need to be the expert and doing you, but you can, you know, see me or you to do that. I mean, what's your kind of thoughts on that fee urea thing.

Sarah Lebner21:01

Yeah, we, we actually had a scenario Norton as a guest in the architect project this week.

She's a landscape architect and she runs a podcast called, um, dig beneath design, all about design communication, and she had a. Uh, made a fantastic point because we were talking about, um, how you don't often realize what your communication strengths and weaknesses are because, or any of your strengths and weaknesses, because they do come so naturally to you.

Um, and we were talking about the value of just pulling up some friends or colleagues and saying, Hey, I know this is a bit weird. Would you mind telling me what you think my strengths and weaknesses are? And I was asking her because we were thinking about, um, you know, you can then go out and seek to improve those weaknesses.

But her interesting point was you should double down on what your strengths are like an elite athlete would, right? Because that, you know, improving your weaknesses might get your foot through a door or might help you do with the basics, but honing your strengths. Is what can really help your skills or career take off.

Um, and I think, I think you're doing both when you're engaging in, uh, any kind of, um, conscious, um, development, like we're talking about.

Stephen Drew22:21

That's really interesting. I do think there's something in now. Um, I do think it's good to know what your strengths and weaknesses are. And I used to do it in a, in a round about way, so.

If where I worked before. So look, I thought I went from architecture into recruitment, right? Technical detailing was not my strength. Right. I hate you there. Right. It's just not for me. Okay. I used to love the front end. They used to love doing that stuff. But

Sarah Lebner22:46

as a person say, we're similar on that level.

Oh, okay. Well,

Stephen Drew22:49

there you go. Well, look, you've done really well at. But for me in terms of what, uh, all I do is that I'm very good at talking very good at communicating. And, but I am not very, I am not very organized. You know, you, when you get that list person, that's not me. I've got no list. I've got no plan.

I got to generate a busy you're

Sarah Lebner23:09

making me feel anxious, listening.

Stephen Drew23:12

If you like lists, I'm a nightmare. Cause they like today. I'm going to go with my gut. I'm like, what the hell is it?

Sarah Lebner23:21

Yeah.

Stephen Drew23:22

But then like, because of that, I am good at following my gut. I'm going to lead in teams and stuff. So, but yeah, I always need to work on that balance, however, you're right at them because I know I'm not good on, uh, organizing.

I might have got some software somewhere to do stuff, but, um, do you know what it's like? Just embrace what you're good at the psych two too. That's why I do now. I do a podcast. I do things, but I do have a calendar set up and I do automate things. So like this was automated before Sarah. So I knew you were getting an end by, I knew you would get everything because otherwise if you put it down to me, I'll forget, mate.

You know, so. It's a,

Sarah Lebner24:07

it's a bit of your own weakness. There's a bit of

Stephen Drew24:11

a balance, but so look while you're here, maybe I can get a bit of advice from you. So I do, um, the in-house recruitment for accurate Larry. I run the Architecture. I have a few of these ideas. Okay. But how do you balance lighthouse? How do you balance a family?

How do you balance the community? And like you won awards last year and that's amazing, but how would you balance all this? You got to let me in on the formula, right?

Sarah Lebner24:41

Uh, people have been asking me this and I'm not sure I really know the answer, you know, it's just like, God, I just do it. So I've been trying to think about this.

And, um, how has it a guess at perhaps what some of the answers are? Um, the, the, the kind of cop-out, uh, answer is that you've got to have good team around you, both in your work and in your family. Right? Um, for example, my. It does the grocery shopping and cooks dinner and a point point blank. If he didn't do that.

And I had to do that architect project would not exist. Right. That's an extra hour, at least in my day. Okay. So that's just a word for a lot of my mum, friends. I know that are doing absolutely everything. They don't have time to do any. And similarly at work, you know, having a great team around you, the fact that, uh, Jenny runs the business, um, takes a lot of that business side of things off of me.

Um, but that's not to say that I don't get a hell of a lot done cause I think I do. Um, and gosh, what a. What are the tips? I mean, I do write lists. I am organized. I try to automate things. Um, I th I I'm fiercely efficient, especially since having kids. Um, I would say, you know, I have, uh, templates, for example, set up for.

All of the, um, content that goes out on our Instagram. And it literally takes me a couple of minutes every day that I have to post to just, um, put stuff in there. Um, and I think since having children I've become very decisive in my work, not so much in my personal life, but, um, gosh, I think anyone that has kids is, is about 20 times more efficient than they were just cause you don't have time to dilly dally.

You just got to, um, delegate and move on. So, uh, I'm good. I'll have to mull on that one a little bit more as we talk, because you know, there must be other, other useful things, but, um, yeah. I don't know, trying to be organized, working out shortcuts and hacks.

Stephen Drew26:56

You know what I like about that? It's an honest answer.

And I did the same way. It's a biggest secret. You've got all this stuff going on and I think that there's an element what's good about doing architecture. We all have that like firefighting ability in us, you know, it's basically like one of the few projects on the go you juggle. Do you know what I mean?

You're like, okay, I've got a better period of time here in a bit, a bit of time there. But, um, you

Sarah Lebner27:18

know, I I've become really good at delegate. Yeah, you've just, you've just got, you've just got to, as you get better in practice, you w w as you move up in a practice in a firm, you don't have time for what you're being paid and how much work you're managing to sort out, you know, the little annoying things.

That you could do, but you know, a lot of things come across my desk and it's like, well, I could sit here for an hour and, um, correct the graphics on this thing. Or I could ask someone to do this for me in two minutes and move on to the next thing.

Stephen Drew27:55

Yeah. And I think that's really well said, well, I'd love to explore your thoughts on as well as, so that your situation look, you've got a lot of hard graft and I admire what you've done, but you've kind of forged that circumstance for yourself.

Right. You know, and you tell me if you agree this agree, but my like in architecture, before in recruitment, I'd have many people come up to me and go, I'm looking and I'm looking for a part-time job. And so even two years ago before the pandemic, I'd be like, oh, that's nice. Good for you. I have like only full-time jobs.

I would love to give you that, but this is what architectural practices are looking for. And I think like the idea of an architecture practice before it was like, no, you're in every day. So the candidate of the pandemic. And I think it opens up certain opportunities, but where I see Sarah, that the industry going is a little bit of level of flexibility, but now in London, the vibe I get is.

As people are being encouraged to go back to the office and I can kind of see that, um, it's really important to have that interface with your team and getting, you know, getting to know each other and working out some issues. But at the same time, we are in like this new world now. And I do think that we have to do.

Really, um, upfront about things change. Right. And do we, so my question or your fault, it's like, you know, where do you see your practices in Australia to go? Do you think your current circumstance is very unique towards you or do you see things driving towards the way they were or will things change?

Sarah Lebner29:32

Yeah, I, I, I can tell you where I hope that they would go. Um, and I'm, I might step back for a bit and this will relate. I thought of one more thing that helps, um, to, to get a lot done in your career is to not try and know it all yourself. Um, have increasingly recognized the value of collaboration and communication.

I know it sounds cliche, but, um, rather than trying to work something. Uh, pick up the phone, give someone a call five minutes to someone, you know, who has that knowledge sorted, you know, rather than sitting down with some manual and reading it for four hours, that that's a really big one, but that also lay overlays with where I see practice going and where I think younger generations will take practice younger generations.

I, um, from my observation, um, Uh, really don't hold the same. Um, I'm not sure whether it's ego or just the way we used to think, sort of holding your cards to your chest. And I must be the expert and I can't tell anyone how I'm doing it. Um, and that's just flipping on its head. I think, um, we all know that now that a rising.

Lifts all boats. So, you know, the more you can share and chat about things and just be generous with everything, you know, that all comes back to you tenfold. And I I'd like to see, um, and I, I don't know how it, um, uh, happens, but I'd like to see education. Shift more towards this as well to teach it. Um, but I, I think flexible, collaborative practice where perhaps we're all sort of knitting into each other, rather than these sort of tower models of, um, firms.

Perhaps there'll be more smaller practices and more individuals, and maybe you, you get together a collaborative project team a bit more just, just for that project rather than a very static models of, um, this is our firm and this is how we work. Um, and this is the process you will take. And I think the way that we're communicating and getting together during COVID and all the things that's challenging on challenged us on is only going to foster and fuel that kind of, uh, thinking if that makes any sense at all.

Stephen Drew32:03

Yeah, it does. It really, really does. I think, um, it's definitely going to be interesting. I do think that there's so much. Um, while coronavirus is all full, of course it's awful, but there is, I think I've been a few, you know, silver linings out of, um, the fact that, and I was speaking to a friend last night, it's kind of like, it's been traumatic for everyone in one sense, but what I like is that we've all gone through it.

The same claim together. Right. So it's not like it's the equivalent of me having like a nervous breakdown on my own. It's that the whole had a nervous breakdown and I think, yeah, that's so true. You know what I mean? So it's kind of like, so saying like, oh, you know, I, you know, it's been tough in this regards and in other areas has been amazing.

Um, yeah.

Sarah Lebner32:49

Do you know what, one thing that I really love, um, we see each other much more as humans. I think this is going to do a great thing for practice as well. Um, particularly for parental flexibility, which will primarily benefit women in the profession. Uh, in that it will also help men partners be flexible and work from home as well.

Um, where all we've all zoomed into each other's home offices and lounge rooms with toddlers and kids and mess. And, you know, we had housemates, um, and suddenly. You know, we're not this sort of stiff person in a, um, corporate outfit at work. We all know that we're human and we've gotten used to that. And that's okay.

Uh, I was, uh, when I did the, um, national emerging architect tour, one of the reps for the sponsors, the window company, AWS, um, they would sort of chime in at every event and do their sponsor spiel at the start. But this guy joined the whole session from his. Uh, toddlers, uh, bedroom, his wife was unwell. She was in another room.

He did his talk. He attended the whole thing with two toddlers running around him and a dog. And he managed bath time. And it was just the most distracting, wonderful thing to watch. But, you know, that was a, actually a bonus for us to see that and to see him. As a human and, you know, people have struggled cause I don't know what you've had in the UK, but we've had schools shut down.

So people are trying to work from home and parent and Shasta. I dunno if I can swear on this podcast, but absolute shit show

Stephen Drew34:29

you. Cut. You can, you can sweat. It's the same. It's the same year.

Sarah Lebner34:34

Yeah. And people have still gotten stuff done, you know? Uh, amazingly. So, so w w you know, we've worked out that people can still be human.

You don't have to hide the fact that you're a parent, or you've got a sick kid. Uh, you're still going to get your stuff

Stephen Drew34:49

done. Well said. I think that, um, that's been, that's the interesting bit that we've still got stuff done. I did use to manage someone on my team before. Who had two very small children and he did do his work really well.

Although Sarah, I did feel sorry for him. Cause I it's like he's got wonderful kids, but I'd bring him up and they'd be like, oh my God. Uh, wow. Okay. I'm good. Yeah,

Sarah Lebner35:15

yeah. Yeah. I do have a fear that we'll all start working sick from home. Cause now there's this new pattern of, oh, I'm sick. I'm going to work from home today.

And that worries me a little bit. Now it's stupid to take the sick day and I'm not encouraging parenting and working at the same time, you cannot be a parent and a worker at the same time. You're either going to do both poorly. Um, or you got to pick one or the other. Yeah, so don't get

Stephen Drew35:42

me wrong. Yeah. I think it's, you know what, it's really interesting.

You mentioned about the sickness, but I tell you what it would be interesting. The one bit, I do not have perspective on it is how it must feel to be a student right now on one. End. Sounds really true. It sounds really cool. But then on the other hand, like I have so many cool memories. Going, well, it sounds cool.

Maybe I'm romanticizing them a bit because maybe like I'm staying up all night and going to the printer and it being jammed was, you know, not a great experience, but there is something nice about, um, you know, the physical aspect of go into uni mate, meet. You know, getting drunk and like, and, but also working really hard.

And, and I do, I do think that students have had a difficult at the moment, you know? And, and I, yeah,

Sarah Lebner36:33

I can't imagine living on my grotty university residence, um, with all the characters in lockdown. Oh my goodness. And I really feel, you know, I've got members in the architect project doing their first and second year and they haven't attended a.

Class in-person and that really breaks my heart, but, you know, that's why, what you're doing and what I'm doing has been a bit of a lifeline in a way. Um, because these students do have some way to go and, um, try and replicate some of that. But I think Steven, what we will do, hopefully. Mesh the benefits of both.

So hopefully people will soon be able to go back to being in classes and collaborating, but we can also take what we've learned from, um, the benefits of online communities. So for example, um, I've had members. Um, you know, they're really clever proactive members that have reached out to some of the guest speakers after they've been on, you know, that's really clever asking them for a job and saying, Hey, I'm part of the architect project.

And, um, uh, I was wondering if, you know, you give me an interview and they've because we're a national platform. They've made great connections, um, all around Australia. Um, and you know, a couple of them have. Getting jobs and moving into state, and then they've already had some connections. So there's still definitely many benefits to be had for us learning all these online skills.

Um, whence when we can, when I say go back, uh, progress into some kind of new normal.

Stephen Drew38:16

Yeah, I think that, um, boy, I admire. And is that anyone that participates? So you're right. Especially as we're community makers, right? The Architecture Social, I'm sure you feel the same is that these courses and stuff they, well, we were talking about it before as well.

They live and breathe and die by participating, but there is. There is a cabin there there's something really important in there because like if people participate or not in certain things they do in the Architecture, Social. I still go to sleep at night, but they are designed for the people. So what I mean is that like anyone that's doing the hustle, they win.

I loved your story there about people reaching out to the gas afterwards and making a connection. Those people that are get ahead in life. It's just about. You know, and being involved and like, I don't mind that people go into the social and then, you know, things pop up and like to do something else. But I think it's just great when people make noise, when people have ideas and then act upon it.

It's like there's so many times in the past where I'd have an idea for something. And then I dunno, I just sit on my ass and they didn't do anything. And that's where like the Architecture Social came from. Me wanting to do something in the pandemic, and I'm sure that your book came from, you know, the inspiration that you want.

To, to the book. Do you felt that there was an opening for the book, but write in the book took a lot of bloody work didn't they it's easy. I'm actually, it took a long time and I