The @AIAnational has been a professional society of architects for over 150 years. Can you tell us more about it?
The AIA was founded in 1857 by 13 architects & now has over 95,000 members, in over 200 chapters worldwide. In 1993 @AIAUK became the 1st international chapter. The AIA advocates for the value of architecture & gives architects resources to do their best work
How did you get involved with the @AIAUK?
I got involved with the @AIAUK when I moved to London from New York. It has provided me with a variety of programmes I need to attain my needed Continuing Education credits, as well as helped me network with industry professionals in the UK & worldwide
Entries are open for the @AIAUK Excellence in Design Awards. Is it just for @AIAUK members?
We are honoured to partner with @PortviewFitOut for the awards which recognise & honour design excellence. They are open to all architects & designers who work in the UK with projects here or abroad, or those who work abroad but have a project in the UK
Is there a previous #ExcellenceInDesign winner that particularly impressed you?
There are so many impressive submittals each year, but last year for me among the many amazing submittals, it was David Leech Architects ‘A House in a Garden’ which is a lovely contemporary translation of the ordinary suburban house.
@AIAUK run a number of unique networking events. Tell us more about these.
The film nights are one of our more exciting ways to earn Continuing Education credits. We watch an architecture/design film & then discuss it. On 10 March @BFI screening room we watched ‘Precise Poetry’, a documentary on Italian-Brazilian Architect Lina Bo Bardi
Can non-members attend?
Yes, very much so. We open these film nights to non-members as well, and they actually make up almost 50% of our attendees which is really great, and good to know our programmes reach out to the wider community.
You work as a Senior Architectural Designer for Goddard Littlefair. Together, we are working on an exciting new project for @CanaryWharfGrp. What can you tell us about that?
This is a super-luxe prime residential spa & health facility at the new Southbank Place development, across the river from the Houses of Parliament. It has a 25m pool, vitality pools, thermal cabins, spacious state of the art gym & studios, and treatment rooms
What are the key challenges of a project like this?
The 25M swimming pool & vitality pools have been the most challenging aspect of this project, as there is so much to account for with these exciting features, and you can’t afford to go wrong. You need a good focused team working on it
What feature in particular do you love?
There are many aspects of the project I love as spas are very exciting projects, but I particularly love the thermal cabins – the saunas & steam rooms. Designing and working on them has been especially exciting, as well as seeing the designs being realised.
What is the key to a successful project partnership?
A dedicated Construction, Client and Design team, with mutual respect & understanding, and all parties coming together to achieve the desired goal.
Interesting – we hope we fit the bill! When it comes to first impressions, what do you look for when deciding to collaborate with a contractor?
Very much so! @PortviewFitOut have been extraordinary. The presentation of past project experience, their technical expertise and how they plan to tackle the project at hand is key.
“@PortviewFitOut have been extraordinary. The presentation of past project experience, their technical expertise and how they plan to tackle the project at hand is key”
How would you summarise your experience of working with #TeamPortview?
The best construction team I have ever worked with! Very respectful, detail oriented, hardworking & honest. They’ve been supportive & always achieve the design intent. It’s been a very pleasant experience & they’ve become more like working family. It’s that good!
“The best construction team I have ever worked with! Very respectful, detail oriented, hardworking & honest. They’ve been supportive & always achieve the design intent. It’s been a very pleasant experience & they’ve become more like working family. It’s that good!”
Are clients’ expectations changing?
They are changing and they do differ from sector to sector. I think in this next decade sustainability is going to become an even bigger expectation
How do you go about meeting client expectations?
Listening to them and working closely with the client team at all times, that way they are abreast with developments, and know why certain decisions were made
How do you get the best out of people?
Treating everyone with respect & understanding first, and then working hard at what you do. In return they do the same and project benefits greatly from it
How has the industry changed in the last 10 years?
Technology has influenced the industry in project delivery & new products. One new & exciting product is the @irisceramica marble looking large format porcelain tiles we are using in the spa which look like real marble, are quicker to install & more sustainable!
“Technology has influenced the industry in project delivery & new products. One new & exciting product is the @irisceramica marble looking large format porcelain tiles we are using in the spa which look like real marble, are quicker to install & more sustainable!”
What trends in design do you expect to see more of in 2020?
A bigger interest in sustainable projects, project delivery, materials, suppliers… generally a bigger push towards sustainability
Have you anything exciting planned for 2020?
Finishing the Spa with @PortviewFitOut, which I have been working on for over 3.5yrs. It has been a challenging project, but it is coming to fruition finally, and I am excited to successfully deliver this most exciting project with this team
Chris Musangi, pleasure chatting as always – and thank you!