What are the prospects for the property sector in Yorkshire?
As a whole, things are looking good. There are lots of tower-cranes over the Leeds skyline, which is always a good sign, and the abundance of agencies contacting architectural practices for business, shows there is still plenty of work out there for the foreseeable future.
What is your favourite building in the region and why?
Queen’s Gate in Huddersfield, which is very much a marmite building. It makes me smile every time I see it and I would love to see the interior as a whole volume, to fully appreciate it. When it comes to 1960’s buildings it’s often the case that ‘familiarity breeds contempt’, but some just need a clean-up and good old lick of paint.
If you could change one thing to improve the property industry in this region, what would it be?
I imagine it is the same in every region of the UK, not just in Yorkshire. Every sector is of course primarily driven by money and speed of construction, and sometimes as result buildings can suffer from a design-perspective. Conscientiously chosen products like curved glass, can get replaced with facetted glass, as part of the value engineering process, so it would be great if certain key elements of design could be championed to improve the overall result.
Whom do you most admire in property in Yorkshire?
David Llyons. My father worked for him for many years and I went to the office a couple of times when I was younger and there were about a dozen or so staff. Fifteen years later, just after he had sold the practice on, I worked there myself, by which time there were closer to a hundred staff. He was very much responsible for a lot of building in the region - especially in Leeds.
What is the best project you have been involved in?
The main one on your desk is always a favourite! That aside though, it would have to be the one that had the steepest learning curve. Shortly after leaving University, I worked on a mixed development building in the centre of Nottingham. It was constructed to house a nightclub in the centre and had a hotel round one side and office round the other. I gained so much invaluable experience on the project which, did of course see the curved glass replaced with facetted glass!