David puts people at the heart of his approach. He focuses on health, wellbeing and flexible working, and encourages all of us to influence change across the practice.
Having been with Stride Treglown since 1987, David worked as an architect across a wide range of projects. Now chairman, he leads our employee ownership journey and has established Stride Treglown as a place where people want to carve their careers. He hopes, under his influence, the practice will thrive well into the future.
David, if you weren’t an architect, what would you be?
I love to paint. I’ve not been trained in fine art, I just enjoy doing it. The process of making images that are so different to the precision demanded of architecture is something I find completely absorbing. I might struggle to make a living out of it though.
What is your favourite project you’ve worked on?
There are two; both formative in my development.
The first is Gowar and Wedderburn Halls for Royal Holloway, University of London; my first substantial project and one that combined a great client, a challenging brief, an outstanding site and a strong design concept that just fell into place at the first time of drawing. It convinced me that, at its best, the process of making architecture can be extraordinarily fulfilling.
The second is the house I designed and built for my mother in rural Herefordshire which she still lives in more than 20 years on. I learned as much in the 12 months working on site alongside a skilful master builder as I had in the preceding 10 years of my career. The house won a national award and led me to believe that understanding the practicalities of construction are invaluable to anyone who designs buildings.
Which is your favourite building in your city?
Bristol is a fantastic city to be based in. Over the last 10 years it has reinvented itself as a really creative, quirky and connected place – ideal for our practice. But it’s architecture somewhat underachieves. That’s why my favourite building is The Granary on Welsh Back: a highly decorated Victorian industrial palazzo with the swagger and bravado of its time. It doesn’t conform to those around it. We can learn a lot from that.
The ‘wow factor’. It’s a phrase that makes my toes curl; really good design is about so much more than an initial impression.