Matt leads both our higher education and student living teams. Since 2004, he has worked with more than 20 universities to deliver teaching facilities and student accommodation.
A regular event speaker, Matt shares his knowledge of the education sector as it moves towards blended living and learning environments. Devoted to client delivery, any hurdle that a project may face, he will always find a solution to solve it.
Matt, what’s your favourite project you’ve worked on to date?
Blaise Castle Café in Bristol. It was the first project I flew solo on and I won a RIBA award for it. It’s just down the road from my house so I regularly walk past it with my dog. Ironically, it’s the last project I’ve done that’s been completely my design; since then, it’s been much more of a team effort on projects.
More recently, I was really passionate about Bristol Business School at UWE Bristol. The site was four miles from my house and eight miles from our office, so after spending the last twelve years travelling around the country, it was amazing to be able to do a project right on my doorstep.
What is the current big trend in your sector?
Tuition fees are still a major issue for students. As well as value for money, students are more demanding now in terms of what they want from their spaces; they are incredibly discerning and savvy and expect a range of high quality spaces, as well as coffee on tap.
There’s also a big trend in blended living and learning – more students expect study space to be integrated into their accommodation. The biggest challenge now is to deliver great spaces that work really well, but don’t cost the earth.
What’s the greatest invention?
It’s between the telephone and the PC. When I started working, everything was done on drawing boards, with three computers sitting in the corner of the room. The size and complexity of projects we do now just wouldn’t have been possible back then. Equally, we now have everything on our phones and I just couldn’t imagine life without that.
The power of technology has transformed how we do things – I’ll go into meetings now and use my phone, iPad or VR to show a client our plans.
And finally, who is your biggest career influence?
I’ve always been interested in buildings. I come from a family of builders – my dad, uncle, great grandfather – so building is in my blood. Despite being an architect, I’ve always had a strong relationship with contractors because I’ve worked on building sites myself. For me, the project is always about building and creating spaces.
- Member of the Higher Education Design Quality Forum
- Former Chairman of the RIBA in Bristol and Bath
- UWE R Block, RIBA Town and Country Award 2011
- Blaise Castle Café, RIBA Regional Award 2005