Matthew Parkes

Associate Architect

Matt spent 16 years working in Asia in multi-disciplinary consultancy where collaboration – virtual and face to face – was key in addressing a variety of client expectation, design, procurement and construction challenges.

He has a strong background in project design, delivery and management with over 30 years’ experience working in the commercial, residential, retail, healthcare, leisure, and infrastructure sectors. As well as his architectural qualifications, Matt holds an MSc in Climate Change and Sustainable Development.

Matt is the current chair of the RIBA Plymouth branch.

What are the key challenges that affect our industry, or are likely to in the next five years?

Creating an equitable and sustainable future for the next generation and beyond. We all know it needs to be done, we need to kick down the barriers and get on with it.

Biggest career influence?

My grandfather, he had his own construction business and then went on to be a Building Inspector after he sold his business. As a child I would follow him around sites, climbing everywhere and generally being nosey. That is what gave me the construction industry bug. In terms of architectural influence – Charles FA Voysey.

A proud moment in your career?

In 2001, I won an architectural prize at the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition for my design of ‘The Fogcatcher’, a building that mimicked the Namib desert beetle in generating its own water through fog harvesting. Nature has the answer!

Interesting fact that nobody knows about you?

I had the privilege of being an usher at the Hong Kong Handover event in 1997, seeing Prince Charles, Tony Blair and President Jiang Xemin take to the stage, witnessing the end of one period in history and the beginning of a new period. Life is constantly changing, we need to learn to be able to constantly adapt to our changing environment.

What’s the greatest invention ever?

The printing press, and the resulting demand for greater literacy, levels of learning and bringing knowledge and opinion to the masses.

Best book you’ve read?

Any of The Discworld series by Terry Pratchett. An alternative and humorous look at life is a healthy trait to have.

Industry bodies
  • ARB
  • RIBA
  • BREAAM Associate
  • Lotus (Vietnam Green Building Council) Associate
  • Current Chair of the RIBA Plymouth Branch
  • Previous Chair of the Urban Development Working Group in Vietnam, working with UK Foreign Office in promoting UK AEC industry in to Vietnam.