Paul describes himself as a ‘Jack-of-all-trades’, but we think of him as an ‘Imagineer’. He’s the guy that looks at a site before the architects get into the nitty-gritty details. His focus is on the broad-brush design and selling a vision.
Paul is interested in the use of low-cost materials and innovative construction methods to provide (realistically) affordable homes. He particularly enjoys working with community groups and non-profit organisations with a view to helping facilitate locally-driven, small-scale, sustainable development.
If you weren’t in this career, what would you be?
I’ve always wanted (and still do from time to time) to teach secondary or later. But I don’t know what subject. I’m too interested in all of them – I blame a Physics teacher who also taught me about Pre-Raphaelites, John Ruskin and Megalithic history!
What are the key challenges that affect your sector, or are likely to in the next five years?
Working in housing, there are so many important discussions to be had – not just about climate impact of building – but also how we choose to live. Co-housing has the potential to solve a great deal of social problems, but in many current guises it can feel like a cynical profit-making enterprise. There are discussions to be had about the British preoccupation with home-ownership and its reciprocal relationship with political impetus. I could go on…
What advice would you give your 20 year old self?
There isn’t a special college that people go to to know all of the things you don’t. They’re winging-it, they don’t know what they’re doing either.
What’s the greatest invention ever?
Either the Internet or Cheese.
Best book you’ve read?
I’m currently reading Utopia for Realists by Rutger Bregman. I’d recommend it to pretty much anyone – along with making them listen to Reasons to be Cheerful podcast.