Ray has been instrumental in establishing our presence in the South East over the past 19 years. With expertise in modern methods of construction, he is fascinated by the opportunities that advancing technology offers architecture.
Ray is the regional director for our London office. The studio recently exhibited at the London Festival of Architecture with a display based on the history of Lambeth, according with Ray’s interest in local history and urban context. He has designed and led projects in student living, residential, education, hospitality and mixed use, shifting the focus towards front end design.
Ray, what is the greatest invention ever?
As an architect, I’m slightly biased, but I’d have to say the humble brick. As an infinitely flexible, modular building competent, invented thousands of years ago, it makes up the fabric of large parts of the UK and is a sustainable building material that can be used in so many different ways. It is still one of our main cladding materials, can be used as a structure in its own right, and remains the subject of continuing innovation; after all this time, I think that’s pretty incredible.
Who is your biggest career influence?
Two Italian architects from different eras: Carlo Scarpa and Renzo Piano. Their buildings are very different, but what they have in common is craftsmanship. Their focus is all about materials and how buildings are put together and they work with material specialists to create architecture of great economy and elegance. It’s what I admire and aspire to.
What is the role of an architect?
At this moment in time, the architect’s position has never been under greater threat, but I still believe what we do is vital. Only we have the vision and commitment to design and deliver buildings that truly fulfil the needs of the client and society. As Winston Churchill once said: “We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.”
If you weren’t an architect, what would you be?
I grew up avidly reading comics so I always dreamed of being a comic book artist. I loved the idea of telling stories and creating imaginary worlds (and their buildings). To make a living at it you have to be good and fast, and I wasn’t quite good or fast enough, but I am still a big fan.
What advice would you give your 20 year old self?
Time passes much faster than you think, so never waste a moment of it. Grasp all the opportunities that come your way and always do your best, no regrets. And enjoy yourself. Too many people work hard, but forget to have fun. That’s one of the great things about Stride Treglown, we encourage a work-life balance.