Simon’s role takes prominence at the briefing stage of a project, with responsibilities ranging from exploring best practice to working with clients in order to develop their project vision and concept design.
Simon leads our Healthcare sector, bringing his understanding of technical requirements to the briefing, design and delivery of healthcare buildings across the UK. With expertise in research design, he has also delivered a number of laboratories for universities and healthcare providers in the UK and overseas.
What are the key challenges facing healthcare?
Following years of underfunding there is now the opportunity for significant investment in health buildings with the opportunity to transform the estate and delivery of health services. New developments must support new ways of working with the digitisation of services, support the decarbonisation of the NHS, and utilise Modern Methods of Construction. We are also learning from the Covid-19 pandemic designing flexible buildings with the potential to adapt to future infection control challenges.
What’s your favourite project you’ve worked on to date?
The best projects are usually those with good teams and clients who are driven to do things better. We recently completed the General Intensive Care Unit project for the University Hospital Southampton. As designers we worked closely with the clinical teams to really understand how they worked and what was important for their patients. We were able to translate their vision creating an efficient, flexible, light-filled interior with innovative spaces for rehabilitation and palliative care.
The stereotype of architects as ego driven designers who don’t listen. The most important skill we have as architects is the ability to listen and challenge, collaboratively exploring ideas with clients and project teams to find better ways of working. Working in healthcare we are experts in building but are always learning about how services work, the needs of clinical staff, their patients and relatives.
Best book you’ve read?
I enjoy reading biographies and I found ‘Big Jim: The Life and Work of James Stirling’ and ‘God’s Architect’, the biography of Augustus Pugin fascinating. They describe the life and work of two great British architects from very different eras and demonstrate that the challenges of delivering great buildings hasn’t really changed over the years. It is also a lesson that you need a sense of perspective, work isn’t everything.
What’s the greatest invention ever?
As a keen cyclist, I’d have to say the bike. Living in Cardiff, I am lucky enough to do mountain biking locally and I commute on my bike whenever I can. I love the simplicity of it.
- Haydn Ellis building won the Design Through Innovation Award (RICS 2015 Awards Wales) and the BREEAM Higher Education Award Wales 2012.
- Oberlands Mental Health Centre, Guersney, Building Better Healthcare, Design in Mental Health Awards, Project of the Year 2016.