Simon is a regional director for our Cardiff office and an expert in Welsh school design.
He has written about education design in the Architects’ Journal, contributed to RIBA education panels and worked with the Welsh Government and Constructing Excellence to develop affordable model schools. Simon leads a client focused team and is passionate about aligning creativity with technical excellence. During his twenty years with Stride Treglown, Simon has experience across most sectors, designing and managing schools, healthcare, residential, refurbishment and conservation projects.
Simon, tell us the role of an architect
People think architecture is all about design. It isn’t. It has much more to do with understanding people; their routines, habits, hopes and aspirations. In the early stages of a design process, architects have an important role to play as story tellers. It’s our job to listen carefully and construct a compelling narrative that captures the essence of how a building might transform the way its inhabitants will live and work. Expressing all of these things in an elegant building will always create the best designs.
What is your proudest moment?
Receiving the Eisteddfod Gold Medal for Architecture in 2017 on behalf of my talented design and delivery team for Ysgol Bae Baglan, our all-through school in Port Talbot. The whole project was a tremendous team effort and it’s had a wonderfully positive, transformative impact on the community since opening its doors.
If you weren’t an architect, what would you be?
I’ve always loved drawing. The joy of putting ink on to paper is a glorious thing, so I’d probably have ended up as a graphic designer or an illustrator. My love of music might have taken me down another path, I’ve been a sax player since I was a teenager, but I’m probably not cut out for life on the road.
What advice would you give your 20 year old self?
Don’t panic. Whatever the problem is, there’s always a solution if you know who to ask and where to look. Also, don’t be afraid to ask stupid questions; you’ll be amazed how many people will be grateful.
What is the greatest invention ever?
Paper. Allowing people to write down and share ideas changed everything. My desk is still covered in it thousands of years later.
- Eisteddfod Gold Medal for Architecture in 2017