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Managing a career in architecture - video series

We interviewed successful architects and experts within the profession, asking their advice on Managing a Career in Architecture. 

If you had the chance to be face-to-face with some established architects and experts within the architectural profession, what would you want to know? How did they become successful? What makes a good candidate for a job? How do you remain at the cutting-edge of design?

In this series of videos, we interviewed successful architects and experts from around the profession and asked for their advice on managing a career in architecture.

Managing a career in architecture

Alexander Michaelis
Alexander discusses the importance of learning about planning, building regulations and business skills. He reveals what he thinks is most important in your first years as a RIBA qualified architect, and what his practice looks for in a portfolio when interviewing.

Joanna Van Heyningen
Joanna took an unconventional route to qualification, studying modern languages before applying to architecture, and seeking experience in practices during summer breaks. Working from home until her practice grew, Joanna spent time not only on designing, but on fees and spending time with clients. Her invaluable advice to graduates covers how to prioritise and make decisions, and about the importance of networking.

Ken Shuttleworth
Ken reminisces about starting out at Foster and Partners, where he learned the importance of technical skills and of being client-facing. He set up his own practice after 30 years there, with a 'John Lewis style' partnership model, focused on the importance of teamwork and the office environment. Learn about the value of networking, and hear Ken's advice to young architects about the people who can help you win and deliver work.

Christophe Egret
Christophe worked for many practices who combined a 'creative spirit' with learning how to interact with clients, how to manage a project and other skills not taught at school. He started his own practice at the age of 45, with a staff of 20 people from a mix of disciplines - what he considers to be the ideal size for taking on large projects, whilst staying small enough to know everyone, and to cook and eat together. In this video, Christophe talks about the importance of partnering with someone who has skills you don't, and reveals what the practice look for in graduates.

Barbara Weiss
In this interview, Barbara reveals what she thinks is the most important step to take if you want to set up your own practice, and why she found it useful to 'buy in' essential business support skills. She explains why she's drawn to simple, beautiful CVs, portfolios and letters from applicants, and the importance of client service experience and recommendations. Barbara also talks about the Importance of using the RIBA and its resources to stay informed and connected for her diverse practice of 18.

Lee Polisano
From qualifying in the US to setting up a practice in early 1990s, Lee's London-based studio specialises in large-scale urban projects, and now has offices in Abu-Dhabi and China. Find out about his experiences as a young architect, his advice on how to find your passion, and the importance of creativity, enthusiasm, long-term thinking and communication skills.

Christopher Williamson
Hear Christopher's interview tips, and why enthusiasm, spark, and the ability to talk about your work are more important to him than final grades. He discusses continuing education during the early years in work, and what motivated him to set up his own practice, which now has offices in London and Kuala Lumpur.

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