Friday04 September 2015

Paul Stallan: ‘My dens have just got bigger’

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The design director of Stallan Brand on Batman’s batcave, Primal Scream and Gordon Benson

Paul Stallan

What got you started?
My father was a draughtsman and I loved to watch him draw. I also had the most amazing spatially expansive childhood playing in the tenement bins, building dens in the woods and the local dump. I think my dens have just become bigger.

Which architect have you learnt the most from?
Gordon Benson provided me with an essential language. Peter McGurn expanded my social intelligence and entrepreneur-ship. I learned professionalism and stamina from Brian Stewart. But most importantly I learned about joy and love of architecture working with Frank Gehry, Will Alsop and Joshua Prince-Ramus.

What is your best project?
A college in the deprived area of Glasgow Springburn. I was born here and still have connections with the area.

What project do you most regret losing?
The Oman Parliament. The Sultan’s advisers recommended our design, however the Sultan chose not to follow this advice.

Which house would you most like to live in?
My city house would be Bruce Wayne’s Batcave, my weekend house the Swiss Family Robinson’s Tree House and my studio Stig of the Dump’s den.

What building would you most like to see demolished?
The Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow. Formerly a dysfunctional place that was interesting, now a vacuous architecturally correct nothing.

Who is your favourite client?
Ronnie Knox, the principal of North Glasgow College. Ronnie is quick to tell people that he designed the award-winning North Glasgow College building and that I was his assistant. This is entirely accurate.

What is your favourite novel?
Cannery Row by John Steinbeck.

What are you listening to?
I saw Primal Scream recently in Dunoon. The show was unbelievable but my ears have been bleeding ever since.

Your child says they want to be an architect. What do you say?
My son is undecided whether to be a graffiti artist or a snow-board instructor. My daughter is going to travel the world with her friend Daisy. These are beautiful plans I wouldn’t disrupt.

Is it getting easier?


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