No one said becoming an architect is easy. BD talks to the shortlisted practices about their challenges and aspirations
It is not easy for young architects with no track record to start up in practice. Winning work is a challenge as very few professional clients will trust relative unknowns with the design of multimillion-pound jobs. This means most young practices survive on a lean diet of house extensions and refurbishments for small private clients. Progressing from these meagre pickings onto bigger, richer pastures is notoriously difficult, particularly when it comes to public sector procurement. Then there is all the bureaucracy including planning, CDM, building regulations and all the paperwork that goes with running a small business. Architects spend seven years training but receive virtually no business education, often leaving them ill equipped to manage, market and expand a small practice.
But there are some that crack these challenges and go on to be the big practices of tomorrow. These architects manage to combine design talent with business nous including the ability to persuade clients their design ability outweighs the risk of their relative inexperience. Slowly but surely these firms climb through the glass ceiling to bigger and better things.
The BD Architect of the Year Awards recognises this challenge with the Young Architect of the Year award. Unique among architectural awards for recognising a body of work, it shortlists practices that demonstrate they can bring new ways of thinking to a broad range of work and deliver enhanced value for clients and those who use the buildings. We invited BD’s shortlist of eight emerging stars to our new offices to talk about their priorities, aspirations and the difficulties facing young architects today.
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