Allan Corfield Architects. Meet the team – Angus
This week we are launching our new ‘meet the team’ series – this will focus on our company and the people who make it great! We know that entrusting someone with the task of building your dream home is a very difficult decision to make. Therefore, we believe that you should get to know each of us better and trust that our great service is not only due to our qualifications and experience – but is also our real passion. Today we are presenting an interview with our newest team member – Angus.
As a result of his father’s role in the armed forces, Angus was born and spent the first 8 years of his life in Germany before his family returned to Scotland. At the age of 16 he participated in a student exchange to Japan where he was immersed in a completely alien culture which inspired him to reconsider many of his preconceived views on society and culture. During his Architectural studies Angus had the opportunity to work with Michael Laird Architects in Edinburgh. After graduating from the University of Dundee, at the start of the economic downturn in 2008, he made the decision to move to Canada to gain more experience within the construction sector, working for a company that specialised in timber framing and concrete forming.
Upon return to Scotland Angus worked with BDG architecture + design for several years, during which he played a pivotal role in the delivery of EDF Energy’s UK training headquarters. Angus joined ACA from Scott Brownrigg one of the UK’s leading architectural practices, where he has been working on a mixture of large commercial, residential and education projects across the country. To find out more about our new colleague, we decided to ask him a few questions before he started working with us. You can read the interview below and see the pictures of projects he has been involved in throughout his career so far.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME AN ARCHITECT?
There was no one defining factor which drove me to want to become an architect when I was younger. My primary focus in the last years of my schooling were Art, Design + Technology and History. I foresaw that I would always have a passion for art and design though at the age of 18 knew that I wanted to choose a subject at university which would form the basis of a vocation for life, and to commit myself to a career of continual learning and personal development.
I travelled a lot in my youth, growing up in Germany due to my father’s work and then travelled to Japan for a year age of 16. These experiences influenced me massively as a child, allowing me to continually question the perceived normality. I was one of those children which always asked questions which today as an Architect I still do. I don’t believe that Architecture needs to conform to the norm, which is a philosophy which I live much of my life by.
In a way, I still draw on all those aspects and interests which I had when I was still at school in every day which I practice architecture. We as architects are the only engineering professionals would you get to draw on our artistic and creative undercurrent whilst manipulating the urban realm, and in doing so we are allowed to influence society through the semi-permanent environment in which we design and construct our forms. Thought to carry out the role in which we undertake it is imperative to draw on the past and understand the influencing factors which have converged to form the present. These factors include the existing, historical, environmental, social and societal, economic, political; all of which can have influences from the micro to the macro.
I am still someone who is extremely driven to continue my education outside of my chosen career path. I find a lot of joy in making and building things, I will put my hand to most things and believe that there is always something which can be learnt from the task which one undertakes. I used to play a lot of team sports when I was younger, though after ripping, tearing and slipping various parts of my body find more enjoyment nowadays in walking the crest of a Munroe. We have a plethora of offerings at our doorstep in Scotland and there is a certain level of inspired peace and creative clarity which can only be understood when you’re sitting alone at the top of the Munro devoid of all life is complications and complexities.
WHAT WERE THE FIRST YEARS OF YOUR CAREER AS AN ARCHITECT LIKE?
Testing, for a period after graduating university I really had to think whether path which I had chosen to study was the one that I wanted to carry on with. After 18 months working jobs in hospitality sector I decided to take a leap of faith and as I was still under 30, move to Vancouver on a working visa. Having married the month before leaving we thought that it would be more like a yearlong honeymoon, oh how wrong I was.
I managed to get a job working with a small construction firm, which specialised in timber framing and concrete forming. Starting out as a labourer I worked my way up to lead hand which meant I was given the task of setting the buildings out. During that time, I gained a wealth of knowledge whilst working on a range of projects from small dwellings to large apartment blocks.
Every project was different and my time could be spent pouring foundations, framing walls or finishing window casings. I left Canada knowing that whatever it was that I was going to finish up doing, had to involve me being able to completely engage with the build process from the initial inception to the completion on site.
Once I arrived back to Scotland it took me a month or so to get a job with BDG architecture and design which had an office in Edinburgh and London. The diversity of their workload allowed me to gain a good wealth of knowledge relatively quickly while drawing on my practical knowledge.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO WORK AT ACA ?
Upon reading the job description and researching the company, what really appealed to me was the passion and drive which Allan had in order to set up ACA at a time when the sector was in a downturn. I liked the idea of working with a relatively small sized team, compared to some of the firms which I have worked with previously. In particular, what impressed me was that the team at ACA has a diverse set of skills for its size, I think it is really important to be able to continually learn from those around you and develop as an Architect.
Furthermore, the building methodologies which Allan’s team have embraced in their projects were a massive draw for me. I started to gain an interest in modularised design whist working on site. Particularly in the efficiencies which can be gained in utilising standardised construction sizes in the design of buildings in the interest of minimizing wastage and lowering costs.
WHAT EXCITES YOU ABOUT COMING TO WORK AT ACA?
I’m really excited about starting work with ACA, it is going to be an adventure into the unknown in some ways. The opportunities it provides me in being able to continue along my path of Architectural education, primarily focusing in a different sector than the large commercial projects which I have been previously involved with. I know that I will enjoy the opportunity of working alongside a diverse talent base, learning from those around me and contributing to what is a young but successful practice.
I believe that the projects which I will be working on will allow me to explore my personal interests in Architecture once again, whilst providing a guiding hand to clients who wish to invest in making their personal dreams a reality. It seems to have been a long time since I have worked alongside a client who has a personal investment in a project, not only financially but emotionally. As Architects we become emotionally invested in the work that we do, I know that I personally do. So being allowed to participate in the journey with a client who has put their trust in you to help them build their dream home is something I am really looking forward to.
WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR SPARE TIME?
In my spare time I like constructing “things” and always a project on the go. Currently I am finishing a summerhouse/poolroom (you can admire its pictures below) at the end of the garden, which could quickly become a playroom for me and my wife’s first child which is due in July. When relaxing at the weekend I like to find a medium between getting out the house and climbing Munroe’s and watching Liverpool’s football games.
Here are some more projects Angus was involved in: