Tim, an architect based in York, visited School to speak at the Junior Careers Carousel.
What were your favourite subjects and who were your favourite teachers at School?
My favourite subjects were Maths and Art. My favourite teachers were probably in those subjects too. Mr Harrison, who I think is still there today, taught me at several points through the Senior School, including Sixth Form, and managed to keep us entertained and interested, while teaching us so much. If you fancied a break, you could always distract him with a question on the latest fortunes of Blackpool FC ... Mrs Southworth took us for Art all the way through the Senior School, and really inspired me to improve, particularly during the A-Level years, when there was a small class of six of us. She wasn't exactly a strong authority figure, but we had a lot of fun, and learnt a lot.
What further study have you undertaken since leaving School?
After leaving School, I studied Architecture at Newcastle University. The course is seven years long in total, but includes two years working in an architects' office. One of those years I worked in Manchester, and the other in Newcastle.
How did you progress to your current role and what does it involve?
After leaving University I worked for eight years at an architect's practice in Newcastle which specialised in residential work, including work for large housebuilders. After completing my professional qualifications, I progressed further with the practice to be one of the project architects in the practice. After leaving there, I set up my own practice, Carve Architecture, with some friends from University, and moved to York, where I am now based. At our practice, we work mostly on small domestic projects, from small house extensions, to one-off new-build houses, and sometimes small residential developments. Usually we work with private home-owners to help them realise their dreams for their homes.
Who/what influenced your career choice?
My dad was an Electrical Engineer, and from a young age, I've always been interested in construction. I was able to go onto building sites with my dad and it was always great to see huge buildings being built. When I was younger, I was interested in engineering, partly because of my dad, and also because I loved building things with Lego. Later on, I became more interested in art, and architecture was suggested to me as an opportunity to combine the creative process with engineering.
What skills are essential for your role?
An architect's role is, to some extent, one of a 'Jack of all trades'. A creative mind, which can visualise opportunities, is essential, together with a practical, more technical mind, with a strong understanding of the actual construction process. On top of that, the architect plays the role of mediator between all of the different parties of a project. To deal with the various other professionals, and the client, and to navigate the way through statutory approvals, with constantly changing standards, the architect needs to be organised, methodical and able to think creatively to overcome challenges. Essentially, the architect is a problem solver.
What are the biggest challenges?
The biggest challenges are realising the client's aspirations, whilst also being constrained by budget, technical capabilities, and the requirements of local authorities.
Who/what has been your biggest inspiration?
Probably my Dad, not just in terms of the experience of the construction industry, but also because of his work ethic, and his experience of running of a business.
What do you consider to be your greatest career achievement?
Setting up my own architect's practice is something I am extremely proud of. We are still a young business, but we are extremely busy, and have worked on a range of really interesting projects, from extensions to new-builds, and are always looking for new opportunities. We also won an award at the York Design Awards last year, which is a great achievement for a small, young practice.
How did Bolton School help you to be successful in your chosen career?
The excellent education I received at Bolton School helps me on a daily basis in my career, most directly from subjects such as Maths. Also when writing reports, the ability to make a clear, reasoned and persuasive argument is essential. Writing essay questions was always the thing I hated the most in any subject, as it does not come naturally to me, but it has stood me in good stead. Above all, Bolton School encouraged me to be interested in subjects, and to always strive to be better.
Why did you offer your assistance to School?
It was an opportunity to see the School again, and see all the changes that have happened over the years, but also, hopefully, an opportunity to inspire the architects of tomorrow.
Did you enjoy talking to the Juniors?
It was a great experience, seeing the place again, and talking with the children. They were all extremely bright and came up with some really good questions (some of them hard to answer!). I hope they enjoyed what I said, and I gave them a better idea of what an architect does.