Michael has a close relationship with his family, who lives around Guisborough – a lovely ancient market town. He shares that the best thing about his hometown is that it’s surrounded by beautiful countryside, a wonderful place to grow up.
Michael also studied Architecture at Edinburgh College of Art, The University of Edinburgh – Scotland’s most prestigious institution. It is ranked as one of the best universities in the world for arts and humanities, as well as for computer science. Students have the privilege of studying in some of the oldest and most enchanting buildings in the city. Amazing!
What are you working on now?
Orford Mews – First carbon & energy-positive scheme in the UK, it is also zero waste. It’s the first residential scheme to capture so many sustainable elements. We have really thought about all aspects of sustainability, so every single decision is made to make the scheme as sustainable as possible. We are using solar glazing – a film on the back of a glass with a cable linked to a normal panel. It’s really exciting.
What do you love about architecture?
As a kid, I was always interested in buildings. None in the family were architects. We used to draw plans of houses; they would always have big bedrooms for me, rooms for my toys, snooker rooms, table tennis while the rest of my family had little rooms. I was also into photography and wanted to be a commercial photographer – but I did some work experience in an architectural practice, and they talked me out of it. I think I always wanted to be an architect. My older brother did architecture, but stopped and went off to be an engineer. Architecture is the perfect combination for me; I liked Maths and Science and Art – not many jobs are combinations of all of those things. I enjoy working with people; drawing buildings for me is like playing computer games. I would happily sit and do it in my spare time. There is not just one thing I like about being an architect, one day I’m looking at buildings, the next I’m drawing and then later I’m speaking to clients, it’s just so varied.
What’s your favourite building?
The impact that Villa Savoye , Le Corbusier had on me as a first-year architecture student was incredible. I went to Paris as a student and it was the first time that I saw architecture as art. It had a real impact, this has happened several times since but this was the first and it stayed with me.
What’s the best project you have worked on?
Warehaus – As a company, we really enjoyed it. It was the first time that we said: “This is what we do”. It’s a mixed-use residential scheme, and we made some extraordinary bits, and the atrium is one of our nicest spaces, beautiful brickwork and a rooftop swimming pool, with a glass bottom so you look up from the atrium and you can see people swimming above your head. It’s just a rectangle we worked very hard to create something that showed what we think about as architects in terms of spaces and how people live and work in them.