Introducing our new blog series, Spotlight. With a hugely influential and inspiring team of creatives, we thought we’d shine a spotlight on some of these individuals and discover what draws them to architecture, who their inspirations are what their proudest career moment is.
In the first of the series, our light has landed on Matt Dawson, Associate Director at Hodder and Partners, whose love for design and awe-inspiring structures started from a young age, and has crafted his long and successful career in architecture.
It’s Matt’s passion for design and detail that saw his work on the Co-operative Head Office building in Manchester receive the highest ever BREEAM rating for an office building upon it’s completion.
He returned to Hodder and Partners in 2016 after 6 years with 3DReid. Matt has worked on several high-profile projects. Matt was lead envelope architect for the Chapel Wharf development for Dandara, a £120m mixed use scheme comprising of 1000 apartments and a 5-star leisure facility linked to an existing hotel. He is currently working with the same client on a scheme for 744 apartments in Leeds which is currently under construction.
We sat down with Matt to find out a little more about him…
Who is your favourite architect?
My favourite architect is Mies Van Der Rohe.
What is your favourite architectural style?
I would say my style preference is eclectic. From modernist minimalism to quaint countryside traditional styles and even a consideration for the imperfection values of Japanese Wabi Sabi.
What is your favourite building/structure?
As a child, my parents would take me to Barcelona to visit extended family and I fell in love with the city at an early age. The Sagrada Familia has always been a favourite from childhood. The Guggenheim in New York is another favourite as is Terragni’s Casa del Fascio in Italy.
What are your biggest architectural influences?
The basic urban design tools established in Gordon Cullen’s Concise Townscape have remained with me throughout my career. Mies’ precedents are always a familiar starting point at an early building design stage, whilst Arne Jacobsen’s design catalogue has been a great influence which began whilst working on the designs for Oxford University’s phase ll scheme.
What will make the biggest change to architecture in the next 5 years?
Building Information Modelling (BIM) will become more prevalent and it’s something we are rolling out on more and more projects nowadays. BIM is changing the way we treat the design and drafting process and how the design process interacts with clients, contractors and consultants.
Separately, it would be marvellous if the biggest change in architecture and town planning included a shift in direction for individuals and families to want to set up home in the city rather than seeing the city as a temporary base.
High-quality architecture and surrounding spaces play a huge part and I suspect the current demand for residential inner-city developments and their supporting infrastructure will be a challenge for the industry and town planning – which could eventually see changes in the way we live and play in our city centres.
What is your proudest achievement whilst at Hodder and Partners?
The joy of delivering projects from paper to reality, a broad mix of challenging designs from offices to residential and educational uses (oh… and longevity!)
We will be publishing a new Spotlight blog every month so you can find out more about our team, so be sure to check back for next month’s instalment.