This week we received the good news that our work with Sovereign Housing Association in developing both the concept and technical designs for their new house type range, has been recognised in making the finals of the South East Constructing Excellence awards. Headed up by our Associate Director, Russell Caple, who incidentally has also recently celebrated his 25th year at HGP, we decided to ask Russell his thoughts on this and his quarter century milestone at HGP.
Your project, Sovereign Group House Types, has recently been selected as a finalist in the South East Constructing Excellence Awards, which is fantastic news! What do you think makes this project award-winning?
Behind this project is a great team and if it were not for the integrative and collaborative efforts at HGP working so hard to push the boundaries, we would not find ourselves with this honour. We have worked on delivery of group types before, but a culmination of all the lessons learnt on past schemes led to this exemplar portfolio of housing typologies that is now at Sovereigns disposal.
Not long ago you celebrated your 25th anniversary of working at HGP which is a significant milestone. What does that feel like and what does it mean to you?
I was really touched with all the kind words I received from all my colleagues on my anniversary. This, I think, was due to one of my main core values during my whole career, which is to share knowledge, lessons learnt and have an open door to all.
With such a long serving history, you must have seen a lot of change over the years at HGP. Have any of those changes influenced you stay as long as you have? What in your opinion has been the most significant change?
Though the initial projects I was involved with when I started was non-residential, such as the Spinnaker Tower and Hayling Island Golf Club, I have for the majority of my HGP tenure been delivering housing schemes for major housebuilders. I find the world of housebuilding fast paced and is usually at the forefront of most industry developments and regulatory changes, its because of this that has retained my interest for so many years.
Do you recall your most memorable career lesson you’ve learned while at HGP?
Always try to keep an open mind. It is far too easy to get too focused on an element of the design process and close down to options that may present themselves from many sources.
What has been your greatest accomplishment whilst working at HGP?
I started at HGP as the Office Junior and attended college sponsored by HGP on day release; so to now have the role as Associate Director and be a Chartered Architectural Technologist is my proudest achievement at HGP.
The industry has also seen a lot of changes over 25 years which you would have experienced. What is one of the biggest changes you have witnessed that you feel has positively changed our industry.
Other than the obvious huge swathes of Regulations being revised, the workflows on how projects are delivered has seen a huge overhaul with the evolution from the drawing board, to 2D AutoCAD and then to BIM. This has led to greater accuracy and co-ordination throughout the design team, which can only be welcomed.
After 25 years are you still enjoying Architecture?
As no two days are the same, my interest is still just as high if not higher. Also, one of the added benefits of this industry is the social aspect; I really enjoy the interactions with not only the team in the office, but the design team as a whole. This socialising can often extend to many events outside of work also, which is always most enjoyable!
Do you have any advice for colleagues or prospective candidates about working in the industry?
High levels of commitment are required to succeed in this industry, if you are willing to go that extra mile you will be recognised, and your career will progress.
If you weren’t working in Architecture, what would you be doing?
Not really sure, I suppose one of my strong points is mathematics, so probably accounting.
What are 3 words to best describe your time at HGP?
If you could go back in time to change one thing, what would it be?
Sounds a bit of a cliché, but I do not think I would change anything.