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How you made it: interview with Jonathan Darke, principal director of tp bennett

Published: Sunday 5th July 2020

Our latest guest interview features Jonathan Darke, principal director of tp bennett, one of the UK’s leading architecture firms renowned for its innovate work in the public and private sectors.

Zoek Interviews Jonathan Darke      

Jonathan Darke was previously the managing partner of SEF Architects, prior to its merger with tp bennet in 2004. Since then, Jonathan has excelled as an award-winning advocate of architecture, shaping and delivering the buildings which support our evolving health and educational needs.

In the Q&A video below, hear how Jonathan became a leader in his field and what he’s learnt along the way, to help advise job seekers on how to become successful in the architecture and design industry.

Click below to watch the full interview:

Top 3 Video Highlights

Q: What has your proudest achievement been? (02:56)

A: We were very lucky to do some fantastic health infrastructure work in Africa, and the WHO, which is the World Health Organisation, went and visited a couple of our hospitals. The biggest accolade we got was when they said that these hospitals are absolutely the right hospitals for Africa. They put up on their website a picture of our hospital and that was the greatest achievement for me, that it was not just another great architect saying it’s great, it’s the World Health Organisation saying that we did something useful.

Q: What are the biggest challenges facing job seekers today in the architecture and design industry? (10:35)

A: With architecture and construction, it is at the mercy of the economy. It is the first thing to start when the economy picks up, and the first thing to go when the economy crashes. So, the biggest challenge is riding out the nature of the economy and how it affects construction.

The thing we have done in my business is diversify. We diversify our market; we diversify our sectors. We work globally rather than just in one country, and we work in lots of different sectors. So, we can ride different economic cycles at different times.

Q: What future design trends may occur following the coronavirus pandemic? (13:21)

A: Well, at the moment we’re all thinking about what we do with the big, large offices with nobody in them at the moment. Will we need to go back to those big, large offices? I think most people think, to some extent yes but not all the time. And that is going to have a really big effect on our cities and our workplace. That is not necessarily a negative effect, because I think it will mean we need to enhance where we are going to work for the majority of the time. That might be the bit in our homes. That might be other hubs elsewhere, nearer to home. It is exciting times actually to think about that, because these thoughts haven’t just happened because of coronavirus, we have been thinking about that for a long time. All coronavirus has done is spur us to think about this in a much faster way.

If you are interested in learning more about different entrepreneurs work/life experiences, you can find our full guest interview series within our job seekers blogs.

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