The Broke Architect Podcast
A Podcast about Architects, Not Architecture.
This podcast is about architects who are struggling with debt, have been in debt and who have overcome debt. Debt can lead to depression and despair and it's a subject that is always difficult to discuss, the broke architect is a podcast where we talk openly about the issues of money within the profession. Don't worry it's not all doom and gloom, we talk solutions too!
If you want to talk anonymously or are able to talk with full disclosure please get in touch because this is a subject we need to talk about.
Episode 1. Series 1
This is the first recorded episode of The Broke Architect Podcast brought to you by the Global Architect Alliance (GAA). In this episode, I talk to a salaried architect working in London, UK. Since recording the episode we have had to anonymise the architect being interviewed so you will hear the occasional censorship beeps. We discuss issues of pay in the profession, living with debt, mental health, and alcoholism and I ask how sustainable is working in architecture in 2023.
Episode 2. Series 1
In this episode I talk to Andy Shaw, a director of AMA architects in Dubai, UK. We discuss architecture education at the Bartlett School of Architecture in London, UK and the stress of studying there.
We talk about debt and it's impact but also how in 12 months a move to the UAE lead to Andy paying off all of his debt in 12 months. We discuss what it's like to practice architecture in UAE and how if you are experienced and qualified you can earn substantially more than in the UK where Andy is from.
Episode 3. Series 1.
In this episode, I talk to Agnieszka Sidorczuk a newly qualified architect currently employed by Bowman Riley Architects in Leeds, UK. We discuss why Agnes setup an architecture business in Poland after leaving University and how she got into debt. We discuss why she choose to move to the UK, and how she found work and qualified which led to her gaining her Part III.
We talk about education, the lack of business teaching in Universities and the Polish tax system. We also discuss projecting an image of success and the early mistakes many people make when setting up a business early in a career. We also talk about the realities of living with debt and how it impacted her life.
Episode 4. Series 1.
In this episode I talk to Matthew Young, general director of studio3eight based in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam and also have an office in Dubai. We discuss the value of architects, how we need to stop giving away things for free, imposter syndrome and running a practice in Vietnam.
We also talk about debt and it's impact but also how a move to Vietnam led to Matt to pay off all of his debt from his Australian practice.
Episode 5. Series 1.
In this episode, I talk to Stephen Drew, founder of The Architecture Social a recruitment company like no other, based in the UK. Stephen was a Part II architectural until he pivoted into recruitment, which can be more financially rewarding.
We talk about Stephen's struggles with debt, setting up a business but more importantly stories within the industry of pay and negotiation. Stephen has an inside perspective on the industry and we talk about how pay has fallen woefully behind inflation over the last 10 years. We also talk about the positive, how architects change society and have so many skills that can be applied to more profitable roles.
Episode 6. Series 1.
In this episode I talk to Paul Iddon, founder of AgencyPSI based in Manchester in UK. Paul is an British architect, marketing specialist and Vice President of the Manchester Society of Architects (formed in 1865). Paul's agency markets construction products, writes CPD presentations and wide range of European and International clients. Paul was also a partner in a design focused practice in Manchester for many years.
We discuss Paul's long working hours, debt and how recessions affected his practice in Manchester. We discuss the value of architects and how students of architecture can prepare themselves for working in practice and give themselves the best chance of success.
Episode 7. Series 1
In this episode I, Jason Boyle, share the audio of The Broke Architect YouTube videos, recorded in 2022. I am a British Architect who's expertise is in designing Nuclear projects. My other passion is mentoring, as founder of a mentoring company the GAA I offer a virtual mentoring across the globe.
We talk about pay and reward, we cover what architects and architectural assistants earn (as an average) but more importantly ask what architects think they SHOULD earn! We talk about how it's getting harder and harder to make the business model of architecture work and we also highlight the architects who suffered liquidation in the industry and are sadly no longer with us. We also talk about why the culture within architecture has to change to focus on better mental health and wellbeing for the profession.
Episode 8. Series 1
In this episode I talk to Russell Henderson, a British Architect who works in Tanzania. Russell talks openly about his struggles as an architect both in the UK, Thailand and Australia until moving to Tanzania. We discuss how he became so broke he was living day to day and even lost his architecture licence due to lack of funds.
We move on to discuss how he recovered and now has financial freedom.
Episode 9. Series 1
In this episode I talk to an architect who is a director of a residential practice based in the North West of the England. The architect wanted to remain anonymous due to the contents of what is discussed. We discuss issues of running a practice, stress, low fees, a failing planning system and how unqualified designers are undercutting architects who have no insurance and limited overheads.
Episode 10. Series 1
In this episode I talk to Grant Erskine Architects who are a residential practice based in the North West of the England. Grant's practice is regarded as the "go-to" practice for Property Investors and Developers. Grant understands what clients what and how to close down leads so I thought it essential that we hear about what makes Grant tick and how he makes architecture profitable. We discuss issues of running a practice, education shortcomings, how to retain cash flow, appointments and how to ROCK a clients world!
Episode 11. Series 1
In this episode I talk to Sophie Hoppe who is a senior architect based North of Sydney, Australia. Sophie is originally from France and has moved to a number of different countries throughout her life before settling in Australia.
In this episode we talk about what it's like to practice architecture in Australia, how she was treated as a young mother in practice, developing chronic fatigue, the lack of contract and site experience and how mentorship is so important.
Episode 12. Series 1
In this episode I talk to Greg Bell who is a Belfast born, UK trained, international award-winning Architect, Design Director and Project Manager. He has more than 35 years of experience in project management, design team leadership and construction management working for high-profile award-winning architect practices in London, Belfast, Dublin and Riyadh along with client-side roles for Government Ministry and Real Estate Development Companies on $1 billion+ landmark projects in the Middle East, Mainland Europe, UK and Ireland.
Greg has an enviable reputation in client relationship management, business development, design office and consultant team management, project bids and procurement, strategic project planning and design from inception to completion on site. We discuss how he built a successful business but a recession wiped out the funding and the clients, this pressure led to a marriage breakdown and leaving Ireland. Greg started again, relocating to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which has lead to his financial freedom - in short, Greg struck GOLD!
Episode 13. Series 1
In this episode I talk to Evelyn Lee, FAIA, is the first-ever Global Head of Workplace Strategy and Innovation at Slack Technologies, Founder of the Practice of Architecture, and Co-Host of the Podcast, Practice Disrupted. Lee integrates her business and architecture background with a qualitative and quantitative focus to build better experiences for the organisation's employees, clients, and guests. She is widely published, wrote a monthly column for Contract magazine for over three years, and is now a frequent contributor to Architect Magazine. Evelyn has received numerous industry awards, including 2016 40 Under 40 award for Building Design + Construction and the 2014 AIA National Young Architects Award. She recently served as the first-ever female Treasurer to the AIA National Board in 2020-2021.
Episode 14. Series 1
In this episode I talk to architect Ramiz Baig of Ramiz Baig Design an architect who lives and practices architecture in Karachi, Pakistan. Ramiz is also Chapter Chair at Institute of Architects, Pakistan - IAP and teaches part-time at Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture. Ramiz is also a board member at Indus Valley school and has been involved in Architects Regional Council Asia, ARCASIA.
In this episode we talk about hyper inflation and how the dollar has strengthened to such an extent that the Pakistani Rupee has been devalued by 50% in 5 years which is creating a struggle for emerging architects. Some architects have turned to full turnkey solution and design and build there creations. We talk about education, the environmental changes with greater spells of extreme weather. We also discuss culture, sustainability, pay, software, frustrations & challenges, long working hours, contracts and explore what it is really like to practice architecture in Karachi.
Episode 15. Series 1
In this episode I talk to architect Mamuna Rashid a current student of architecture studying at Oxford Brookes University (OBU) in the UK. Since early education Mamuna has been labeled a failure and has had experienced bullying throughout her schools, colleges and University. The first University Mamuna attended and decided to leave is not identified but is in London.
The current University, OBU is where fellow students bullied Mamuna and we discuss the impact on her mental health and why it has taken more than 8 years to finish her degree.
Episode 16. Series 1
In this episode I talk to American architect Sophia Panova who is Principal of SO-ZHA Architects located in Boston, Massachusetts. Sophia is originally from Bucket in Kazakhstan but emigrated to Canada at the age of eight. Sophia won a place at Harvard University for her Masters in Architecture and went to work for a prestigious architects practice in Boston. Sophia then became a mother and things changed.
We talk about running a practice and juggling time as a mother. We discuss the cost of attending Harvard and how Sophia funded this, we talk healthcare insurance, EDI and the barriers to working in the profession as a woman.