In the past month, both Su and Sarah have presented lectures to students at the University of Liverpool Architecture School, and the Manchester University School of Architecture respectively. The audience for these lectures were architecture students, undergraduate and postgraduate, who were investigating potential career opportunities and paths. With this in mind, Su and Sarah thought it would be useful to focus on how they started out, how HSA wins work, and HSA’s strategy for the practice as it grows.
Continue reading to enjoy excerpts from these lectures to gain an insight into how we use creative skills to evolve and develop the practice of acting small but thinking big.
Following successful careers at very different Liverpool city centre practices, Su and Sarah realised if they wanted to have a greater involvement with the direction of a practice, and a better work/life balance if they ever wanted children, they would need to either change job or create that opportunity myself. They chose the latter.
Our Office + Practice Ethos
“Flexible, inclusive workplaces don’t happen by accident, they happen by design.”
HSA have been on Penny Lane since March 2017, in a lovely wee studio we did up ourselves, and now 5 members of staff. It was a very deliberate move, to buy a shopfront, and for it to be out of the city centre. It embodies our ethos of breaking down barriers, de-mystifying architecture, makes us physically and visually accessible, and is fundamentally a great advertising opportunity. We deliberately curate an open and ‘human-friendly’ culture within our studio, we do not condone regular late-night working nor unpaid overtime. We treat our staff fairly and (through necessity originally rather than by design), we demonstrate that flexible working can still result in quality work.
Our approach to practice was recognized by the RIBA last year as one of 9 Practice Role Models across the UK, the only one in the North West. What exactly does being a Practice Role Model mean?
We’re still working that out ourselves, but so far it is giving us an opportunity to continue to challenge how we practice, giving us an insight into larger organisations within the group, tapping into shared knowledge, and expanding our contact base for collaboration. It has given us a platform for becoming more involved in ‘the system’ in the hope that we are part of a catalyst for change in the profession. For example, Su is now part of the RIBA Small Practice Committee and for the last two years have been on the panel at Guerrilla Tactics.
If you want to read more about this accolade go here.