ECE@10 Profiles – Paul Fender
Paul is our Design Director at ECE Architecture, a visiting critic at Brighton University and sits on the Design Panel for the South Downs National Park.
What brought you to ECE?
A series of long conversations! I met every Director apart from Adam King, which is ironic considering Adam is the director I work with most closely in the residential team.
Interestingly, Tony Clark (former chairman) gave me one weeks work experience at the age of sixteen, which reinforced my decision to be an Architect.
Early bird or night owl?
Early bird, for sure. At university my housemates found it weird that I would get up and work really early for a pending deadline that day, instead of finishing the night before and sleeping, knowing things are complete. Most people will tell you, I am pretty useless after 4pm but can see things very clearly at 6am.
When are you at your most relaxed?
It may sound weird, but when I am getting my hair cut. I cannot do anything but relax and let someone else with sharp scissors take charge. My phone cannot be answered and emails are not read. It is pure relaxation time. Okay its only thirty minutes, but it is relaxing. Maybe I should get my hair cut everyday?
What ECE project are you most proud of?
It must be our new studio. It is nearly always the last project for any Architect. However, the studio symbolises so much for all of us. An immense achievement for the Directors, for ALL of us to be able to act as client, Architect and end user is no mean feat. It is also a step change for the practice and our profile.
But above all, it has been the perfect place to regroup after the pandemic. Having a great space for all of us to work together again after a period of ‘teams’ meetings and make shift studio space is just wonderful.
What is key to designing a successful scheme?
Context, historic and physical is hugely important. Understanding your brief will always make life easier. But also, having a narrative. As Architects we must be able to sell the idea to our peers and those that live with it, work in it or just walk past it. If you can sketch the essence of your design then you clearly understand what you are trying to achieve.
What has been the highlight of your career?
There have been so many:
- First job offer (came at my graduation show)
- First Planning Permission
- First completed project
- First promotion and every one there after
- First client
- Meeting those that have inspired me and there have been many.
We are so lucky our careers are full of firsts and they all feel rewarding.