DT: Are you looking slightly differently now because of COVID at the types of homes that you are trying to build? ie are you thinking more about working from home and outdoor space, and all that sort of stuff?
TG: I don't think we're necessarily thinking about the homes themselves that differently. We'd like to think that we always consider how people live within spaces and ultimately people might start choosing a two-bedroom place over a one-bedroom but ultimately that's all driven by budget. The housing crisis has not gone away. In fact, it has got worse. So actually, I think the bigger tangential answer to that question is we have always focused on creating mixed use pieces and city and we believe that that now more than ever is the future. People don't necessarily want to be commuting a very long way to get to places, and that's not because of the virus. That will go away at some point, but people have taken a long hard look at what is important to them and I think that's really healthy.
I think that actually mixed use city centres where you can work, you can live, and you can socialise and do all the other things in life that actually we have all missed so much over the last six months; that is actually the future rather than necessarily adapting every single apartment to have a small office space. Now of course some of that might be my sensible, but I think it's more fundamental about how we create mixed use cities
DT: Which is a neat segue I can make now to looking at your CV really, with your work at the Shard and on the Athletes Village in terms of mixed use and your own history as a qualified architect. Presumably all those things mixed up make for a good way of putting that into action? A mixed use ethos?
TG: Yeah. I mean the first thing I’d say is that I wasn’t the best architect! (laughs)
TG: And that was probably one of the reasons I moved on. But I think I think one of the things that I I'm so conscious of and I speak to my team about all the time is how big a role we, as client/developers play in making architects be the best they can be and ultimately therefore improving our cities in the best way they can. It's something that I learned very quickly in my transition. I was an architect and then I worked in project management consultancy. But actually, as soon as you come onto the client side it became so obvious how the way you treat people, and how you act as a client is critical to the success of the project, and bringing the best out of the team. I think now more than ever, that that's so important.
Clients need to ensure that they pay good fees, that they are decisive, and one of the problems with working from home is that everything starts to slow down a little bit because you can't have those creative design sessions. And actually, ultimately consultants work on thea time charge basis, and that really hits their bottom line and their ability to really think creatively about the projects and put the time in. I think there's so much responsibility on us as clients to ensure that we push the project along, and that we are aware of the challenges that our numerous consultant teams are going through.
That, along with setting the brief – and again, I'm not saying anything that you won’t have heard from others – but the recent crisis has been a watershed moment for the environmental impact of our cities, and how people feel about that, and how we can move that. It is up to us as clients to ensure that we don't lose this opportunity and that we actually really demand more from our consultant teams, who've been wanting to give it for a long time but haven’t really necessarily found the clients willing to invest in that
DT: Brilliant. Well, I'm up I'm up to time, so all that remains for me to say is thank you very much for sparing some time, and that’s great!
TG: Thank you. I really appreciate you inviting me and I hope you have a good day
DT: See you soon in the real world I hope!