Introducing Grant Erskine, Owner and Founder of Grant Erskine Architects
In the first in this series on architecture, Grant Erskine talks about his education, how he came to architecture, the projects he worked on with BDP, about how the recession led him to set up his own company, Grant Erskine Architects and about what it's like to start your own architecture firm.
Introducing Grant Erskine
Amy: Hi it's me, Amy, from Property Investments UK and today I'm here with Grant Erskine from Grant Erskine Architects.
Thank you so much for joining us today, Grant.
Today, Grant's going to be talking about his work in the field of architecture and I'm really excited about chatting with you because I know you've got some fantastic experience and you've worked on some really amazing projects.
Some of the work you're doing is going to be of lots of interest to the people that are watching these videos. So, really looking forward to chatting with you today.
Grant, welcome to the interview today. Thank you so much for joining us. Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do in architecture.
Grant: Sure. So, I came to Manchester to study architecture in 2003 and went to one of the best schools of architecture in the world, I'm led to believe.
Then I started working with a company called Building Design Partnership, BDP. If you haven't heard of these guys, they are city builders. They did The Rock in Bury, for example, and Liverpool One. They build massive things.
And since 2010, I was coming up to my qualifications. And then the recession hit and people were being made redundant etcetera, etcetera. I had been lucky enough to dodge three waves of redundancies but got caught in the fourth, literally two days after I qualified as an architect.
It was no big thing because I went to university quite late. I went to university at 23 but I'd started working for an architect's firm at 17, holding drawings and making coffee.
So, I had learned my trade before I had gone to university. And it's sort of a bit of a joke but the last job I worked on in BDP was part of a team of 10, designing 20 square miles of hospitals, skyscrapers, shopping precincts and schools.
And then made I was made redundant.
Nobody was hiring, so I thought I'd set up my own practice. And the first job I did under my own steam was converting a brick toilet, a brick outside toilet into a kitchen extension in Stretford. So the extremes, from here-to-there.
And it was very much a back bedroom of a house and a dream and a laptop and I grafted it out for the next three years. I was working from my bedroom, grafting, learning my trade, taking on any type of job and every type of job, building a brand that people knew about as being the go-to company.
Amy: Absolutely, I can relate to that, a lot. When you start out you're putting yourself out there and answering everyone's questions and being really personable and becoming the go-to guy in your specialism.
And I know you are the go-to guy in architecture. I knew a lot about your work before we've met today so it's clearly worked.
Grant: We worked hard at it. We built a whole brand around it. And we really personalise it. We took every type of job going from your little, crappy loft conversion through to new build properties, through to conversions. We did it all.
Four years ago we took an office in the city centre and that really saw the start of us accelerating and we now have that slightly enviable position of people seeking us out to help them.
It's a nice position to be in.
Amy: Excellent. Thank you for that.