What Are Grant Erskine Architects Currently Working On?

What Grant Erskine Architects are currently working on

Today, Grant Erskine talks about how what it takes to future proof yourself in architecture by keeping your projects diverse and always being willing to learn. As Grant says, ‘If somebody asks you to do something you don’t know how to do, you say yes and then you learn how to do it’ and although ‘it makes my staff uncomfortable, I deliberately force them to do jobs that they haven’t done before’.

Property Expert Series: Grant Erskine From Grant Erskine Architects

Recession Proofing Your Business

Amy: So what would you say the main focus of your business is now? What are you working on at the moment?

Grant: From day one I’ve built this business to try and be recession proof. So, when people say to me, ‘What is your specialism? What do you do?’ my response tends to be something that I talk about when I’m lecturing at universities.

Nobody ever teaches you to specialise. Nobody ever says, ‘You’re going to be a house architect or a school architect’.

So, what generally happens is that professionals get pigeonholed and I work very hard to try and stop that.

So, at the moment we have a wide range of projects going. We work on multi-let, HMO, buy-and-flip, residential apartments.

We also do a lot of very, very high-end, one-off houses, generally for clients that are going to live those houses.

For instance, we are currently working to convert a church in Saddleworth into a big, six-bed house. It will have an indoor swimming pool and all the sexy, Grand Designs stuff with bridges and glass. It’ll be very nice.

And then we do conversions and shops. We’ve done a few nurseries and a few care homes.

A lot of our clients are professionals with a sideline in property. So, in a lot of ways, we are their architect for everything.

Diversifying Your Projects

Grant: So, for example, we have a client in London who is a dentist. We have done a couple of his dental practices and a couple of his buy-and-flips.

We also helped him with his own, multi-million pound, new-build house.

And a lot of our clients are like this meaning that most things are in our portfolio, which is nice.

Amy: So, you have return business and you’re working with across a diverse spectrum.

That shows you’re doing a great job for the people that you work with, that they are repeatedly coming back and asking you to work on business projects, personal projects.

And, as you say, it keeps you working right across the spectrum.

Grant: I do it deliberately. It makes quite a lot of my staff uncomfortable but I deliberately force them to do jobs that they haven’t done before.

Work should be a continued education, continued learning, you know? I don’t want us to be stale and stagnant, I want us to be, fresh and new.

Amy: And you need to be, in architecture. You need to be of-the-moment and keeping up with trends.

Grant: Something that always comes to my mind… Richard Branson says this and you see it on LinkedIn a lot. If somebody asks you to do something you don’t know how to do, you say yes and then you learn how to do it.

That, to me, is a great way to think about it.

Historic Renovations

The one area we don’t touch is historic work. Because it’s it’s very complex and very specialist.

Generally, you find that the people who do historic renovations don’t work on anything else.

So, every so often someone will come to us asking us to work on a grade 1, listed building and when that happens we’ll turn them down and point them in the right direction for a company that will do it.

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