Rion Willard

Author Archives: Rion Willard

Rion Willard is the Host and Director of the Business of Architecture UK, an interview podcast where prominent guests share tips and strategies for success in architecture. He’s the founder of the The Thinking Hand Studio Architects a London based architectural design firm specialising in high end luxury residential.

127: Collaboration in Construction with Michelle Lowe

This week, I’m speaking to Michelle Lowe, the Founding Director of Redshell Consulting, about the importance of building powerful teams, keeping everybody focused on delivering for the good of the project, and the roles and relationships within the processes of construction.

Redshell is a consultancy firm that offers project management, cost management, and claims consultancy. They are involved in the developmental roles and services to the construction industry, serving many various sectors, including private, high-end residential developers, households, commercial investors, as well as high-end world-class hotel and hospitality providers.

In this episode, you will discover

  • The importance of being able to educate clients about other consultants that they’re working with.
  • The importance of varying how you respond how you educate, and how you deliver based on who your client is.
  • How everyone can start to collaborate and find ways of lifting the profession and industry.


Discovery Call with Rion

Redshell Consulting

Michelle’s LinkedIn

126: How to Finance Development Projects with Mark Watts, YumoFinance

This week I’m speaking to property finance specialist Mark Watts of YumoFinance, about how you can finance your development projects and better understand the financial processes our property developer clients work through.

Make specialises in financial advisory, commercial lending and loans, mortgage lending and financial consulting all within the property sector.

In this episode you will discover

  • The process a project will go through to obtain financial lending
  • The different types of mortgages, lending and financial products used by developers and that we can utilize
  • The obstacles many developers face when financing a project


Discovery Call with Rion


Mark’s LinkedIN

125: The Business of Listening with Darren Bray, Studio B.a.d

This week I’m speaking with Darren Bray the founder of Studio B.a.d, at the RIBA (pre lockdown), about the future of the profession, the power of listening and going beyond traditional architectural service propositions.

Darren launched his own practice Studio – B.a.d in Hampshire: A thoughtful design studio interested in the social value of how 21 century architectural practice and how it can bring about community benefit through practice, education and research. They are based in Southampton and are currently engaged in domestic projects in Bilbao, Scotland, London, Southampton, and the New Forest, as well as the Dorset Tank Museum and a church refurbishment in Portsmouth. Previously

Darren has spent the past 20 years, in private practice, coordinating a broad range of projects, including private houses, interior projects, community projects, educational projects, listed buildings & sports facilities. He was a key member of the multi award winning Pad Studio team. He has also Spent 10 years as a part time studio tutor at Portsmouth School of Architecture from 2007- 2017.

In this episode you will discover:
– Why listening is the architect’s secret sauce
– How architects and students can go beyond traditional boundaries and invent new career typologies
– Why analysing our client’s business plans empowers design


Discovery Call with Rion

Studio B.a.d

124: Being Your Best Self with Faye Kilgour, the ‘What If’ Coach

For those of us perhaps suffering from lockdown fatigue – a dose of Faye Kilgour, the ‘What If’ Coach is just what the doctor ordered.

Faye Kilgour is on a mission to support people to go from feeling overwhelmed and frustrated, to feeling inspired and ready to indulge in the ‘what if…’ of life. Faye has experience training educators in coaching skills, delivering coaching programmes to undergraduate students and facilitating workshops to support professionals develop their leadership skills. To deepen her skillset, Faye has also completed BSc (Hons) in Psychology and is delighted she is able to merge coaching skills and psychological tools to further support the growth of others.

In this episode you will learn:
– How we are often living in fight or flight without realising and how to break that cycle
– How to implement a powerful routine and daily structure
– How listening to your intuition in business can be an antidote burnout and overwhelm



FAYE KILGOUR – The What If Coach
Instagram: @thewhatifcoachfaye
Twitter: @fkilgour
LinkedIn: Faye Kilgour

123: Employee Ownership in Architectural Practice with Ewa Lenart and Alex Holton, Purcell

This week I sit down with Ewa Lenart and Alex Holton of Purcell, Architects, Masterplanners and Heritage Consultants to speak about the history of Purcell and its exciting plans to move towards an employee owned business.

Ewa Lenart is an Architect at Purcell, with over 6 years of experience in practice with predominantly with cultural projects, large scale regenerations in the heart of London and exhibition and concept design in Vienna.

Alex provides specialist heritage property services for a range of clients, including private homeowners, tenants and estates, developers, universities, local authorities, Trusts and places of worship.

In this episode you will discover:
– How Purcell have been preparing their organisation and leadership for their move towards employee ownership
– How Purcell has set up numerous international studios
– The business structure and new organisation for the employee owned business.



122: The Humanist Value-led Practice with Douglas Teiger

In this week’s interview I speak with Douglas Teiger about creating a humanist approach to an architectural practice.

With over 38 years in practice, Douglas has a wide range of experience.

He started working for other firms after graduating in 1982 which led him to open his own firm in 1989. In 1999, Douglas formed a partnership, Abramson Teiger Architects (ATA), lasting 20 years and grew a 6 person firm into a 32 person firm. As managing partner, Douglas’ ability to effectively streamline the operations allowed for more time to be spent on design and project research – a major factor in the consistent high level of design associated with ATA. Douglas’s mission is to mentor young firms in order to accelerate their growth.

Using his expertise, he acts as a sounding board for young principals as well as a guide through all aspects of a practice including Strategic Planning, Operations, Human Resources, Marketing and Business Development. His life coaching skills facilitate a work/life balance as an important part of a successful practice.

In this episode you will discover:
– The 4 components to running a great business
– Humanist values and how they can be at the centre of a practice
– Douglas’s story and how he strove for a deep harmony between work and life


Discovery Call with Rion

Douglas Teiger

121: A One-stop Shop for Client Success with Nigel Husband, Director of Architecture, Z Group

This week I speak with Nigel Husband, Director of Architecture at Z Group, the UK’s first genuine Alternative Business Structure (ABS) regulated by the SRA (Solicitors Regulation Authority), ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants England and Wales) and RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects).

Nigel originally took over his father’s practice before forming his own in 1986 known as Husband and Partners Architects LTD which then rebranded as Husband and Carpenter Architects and later became an LLP in 2012. H&C Architects then joined Z group in 2016 as part of an ABS (Alternative Business Structure) providing a one-stop-shop for architectural, accounting and legal services.

With a wealth of experience and background knowledge from running his previous architectural practices, Nigel is seeking better ways of delivering architecture and is delighted to the extent that clients can benefit from the combined professions of architectural, accounting and legal services made possible through this unique business structure.”

In this episode you will discover
– What is an Alternative Business Structure (ABS) and how does work for an architecture practice
– How working closely with other professions can inform effective design solutions for your clients
– How an ABS can be powerful approach to protecting cash flow


Discovery Call with Rion

Z Group

120: Tik Tok & Working Abroad for Architects with Russell M.Henderson

In this episode I speak with architect Tik Tok superstar Russell Henderson about his career working abroad in countries such as Australia, Thailand and Tanzania.

Russell graduated from the University of Huddersfield, with BA (Hons) Architecture, Post Grad Diploma Architecture, and then Master of Architecture in 2009 which earned him registration on the Architect Registration Board (ARB) and a Chartered Member of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in the UK.

Russell then took an international study pathways and spent time studying and designing buildings during his time at The University of Jordan, Middle East and The University of Arizona, USA. More recently Russell passed a LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Green Associate accreditation exam in Los Angeles, this ensures green building sustainability is always paramount on any design.

With over 15 years professional experience spanning over 4 continents, Russell has had global and broad design exposure and has been employed by companies in Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa, including working at some of the largest architecture design firms, such as Atkins and Aedas. Working and studying in different cultural environments and situations can give an original and deep understanding of global architectural design.

In this episode you will discover
– How Russell crafted an international career on 4 continents
– How he has used Tik Tok to build a personal brand
– How Russell uses Youtube and Tik Tok to deepen and share understanding about the architecture industry


Discovery Call with Rion

Russell M Henderson

IG @architectrussell
TIK TOK @architectrussell

119: Growing an Audience on Social Media with Nigel Reimmer, founder PropertyTent

This week I’m speaking with expert social media practitioner Nigel Reimmer founder of PropertyTent (IG @propertytent) .

Nigel is an experienced consultant in both Real Estate and Social Housing sectors with skills in Social Media, Brand Marketing, Lead Generation, Customer Acquisition, Sales and Strategic Planning and in depth knowledge on legislation and processes surrounding Leasehold Consultation.

In this conversation Nigel discusses his philosophy and strategies he employs to create engaged audiences on social media.

In this episode you will learn
– Principles for growing a social media following
– How different social media platforms require different approaches
– How to make connections with Real Estate Brokers and agents using Instagram
– Why instagram’s organic reach is on the decline and what platforms are growing

Discovery call with Rion

IG @propertytent

118: Getting Recession Ready with Rob Fiehn and Luke Neve

2020 has been a bonkers year! The economic impacts of COVID are being felt around the globe. In this episode I sit down with two leading architectural communication experts and ask them ‘How can architects get ready for the deepening recession?’.

Rob Fiehn has an accomplished career to date, working deep within the architectural industry facilitating effective communication with diverse portfolio of practices ranging from small bespoke operations to large international firms helping them communicate both internally and with the wider public.

Luke Neve has delivered campaigns as an external consultant for a wide range of creative and corporate clients, such as the Vinyl Factory, Sony, and the Polish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. He has set up and implemented communications strategies for international architecture practices overseeing management of competitions and award bids, website updates, social media, PR, new business, and events.

In this episode you will discover:

  • The do’s and don’ts of communication in a recession
  • What competitions you should be avoiding and which ones may be successful
  • Why you should be selling to other architects
  • How to use LinkedIN to start meaningful conversations with potential new clients


Discovery Call with Rion

Rob Fiehn

Luke Neve


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