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.

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


117 An Alternative Pathway to Becoming an Architect with Richard John Andrews

In this episode I speak with Richard John Andrews.

Richard is the Owner and Director of Richard John Andrews Ltd. establishing his architecture and design studio in 2017.

Richard's design studio came about organically after completing a self-build project of his own home ‘the cork house' as well as a design collaboration alongside an internationally renowned artist, Conrad Shawcross RA.

Having studied architecture at the respected Canterbury School of Architecture, Richard acquired both RIBA part I and RIBA part II qualifications. Richard achieved a first class with honours at RIBA part II and was also nominated for the RIBA Silver President's Medal for his thesis work.

Richard has also worked for several award-winning architectural firms including Foster + Partners, Michaelis Boyd Associates & DOS Architects helping to design numerous projects ranging from large scale commerce buildings to domestic residences.

In this episode Richard discusses the different pathway he has taken towards becoming an architect, one which has led him to accruing a large amount of project leadership and practical construction experience in his own business prior to becoming a registered architect. This untraditional sequence of experience and registration raises pertinent questions about the process of becoming qualified which are discussed here.


Discovery Call with Rion

Richard John Andrews

116: Content Marketing for Architects with Timea Kadar, CMO, Francis Cooper Marketing Consultancy

In this week's episode I speak with Timea Kadar, Chief Marketing Officer at Francis Cooper Marketing.

Timea has a wealth of experience working with businesses in the AEC industry and understands how architects can market better through content marketing and social media strategies. She has a great expertise in both offline and online marketing techniques and how to combine them. She was featured in Forbes magazine after helping more than 120 stylish hotels with their digital transformation to attract and engage more guests. Timea is an international speaker, TEDx speaker and published author.

In this episode you will learn:
– Why we should use our clients words in our marketing
– The diagnostic approach to marketing and how to find the emotional drivers of our clients
– The dangers of pride in our marketing
– How to find out what content to make for your target market


Discovery Call with Rion

Timea Kadar

115: How to Write Better Proposals with Ian Motley, Blue Turtle Consulting

What are the common mistakes architects make with their fee proposals?

In this episode I sit down with Ian Motley of Blue Turtle Consulting to discuss this and more. Ian is a Design Fee Proposal Expert, Speaker, and Author specialising in design fees, conversion rates and scope creep.

He has a background in Project Management working as a Fee Proposal Writer and Negotiator for Foster + Partners. He’s also co-authored 5 Design Fee and Appointment Guides that sell in 13 different countries.

In this episode you will learn:
– Some of the fundamentals that should appear in a compelling fee proposal
– How to avoid scope creep
– The principle of consistency and commitment and how you can use it in your proposals


Discovery Call with Rion

Blue Turtle

114: Canine Robots for Construction with Brian Ringley, Boston Dynamics

This week I was super excited to sit down with Brian Ringley from Boston Dynamics.

Boston Dynamics is a world leader in mobile robots, tackling some of the toughest robotics challenges. Boston Dynamics has an extraordinary and fast-growing technical team of engineers and scientists who seamlessly combine advanced analytical thinking with bold engineering and boots-in-the-mud practicality.

Brian is the Construction Technology Manager at Boston Dynamics where he supports AECOO customer applications for the Spot platform and promotes the development of new autonomous behavior that adds value to construction project delivery. Prior to Boston Dynamics, he was a Senior Construction Automation Researcher at WeWork where he managed the construction robotics research program and contributed to initiatives in design automation and modular prefabrication. Previously he taught at the University of Cincinnati DAAP, City Tech, City College, and most recently at Pratt GAUD where he led seminars in computational fabrication and industrial robotics.

In this episode you will discover:

– How can designers and architects can drive the process for manufacture
– The future of field robotics in construction
– How Boston Dynamics is directing it's research into commercialisation and the business needs within the AEC industries

Discovery Call with Rion

Boston Dynamics

113: Going Beyond Buildings to Create Social Impact with Chris Hildrey, Hildrey Studio & ProxyAddress

This episode was recorded prior to the current UK Lockdown.

This week I am speaking with the inspirational architect and designer Chris Hildrey, founder of Hildrey Studio and ProxyAddress.

Chris is passionate about creating a built environment that is socially, economically, and ecologically sustainable. He has spoken on television, radio, and in the Houses of Parliament about the role of design and the arts to effect positive social change.

In 2017, Chris became the first qualified architect to be chosen for the Designers in Residence programme at the Design Museum and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. In 2018 he was named an RIBA Rising Star and became the youngest ever recipient of the RIBA President's Medal for Research. In 2019 he was named a RESI Trailblazer, was chosen to be a UK Department of International Trade delegate to Hong Kong, and was a judge for the Design Museum's 2019 Designers in Residence Programme. In 2020 he was named one of the Top 100 Changemakers by The Big Issue and made a trustee of the Museum of Architecture.

ProxyAddress is a database that can connect homeless people with an address from one of England's 500,000 empty houses so they don't lose access to vital services.Chris, created the system to provide people in England facing homelessness with a fixed address to register for services with.

In this episode you will discover:

  • Why charging by the hour doesn't always make sense
  • The language of assessing and communicating value for our clients
  • What is ProxyAddress and how it can impact the lives of 1000s


Discovery Call with BOA

Hildrey Studio


112: Company Structures for an Architecture Practice with Richard Mahoney, Clarus Knight Accountants

Continuing the important conversation around money this week with accountant Richard Mahoney.

Richard is the managing director of Clarus Knight Accountants. He trained with Wellers and has spent over ten years working in the public practice sector of the accounting industry.

He services a wide range of clients across many different industries; however he has particular interests in the construction, recruitment and hospitality sectors. Richard understands the challenges that many small businesses face and the passion that drives entrepreneurs and architects.

In this Episode you will discover:

  • The legal business structures recommended for architectural practices
  • When, why and how to register a business for VAT
  • How is a business valued and the different ways a business can be wrapped up


Discovery Call with Rion

Richard Mahoney

Clarus Knight

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