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.

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

111: Planning Your Financial Future with Katie Nutting, Personal Wealth Advisor

“Can I afford my first house?”
“I want to change career how much do I need?”
“Can we afford to have children?”
“When can I retire and how much do I need as an income?”
“Can I afford to send my children to private school”
“How can I improve the income and capital I receive in retirement?”
“What type of protection will provide security for my family on death or illness”
“Can I make my personal situation and company more tax efficient?”

These are some major life questions that many people will ask themselves at some point and all have significant financial implications.

This week's podcast is with Katie Nutting a Personal Wealth Advisor at Schroders Personal Wealth. Katie specialises in helping her clients answer these important question and how they can plan for them. Katie works with her client’s financial objectives to find the most effective, efficient and affordable way to accomplish their goals, and plan for the next stages in their life.

In this episode you will discover:

  • What does hiring a financial planner involve and when should you use one
  • What is a lasting power of attorney and why you should have one in place
  • Why you need to have an exit strategy in place in your business


Discovery Call with Rion

Katie Nutting

110: Prosperity Consciousness with Aja George, Entrepreneur and Financial Educator

This week we are continuing the conversation around money with Entrepreneur Aja George.

Aja spent a decade in the dance industry working with people like Keke Palmer, Omarion, Chris brown, P!nk, Miley Cyrus, and Justin Bieber. He had the opportunity to work on prestigious award shows such as MTV’s VMA’s, Nickelodeon’s TCA’s, the Grammy’s and the Oscar’s as well as featuring in movies like Never Say Never and Step Up 3D.

But, he retired from the dance industry when he realized that a livable “residual income” was not possible and that he could never show someone else a proven system on how to achieve the same level of success that he had.

After a few years in retail while searching for his niche and passion, he realized that the people in the industry he spent nearly a decade in had a common flaw. Lack of financial education.

He finally opened up his own business where he would educate families on how to create a family bank and how to build a family business to leave behind a legacy for generations to come.

Since opening his own business and entering the world of entrepreneurship, he’s been able to help dozens of people start their own businesses and teach families about the rules of money and how to be able to leave legacies behind.

In this episode you will discover:

  • What it is to recognise a paradigm that might be a constraint to earning
  • How Aja challenges and identifies commonly held money scripts
  • What is ‘Prosperity Consciousness'

This week's resources

Discovery Call

Aja George

109: Mental Wealth for Architects with Dr. Brad Klontz, Financial Psychologist

In the architectural industry one of the most sensitive topics is the fees architects often receive which can be relatively low when compared to the value that is created through design and the risk that architects carry in delivering services.

In this conversation I speak with financial psychologist, Dr Brad Klontz about the psychology behind money, fees and value. 

Bradley T. Klontz, Psy.D., CFP® is a Founder of the Financial Psychology Institute® and an Associate Professor of Practice in Financial Psychology at Creighton University Heider College of Business. He is a Managing Principal of Your Mental Wealth® Advisors, a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, and a Former President of the Hawaii Psychological Association. He has partnered with organizations including JP Morgan Chase and H&R Block in efforts to help raise public awareness around issues related to financial health and financial psychology.

Dr. Klontz has been a columnist for the Journal of Financial Planning, On Wall Street, and and has co-authored/co-edited five books on the psychology of money.

In this Episode you will learn :

  • The psychological inner battle about why some creative people find it hard to price services 
  • Money scripts: what they are and how they affect us 
  • The surprising habits, lifestyles and mindsets of wealthy people


Discovery Call with Rion

Your Mental Wealth


108: Blurring the Line Between Architect and Developer with Henry Squire, Squire & Partners

So just before lockdown in a pre-covid world, I had the wonderful opportunity to speak with Henry Squire, partner at Squire and Partners in their new home – the Department Store located in Brixton, South London.

The building is an extraordinary development led by the practice which revives a local Brixton landmark to create a series of collaborative workspaces supported by an evolving hub of creative, retail and community uses. Originally built in 1906 as an annexe to the Bon Marche department store, the design of the reimagined space has been informed by the existing fabric and layers of history.

Squire and Partners is a British practice founded in 1976 with an international reputation for architecture informed by the history and culture of where it is placed. Their award winning portfolio, for some of the world’s leading developers, includes masterplans, private and affordable residential, workspace, retail, education and public buildings.

Squire and Partners also have their own property and business portfolio, mixed-use developments at Northdown Street and Clapham Park Road, The Rockwell Hotel, a house and apartment development on Liverpool Road.

Henry Squire who is one of the partners at Squires who is responsible for leading the future of Squire & Partners into its next generation.

In this episode you will learn:

How the culture of practice has evolved in their new home
How the practice has moved from a 1st generation practice to a 2nd and is planning the 3rd
What does business mean to Squire & Partners

This week's resources

Discovery Call with Rion

The Department Store

Squire & Partners

107: How To Make Your Marketing Memorable with Nikita Morell

This week I am connecting internationally with Australia based Nikita Morellos, who is a copywriter & marketing strategist who specifically helps architects win more of the projects they really want through creating actionable marketing strategies & writing archibabble-free copy.

In this episode you will learn

  • The Mistakes Architects commonly make with language on their website
  • A framework for becoming memorable in our marketing
  • Why having a stand is key for your messaging


Discovery Call with Rion

Nikita Morell

Architect's Word Shop


106: Redefining an Architecture Business with Petr Esposito, Thirdway Architecture

Hooray! This was my first face to face interview since March, and what a delight it was to visit the impressive offices of the Thirdway Group, home of Thirdway Architecture, where I had the opportunity to sit down with founder director Petr Esposito.

Thirdway Architecture is a traditional architecture practice that forms part of the Thirdway group, a progressive, cross-industry family of companies including D&B fit out, property contracts, furniture dealership and workplace interior consultants. These companies work together to deliver projects that are well aligned to the business agendas of their clients and the needs of the end users.

In this episode you will learn:

  • How Thirdway Architecture identify the economics of good design and communicate this to their clients
  • How Thirdway Architecture put together their pitching documents
  • The innovative business structure that Thirdway Group uses to deliver projects


Discovery Call with Rion

Thirdway Architecture

105: Merging Traditional Practice with Artificial Intelligence with Nicholas Darby

This week I sit down with Nicholas Darby, an architect based in South Africa who has been running his own architectural practice, Imagine Architects, for over 10 years and has now begun an exciting journey merging his traditional practice with developments in artificial intelligence and software architecture.

Nicholas worked in corporate practice, working on numerous commercial buildings around the world before setting up his own practice which focuses on high end residential.

In this episode you will learn

  • The areas of potential for artificial intelligence and machine learning in building eco systems
  • Are architects in danger of being replaced by AI?
  • Software architect vs Building Architect a new reformed, completely reinvented title


Discovery call with Rion

Imagine Architects

104: The Value of Place with Angus Bruce, Head of Design for Landscape Architecture, Hassell

In this episode I'm discussing the business behind landscape architecture with head of global Landscape design at Hassell – Angus Bruce.

Based in London and originally from Australia Angus has more than 30 years of experience on award-winning projects across Asia, Australia and Europe, including the transformation of Sydney’s Darling Harbour precinct and the 15-hectare public realm of the Geopark Museum in Nanjing, China.

Angus has developed a deep expertise in understanding how to bring innovative landscapes to life to meet business, environmental and social needs – and create natural, sustainable places people love.

In this episode you will discover:

– How Hassell aligns with the business agendas of their clients

– How Hassell measures the success of projects that are civic focused

– The anatomy of an international design business

This weeks Resources:

Discovery call with Rion


103: Building Team Culture with Sarah Wigglesworth, Sarah Wigglesworth Architects

“Architecture is utterly about people, and about making life better for people”. I recently had the opportunity to sit down and speak with the inspiring Sarah Wigglesworth, founder of Sarah Wigglesworth Architects.

Sarah Wigglesworth MBE RDI FRSA RIBA MA Dip Arch is the director of her London-based architectural practice which she founded in 1994. Her work is acknowledged as a pioneering influence in British Architecture, and it focuses on exploring ecological building solutions. She writes and speaks extensively about her and the practice’s work. She was granted the title Royal Designer for Industry in 2012 and awarded an MBE in 2003.

In this conversation Sarah discusses:

  • How the practice has been growing during COVID 19
  • The story of developing of her own home and studio
  • Winning work in the public sector and complications of procurement in the UK


Discovery call with Rion

Sarah Wigglesworth