Introducing Shaun, NJ Architects Associate

Architecture is one of the most influential professions to this day – taking in how the environment is planned, designed, made used and maintained.

At Nicholas Jacob Architects, we value the imagination, dedication and skills of our experienced team. So to celebrate the things that inspire them, we would like to show you some of them and discover more about their different role models, career paths and plans for the future.

We begin with Shaun Soanes, Assosicate of Nicholas Jacob Architects.

What was the first project you worked on?

It was Colchester Town Hall under the direction of Andrew Claibourne – an excellent architect who now teaches at Anglia Ruskin University. I had to emulate his style on the project and some of his teachings still influence me now.

What advice do you have to people beginning a career in architecture?

To be an architect or technologist, you need passion but also discipline, because deadlines are often tight. You develop good design through learning and experience.

But to really be great at your job, you need to be able to visualise. Architecture is an expression of building art, using the built form to put together a concept of aspirations and ideas. A calm and collective mind is also required; not all clients can express their needs at the beginning, and being able to guide them needs a level of calmness.

On a day-to-day basis, what does your job involve?

I spend a lot of my time leading our team within our practice and helping our younger members understand and learn skills and gain experience. In my role, attention to detail is key, whether I am working on a historic or contemporary build.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Exceeding clients’ expectations and meeting their demands and needs.

What are some of your favourite projects you have worked on over the years?

Monks Barn in Nettswellbury was a scheduled ancient monument that stands out most in my mind. When the project architect left the practice, I took over the lead role. I also enjoyed working on Grade II* listed country house, which was a challenging conservation project.

You work on a variety of different types of projects, from small scale private/residential to multi-million pound redevelopments. What kind of projects excite you and why?

I like challenges and resolving difficult situations which arise with construction projects. I particularly enjoy the projects that usually scare others!

Where do you see your career heading in the future?

As one of the Associates within NJA and heading up a team within the practice, I am happy. But I must admit I would like to lead the design studio… Maybe one day!