Meet the team: Shaun Soanes, Partner at NJ Architects

Shaun Soanes joined Nicholas Jacob Architects when the practice was founded in 1996, and has gone on to become a key member of the team. Here, we catch up with Shaun about his career path and his current role as Partner.

Shaun as a child, with his Mother

As a boy, Shaun Soanes had already developed an interest in all things architectural.

“At school, I aspired to be an architect and developed my knowledge of architecture by subscribing to architectural magazines of the time,” he said. This keen interest would lead to his first job, and he started his career with Colchester-based Purcell Miller Tritton, working as assistant to the two Principal Partners.

“I was fortunate to be offered a position as office junior at Purcell Miller Tritton, where I met Nick Jacob, and started working for him in 1986,” he said. He soon became a technologist; having worked through is technical training at the Colchester Institute, which gave added responsibility of managing and administering projects of all sizes; this included private domestic work as well as well as public and commercial buildings. During this time, he had the privilege of working on projects at some of the country’s foremost heritage buildings and sites, including Canterbury Cathedral, Colchester Castle, Flatford Mill and several Crown Estate properties in London.

“I worked my way up over 10 years and then Nick decided to set up NJ Architects, and asked me to continue to work with him. I am Partner at NJ Architects now, and my background is in architectural technology and project management. Rather than being an architect, my focus is much more on how the buildings come together, on the design and the project management side. I also oversee the IT provision within the practice, including the resource planning and project systems.”

Shaun uses his many years of experience in the architectural profession to apply a finely honed understanding of the technical requirements of a project, balanced with a sound economic approach to planning and production. As well as being responsible for the team of technical staff within the practice, Shaun also works closely with clients.

“I am very focused on the clients and helping projects to progress through all work stages,” he said.

Shaun’s experience

Shaun has a breadth of experience over a range of project types, procurement methods and building typologies, including:

  • Historic buildings, residential/public/commercial/industrial/ecclesiastical
  • One off houses and housing developments
  • Sub-terranean development
  • Adaptations and repairs to historic buildings
  • Historic Impact Assessments
  • Options advice and developments and feasibility studies for heritage sites and buildings
  • Alterations to improve accessibility to public buildings
  • Mixed use developments
  • Complex building techniques