A few months ago, Architects, Visualizers, students, professors and other guests united inside the Julius Berger Hall at the University of Lagos for the annual Creative Architects event.
Hassan Anifowose was given the opportunity to speak at the event and here are his insights into his professional career so far as an Architect and visualizer, and why he’s daily appreciative of the fact that there is no ‘I’ in team…
Arc. Hassan Anifowose: My biggest secret to learning is reading books about business and technology. It is quite hard creating specific times for reading but I have discovered that reading at night helps you cover a lot of ground and also reflect (as it is quiet) thereby you can strategize and conceptualize some ideas.
The recipe, a quiet place, and a book you are willing to learn from. Sometimes, waiting for clients, waiting for lunch creates the time you need to quickly read a few pages, so you don’t have to leave your regular work for a while because you need to read.
Arc. Hassan Anifowose: My purpose was first realized when I noticed the gap between architects and their clients regarding presentations. I decided to create a system that can bridge the gap between both parties as clients usually don’t understand the professional jargon and also, architects need to make their presentations a one-shot kill hence the birth of Chronos Studeos, the 3D visualization company which was birthed in 2010.
How much of the dream has been achieved? Hmmm… Well, maybe 10% as our popularity is still growing, and we have been able to meet our client’s requests on numerous occasions.
Arc. Hassan Anifowose: Yes, a great working team is absolutely essential. Many people would look out for people who think out of the box. I look out for people I can trust to get things done as trust is a big plus and, because our roles are so demanding of both time and energy, trust is also a huge necessity in the architecture industry.
Once you can trust people to work in the best interest of everyone, trust people to make worthy decisions in the toughest situations, trust people to have your back while you have theirs, everything in between learning skills to do the job can definitely be overcome.
Arc. Hassan Anifowose: The first thing is to work hard. Nothing that I have got so far came easy. It is the result of many, many hours of work every day, every week, every month, and, yes, every year.
I do not really exercise most of the time, asides from my frequent Taekwondo training, I have a healthy diet, and I usually do not worry about the outcome of things. I give it my best and go to sleep. Positive thinking is everything. I just believe it can get done and then it gets done… period.
Arc. Hassan Anifowose: Oh, well, now you know: my secret is ‘The Team’! Without the team, there is no me, so when some people say they want to be like me, I tell them they should strive to be a team player.
Truth is, the reason why we are able to make so much impact is that everyone plays to their strengths. It is like football. You have the striker, the mid-fielders, the defender, and the goalkeeper whose primary role is to ensure nothing goes in the net. The success of Chronos Studeos boils down to teamwork.
Arc. Hassan Anifowose: I have tried out some several software but over the past years, I have trusted Microsoft Office, the entire Autodesk building suite, Google apps (such as Google Drive and Google Hangouts), Dropbox for file sharing, and MailChimp for marketing campaigns.
There are also many readily available and free apps on the Google app store and Chrome store which can help you get tasks done quickly (where time is of the essence) and efficiently.
Most importantly, I get things done on A BIG SCREEN! This is one tool I don’t joke with: the monitor. It allows me to see the design and presentation before it reaches the client. The monitor – the bigger the better – is beyond essential if you want to succeed as an Architect and/or visualization artist. I would always advise anyone in a profession such as ours to invest as much money as they can afford on the monitor as, let’s face it, we Architects probably spend far more time looking at the monitor than we do look at our wives!
Arc. Hassan Anifowose: Not every client wants cheap labour or services. Some clients just want you to get things done, on time, and to only the very highest standard.
Serious clients usually want timely completion more than anything and the moment you can meet up with their schedules, they want to hire you again, because you become the expert who can deliver (very well and within the time frame).
Hence, you find out, you have a greater volume of sales because you can meet up (P.S. Yes, this may involve hiring more hands to get the job done, but such a move results in more sales, so expansion and investment in the workforce make complete sense).
Arc. Hassan Anifowose: Marketing has been ingrained into our works. Our works speak for themselves.
Every piece of work that goes outside our doors is a marketing tool (and simply done). We put in so much effort and our years of expertise into everything we do, such that when someone else sees them, they instantly know that a huge amount of hours and dedication has been expended on every single piece of work.
Also, our search engine optimization is up to par so that, if you Google the services we offer in the region in which we operate, there is a likelihood that we occupy the top results on the first page of the Google. This, in turn, helps increase our chances of generating more sales and more exposure beyond the client list we already have.