Arc. Shokunbi is a British trained architect with more than two decades of experience in the built environment both within and outside Nigeria. Before returning to Nigeria, he worked for a number of architectural firms in the UK, after which he set up an architectural and interior design firm called CFA Interiors specializing in the design and build of high-end new build and refurbishment projects in the commercial and private sector across the UK.
He started out by showing one of the very first projects he worked on (in the UK), which contributed in no small way to his becoming an architect-builder. Arc. Shokunbi moved back to Nigeria in 2006, where he, along with Mr Patrick Koshoni, set up Patrick Waheed Design Consultancy Ltd. (PWDC) in Lagos, Nigeria that same year.
His starting point was asking himself how he would execute what he had learnt or what he had been doing in the UK for so long. He spoke briefly about his work and some key projects he had handled, such as one for Access Bank.
He addressed the notion of the ‘one-man-band’, noting that architects in this environment tend to believe it’s best to do everything by one’s self. As a result, you tend to burn out very quickly.
According to him, you will also discover that finding yourself in such a situation prevents/ hinders you from performing at your very best. It was upon this premise that he introduced one of the major points he would be discussing- collaboration. This requires you to find people who obviously share the same ideas, that is, people who are like-minded, but have different attributes and strengths and can come together and compliment any kind of situation you find yourselves in.
Although a lot of people fancy the idea of being the face of a project or organization, it is more ideal to work as a team, with individuals who can man different parts of a project e.g. a team comprised of an architect, marketer, and an expert in finance. This gives you the opportunity to succeed, so as not to end up in a situation where you can’t get anything done effectively.
He shared a number of other ideas to help upcoming architects, before concluding his presentation. “Don’t wait for clients to come to your doorstep”, he says, “…try to notice the things that are lacking in your communities, things that can make a difference in your communities, group together and come up with a plan”.
He ended his session by answering a few questions from participants. He offered up unique insights in-between at the end of his presentation, and in-between everything we’ve noted in this post. You need to listen for yourself! Please let us know what you think in the comment section below.