Thursday, 9 August 2012

Q&A with David Shiers

Another Q&A slot. This time with David Shiers, Principal Lecturer in the Department of Real Estate and Construction. David also plays trumpet in his band, Big Colours Big Band.

1. When you were at school what did you want to be when you grew up?
In chronological order:
Film Director

2. What did you study at university or college?
Music part-time from age of 12 at the Royal College of Music.
Architecture at the University of Liverpool
Education at OBU

3. How did you find your way into Real Estate?
The origins of my involvement with the Department of Real Estate: as an architect in practice, I had always had an interest in teaching and was a visiting tutor at Liverpool University. When we first moved to Oxford, I continued to develop this; initially working part-time in what was then the School of Estate Management. When a permanent post was advertised; I applied for it and here I am! When I was an architect, I had always worked for or been involved with firms of Chartered Surveyors so knew and enjoyed the positive, energetic, 'can-do' culture and so had no hesitation in coming into the department. Almost 20 years on, it's still very rewarding to play a small part in the education of the next generation of property professionals.

4. What interests you most about the subject?
Achieving the balance between a built environment which enhances people's lives whilst at the same time safeguarding the planet's natural resources.

5. What is your favourite building and why?
You're asking an architect to name his one favourite building? That is simply not possible I'm afraid!
Here are some of my (current) contenders:

  • The German Pavilion, Barcelona (1929) by Mies van der Rohe; for it's simple, classical beauty and because it's a bold, Modernist vision of the way the world was about to change.
  • Casa Batllo, Barcelona (1877 & 1906) by Antonio Gaudi; gorgeous but it must be said, just a bit bonkers. The apartments open to the public are sensual, intimate and pretty much unique.
  • The Chrysler Building (1931) by William Van Alen; a sleek piece of Art Deco engineering, brimming with 1930s American self-confidence and know-how.
  • 88 Wood Street, City of London (1993-2001) by Richard Rogers; a deft, subtle and elegant building, wonderfully well engineered.
  • St Catherine's College, Oxford (1962) by Arne Jacobsen; ancient architectural traditions and forms re-interpreted in1960s Scandinavian cool; set in an idyllic landscape of water gardens and Barbara Hepworth sculptures. Jacobsen also designed the furniture and the College cutlery!

6. What is going to be the next big thing in Real Estate?
In the UK, upgrading the existing building stock.

7. Outside of work, how do you relax?
Music, arts, sports.

8. What is your favourite word?
Favourite word: "Always"
Favourite quote: "Goodness is achieved not in a vacuum, but in the company of others, attended by love" (after Saul Bellow)

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