Martin has always had a passion for doing things differently, whether in connection with education, teaching, architectural practice or sport. Innovation and creativity underpins all of the work that he undertakes, most recently within the University of Portsmouth Project Office.
In the past 25 years Martin has worked as a site agent and as a skilled labourer for a variety of Contractors and Sub-contractors as well as being employed in several private architectural practices across the South of England. He has also worked in the public sector for the award winning and multi-disciplined practice Hampshire County Architects and, in addition, formed his own practice located in Winchester. His work during this time has been wide ranging, providing opportunities to design and construct projects with a variety of clients from the education, residential, commercial and medical sectors.
Since early 2006 Martin has worked closely with Tod Wakefield and a small group of committed staff at the University of Portsmouth to establish the Project Office; an architectural consultancy practicing under the umbrella of the Portsmouth School of Architecture. The Project Office was officially launched in November, 2008 and since this date has grown from one part-time member of staff working a few days per week to a fully functioning and well-respected architectural practice employing a full range of dedicated staff and students. Martin is now employed as an architect and overall Coordinator of the Project Office.
Martin has found that Clients who choose to work with the Project Office will usually experience two very different solutions; an academic response which generates big ideas and a significant number of design proposals, and a tailored response directed toward a specific client brief led by an architect and a small dedicated team.
In addition to the construction and practice experience listed above, Martin has also studied and taught at a number of UK Schools of Architecture at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. At the University of Portsmouth, Martin currently runs an final year undergraduate design studio with Lynne Mesher and Rachael Brown and, additionally teaches a Master of Architecture Design Studio, along with colleagues Francis Graves and Walter Menteth; this studio is entitled ‘Finding Methodology + Practice’ (also known within the School of Architecture as Studio FM+P).
Students and staff who choose to work within Studio FM+P have a keen interest in alternate architectural practice and design methodologies. The studio looks to bridge the perceived divide between architectural design work generated in the learning environment of schools of architecture and design work created in architectural practice operating within pragmatic, practical and profit-led parameters.
Students entering practice can find that design skills developed in the academic arena are remote from what is required of them in the work place; Between Silence and Light by Louis I. Kahn is replaced with the New Metric Handbook.
Many architects teach because they enjoy both theory and practice. For them, the idea of an architectural practice, located within a School of Architecture, is the ‘Holy Grail’ of ambition. In this regard, as the Project Office Coordinator and as a Senior Lecturer at the University of Portsmouth, Martin is in a fortunate and sometimes unusual position of being able to combine the worlds of academia and practice.
In August 2009, Martin was asked by the Royal Institute of British Architects Journal (RIBAJ) to write a short article explaining his role and work at the University of Portsmouth. His conclusions in that piece of writing also ring true today,
Finding a balance between education, architecture and money is not easy but my aim for the Portsmouth Project Office is for it to grow and become a necessary ingredient of the school of architecture and the university as a whole, while at the same time allowing students and staff to learn through practice.
Education through Practice; Practice through Education