Ludewig, 37, director, ACME

What has been the hardest challenge you have faced to get to where you are now?

A lot of challenges tended to look fearsome and insurmountable, but once they were overcome, they didn’t seem like such a big deal after all. It’s always the upcoming ones that seem the hardest. Balancing resourcing and income has been the challenge of 2010.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?

I’d like to think I’d be designing beautiful buildings, working with the same people as today, in a grown office, keeping a good mix of UK and international projects. And improve on personal work/ life balance.

Where do you see the construction industry going in the next year, three years and decade?

The UK is still playing catch-up on sustainability as a creative and integral part of buildings, and space standards in the UK remain horribly small and inflexible, we’d hope to see progress in these areas. And we would like to see much clearer planning guidance on permitted development rights to cut down on the rather drawn-out planning process. A ten year wish-list more then a prognosis…

What has been your career high point so far?

Some competition wins were hard-fought, as were some prizes, but handing over a building that one has worked on for up to five or sux years, from initial sketches to completion, have been the most rewarding moments, Umraniye Istanbul in 2007, Highcross Leicester in 2008 and Hunsett Mill in 2009.

And the low point?

Getting phone calls from five developers in August 2008, each one informing us that their scheme had gone on indefinite hold, leaving us with no paid work. The sudden lack of UK work forced us to become more international, so a useful low point in hindsight.

Who is your hero?  (This can be either industry or non industry related)

Thought the age of single heroes had passed a bit, but there are a lot of people we admire, any architect pushing experimentation and not repeating themselves, any QS who can speak about cost but also about value, any client who is not afraid of the new, any builder passionate about craftsmanship.

If you could take one thing with you to a desert island, what would it be?

My enjoyment of sandcastles in earlier days was somewhat instrumental in choosing my current profession , so I’d think there no need for anything else as long as plenty of sand is a given.