If you think architects are single-minded, work-obsessed bores, think again. This is a multi-talented bunch.
Roberta is a DJ, Dan used to sing in band called First Reaction and Brian owns more than 300 records from his break-dancing days, before he “discovered beer and stuff…”
But they’re not so great, it seems, at planning a night out. We arrive at the appointed place but it’s too packed to sit down, so we’re forced to relocate. After a meandering detour through private property, we end up in EV – a Turkish bar tucked under some old railways arches by Waterloo Station.
“I’m amazed how many musicians there are in the firm,” says Roberta, finally holding a glass of wine.
“But it’s related,” Dan says. “Music’s about rhythm, form and layering – as is architecture.”
“When asked what other profession they’d choose, most architects would say musician or chef,” chips in Brian.
So what would they be?
“I want to be Seal,” declares Dan. By which he means the singer rather than the aquatic mammal.
Despite much cajoling, he won’t sing, so instead, DJ Roberta tells us how the scratching noise produced by records can be recreated on CD players. The wonders of technology. What would we do without MP3s, Google Earth, mobile phones ...
Speaking of which, Roberta has just lost her fourth phone in two months. Rather careless, considering it took her 10 years to lose that many bicycles. Her new one, she says, has Romanian and Slovak language options. Not much use, since she’s Italian.
Dan has no sympathy for the number of bikes she’s lost.
He’s reluctant to embrace the cycling revolution – the motorists are too infuriating. “Get in your cars!” he says. Before adding: “Hybrid cars,” to protect his environmental credentials.
“How do Oyster cards work?” asks Julian, the non-Londoner. A flurry of explanation ensues.
“The smoking ban is a good thing,” says Dan, helping himself to one of Roberta’s cigarettes.
“Yes, but with non-smoking pubs, you realise how smelly people are,” quips Brian.
“I’m a cigarette stealer too,” admits Julian. “I used to steal them from a girlfriend.”
Talk turns to an architect who was recently accused of copying someone else’s designs.
“But work often looks similar,” says Roberta. “Architects’ intuitions are close.”
“Like cooking, ideas are mixtures of things you’ve tasted before,” says Dan, philosophically.
With that, our accomplished group drink up and disperse.
Chosen watering hole: by default, EV in Waterloo
Ambience: al fresco drinking in the bar of a Turkish restaurant
Topics: the parallels between music, cooking and architecture, and smoking
Drinks: 1 Corona, 5 pints Stella, 3 Stella and lime, 3 glasses of white wine, 2 vodka and cranberry
Brian Woodward architect director
Daniel Adeshile associate
Roberta Colombo senior architect
Julian Barlow PR consultant, Barlow Frith Communications
Debika Ray Building