Those good folk at architect BPTW know how to have a good time – as you can see from the roll-call of booze above.
All they seem to do is have parties, picnics in Greenwich park, which is conveniently located just around the corner from their practice, lose money on the horses, take trips to Paris and go for drinks down the pub. Indeed, the pub bit is a company tradition. Religiously, once a month, the whole practice stops work and heads off down to the local hostelry. “We have a very significant budget for trips and events,” says Andy. “It’s important to attract people and to keep them happy.”
The fun also extends to crazy charity events. Last year, 10 people from the practice abseiled down the side of an 18-storey tower block. “I remember the weather was atrocious,” says David. But, rain or shine, isn’t this sort of thing really dangerous?
“It was the ankle injuries that did for them,” jokes Andrea, adding that, actually, it was all handled by professionals.
Bizarrely, the conversation moves on to shoes, then to onsite toilets and back to shoes again. Andrea proudly shows off her new boots to everyone. She is also very happy she could wear them to site today.
But this brings up the subject of facilities for women on site. Andrea tells the story of the contractor who told her to use the pub down the road when she needed the loo. She wrote to the contractor to complain and – hey presto – on her next visit, a ladies’ loo had been installed. “It was right down at the end of the site,” says Andrea. “When I tried to flush it, nothing happened, and when I tried to wash my hands nothing happened either. The contractor said it hadn’t been plumbed in yet.” Some habits die hard.
It turns out that Andrea is very into shoes. How many pairs has she got? At this point, she gets evasive. “I don’t know,” she says, “I don’t have much room in my place, so its one in and one out.
I give them away to charity.” Surprisingly, Andy admits to owning 30 pairs of shoes. “It’s not a style factory,” he says. “Some of them really do need throwing out.” David only owns four pairs, presumably because he has just qualified as an architect. “That’s not enough, mate,” says Andy. Catherine also has around 30 pairs and shows off her boots. “They’re quite kinky,” she comments.
At this point, we’re joined by another BPTW architect, Kerry Branford, who arrives with a colleague, Mark Waite, who is also an architect, and we finally start on the whiskies. As this pub also happens to be my local, it’s just a short stagger home – which is just as well.
Andrea Hilton associate
Andy Heath partner
Dabid Fordham architect
Catherine Muckle PR and marketing co-ordinator
Thomas Lane Building
Chosen watering hole: The Greenwich Union
Ambience: Friendly local cum microbrewery
Topics of conversation: Parties, charity stunts, shoes, toilets, shoes and shoes
Drinks drunk: 4 pints of pale ale, 10 pints of lager, 5 vodka tonics, 3 white wine sodas, 2 mineral waters, 4 whiskies