ETA Inspirations: Game Changers #01 "the Maestro"

Sat listening to the beautiful eulogies of the life of a mentor at a memorial yesterday reminded me of a quote that connected Football Legends Pep Guardiola and Johann Cruyff to Ferran Adria world renowned, award wining chef :

"The principles are the same. It is not just about being the best at playing the game or cooking the best meal, but more about changing the way the game is played and how the food is served and perceived - while having fun in the process.

Innovation, genius and talent combined with total dedication and unstinting toil and effort comes in many forms be they sporting or culinary. " Guillem Balague

 Tom Ryland Memorial Service 21st April 2018. St Peter’s Church, Black Lion Lane. Hammersmith London .

Tom Ryland Memorial Service 21st April 2018. St Peter’s Church, Black Lion Lane. Hammersmith London .

 Tom's lovingly restore Humber.

Tom's lovingly restore Humber.


This all forms the expression of how each one of, what Malcolm Gladwell may describe as 'Outliers', formed their own path and through skill, dedication, practice and virtuosity change the landscape surrounding them. (Think Bill Gate and The Beatles).

When I left university many years ago 1st stop was not a studio beset by creatives but a lot of soul searching and a nursing home . There I learnt a grounding, of working in a team and the, true, broad understanding of what a home from home meant. How does a building for 30 men with combat stress become a home and not the institutions that they have come to expect? (A conversation for another time).

That job paid off a loan and then came a variety of other jobs that afforded me my 1st PC computer.
Immediately, I sent out 1000 emails to all the architectural firms in the directory, only 50 gave replies, of that 20 said send in a CV. Only 3 said come for and interview. I could afford 1 travelcard that week so did them all in 1 day.

Within hours I got a response from one. The one with the quirky basement beneath a shop front, with a mannequin in a flight cap, known as Biggles, and books in the library that I had, actually, read. The one with the two friendly gents smiling back at me. It's the one where I learnt about my calling to residential architecture. The one that connected me to the University course that, made me a life long friend. He in turn looked out for me during the 2008 recession and got me the shot to help build ETA.

Tom , one of the two friendly gentleman and my mentor, was generous of spirit and called all of us maestro. To a young 'architect' it means the world as you have a college degree but no professional experience. You have ideas but no outlets. You are at the lowest rung of the 7 year long ladder although being 3 years in. But this gave us hope. Him being the product of the Architectural Association of the 60s meant he got 'it!' He guided us, let us observe, and experiment. And I watched as many of the former alumni of the firm became award winners in the architectural field. Mini maestros in their own right. All because the original maestro had spotted us and given us a shot.

Tom's eulogies talked of films made at public school, student trips down route 66, an amazing husband and a father, an architectural professional with a strong sense of civic responsibilities. He was also an man with generosity, energy spirit and a love of music. And he changed the landscape for those around him.

An inspiration, and maestro...Tom Ryland. Thank you.

And ETA thanks you for being part of the DNA that flows through our process.

To me humble extensions where not just buildings they are important pieces of bespoke, curated and personal architecture. I learnt this sat next to Biggles whilst being a maestro, the same way I learned in the nursing home that by listening and working alongside a team was how to make a home for those 30 gentleman. (There we go, this was the time)

And this is just one team members DNA strand at ETA and it's foundations were great mentors and experience. We bring this to every project.

"Innovation, genius and talent combined with total dedication and unstinting toil and effort comes in many forms be they sporting or culinary"....or architecture.