SB Architects’ President Tells Us What It Takes To Be An Architect

As SB Architects continues its hunt for the best architectural talent, I asked the firm’s President Scott Lee for some advice on how to win – not only the competition – but in the industry in general.

Why is recruiting a priority for SB Architects?

Every company needs to look ahead when it comes to attracting top-tier talent locally and internationally.

My partners and I recognize that our industry is lagging regarding its ability to fast track individuals with substantial potential so that they can achieve their ambition to lead and make a significant contribution to the sector. We have made a conscious effort to mentor our next generation of architectural leadership.

Historically, there were few associate principals, senior project managers or directors under the age of 30. However, with the changing profile of our clientele and the traveler, we need to include millennials in the decision-making process, and their input and perspective are undeniably of great value. This industry is fast-paced, offers incredible learning and travel opportunities, and taps into the more adventurous, fearless nature of this generation. 

What is the strategic plan as it pertains to recruiting?

SB Architects has always been recognized as a global design leader in the hospitality and mixed-use space. As we expand our portfolio internationally, it is important to propel ourselves forward and embody the role of a great employer not just in the U.S. but also globally. We need to attract individuals who are passionate about the industry and the value they add to this firm.

What should a new recruit expect?

The person can expect an intense few years ahead. It will be a structured whirlwind as they will not only go through understanding all the facets of design, leading projects but also solving business challenges so they receive a well-rounded perspective. This understanding of both the art of architecture and how an architectural firm operates will provide them with the tools to hold a high-level leadership position.

What does it really take to succeed in the architectural industry?

Passion, commitment, dedication, and being 100% sure that they want to work in this industry and at this firm. We are looking for someone who has charisma, creativity, genuine passion for the job and leadership skills. Someone with the ability to look at a problem and turn it on its head. An individual with the assuredness and humility to stand their ground or admit they are wrong. Someone hungry to learn who does not shy away from tackling challenges. Most importantly, we look for people who enjoy collaborating whether that is with their direct team, firm peers, clients or guests.

What opportunities did you have – or perhaps not have – before becoming a President?

I decided to be in architecture at a young age. I, like many of my peers at the time, came into it at the very entry level. I have been fortunate to really understand all the facets that go into creating the guest experience as well as what it takes to run a profitable design business. Sometimes you have to grab an opportunity as it presents itself; other times something falls into your lap and sometimes it’s a question of being in the right place at the right time. Each person’s career path is different. What we are trying to do is accelerate the learning part of the career to equip designers with a combination of knowledge, academic accomplishment, and hands-on experience to fast-track their architectural career.

What’s the one advice you’d give to young aspirants in the design industry?

It is much easier to succeed if you have the passion for the industry and the projects. How you express that passion really helps you find the right path to success. On a personal level, success is about always moving forward and not stagnating. There is no end goal, in fact, only the next step.