In this episode of Talking Architecture & Design, we talk to retired Architectus director Ross Styles about his early years in the industry, his experiences in China and the Middle East, Architectus' transition to a top tier firm, and mentoring future architects. 

"I wanted to become an architect since I was about twelve; even at that age, I thought it was a career – something that had a direct impact on people," says Styles. 

"I was more interested in the social side of life. I thought architecture seemed to be able to provide a legacy and you could make a difference in society. I was quite attracted to the idea that you could create something physically, and over a period of time, build a portfolio that made a difference to people’s lives."

According to Styles, beyond any technical skills, the most important thing for future architects to have is passion. 

"You should have the passion for [architecture]. You should be prepared to work long, demanding hours, and you have to do a long course at the university. You need to have a broad set of skills; you have to be a good communicator and a good team person, and you may not get paid mega bucks. There may be times when it will be tough and you have to let go of people or take salary cuts.

"At Architectus, the directors once didn’t take salaries just to keep the office going. So you need to have the passion and drive to want to do it. Also, one should have the design sensibility and understand creative skills because architecture is a design process and that goes right down to the details – that’s how you get good buildings."