1st Edition

Design your life An architect’s guide to achieving a work/life balance

By Clare Nash Copyright 2022
    144 Pages
    by RIBA Publishing

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    Ten years ago, Clare Nash was struggling with a common problem: how to be an architect and still have a life. With no job, no savings and no clients in the midst of a recession, Clare set up her own practice with little more than a few postcards in local shop windows and a very simple website. Determined to better combine her life and family with professional work, she created an innovative practice that is flexible and forward-looking, based around remote working and the possibilities offered by improving technology.

    Bursting with tips, ideas and how-tos on all aspects of designing a working life that suits you and your business, this book explains in clear and accessible language how to avoid the common pitfalls of long hours and low pay. It explores how to juggle work with family commitments, how to set your own career path and design priorities, and how to instil a flexible working culture within a busy lifestyle. Encompasses the full range of life-work challenges:

    • Money, fees and cashflow
    • Playing to your personal strengths
    • Outsourcing areas of weakness
    • Building a happy and productive remote-working team
    • Creating a compelling marketing strategy
    • Juggling parenthood and work
    • Studying and honing workplace skills

    Provides the inside view from innovative practices: alma-nac, Gbolade Design Studio, Harrison Stringfellow Architects, Invisible Studio Architects, Office S&M Architects, POoR Collective, Pride Road Architects and Transition by Design.


    1. How to be a business owner architect

    2. How to be an architecture student (and still have a life)

    3. Background

    4. Going solo

    5. Team

    6. Niche and marketing

    7. My mistakes

    8. Systems and efficiencies

    9. Business and baby

    10. Case studies. Case study 1: Office S&M Case study 2: Stringfellow Case study 3: Piers Taylor Case study 4: TbD Case study 5: Gbolade Case study 6: alma-nac Case study 7: Pride Road Case study 8: Poor Conclusion


    Clare Nash is an architect and founding director of Clare Nash Architecture, a radical all-female practice specialising in rural energy-efficient design. She is an RIBA Role Model, an architectural business lecturer at Oxford Brookes University and author of Contemporary Vernacular Design: How British housing can rediscover its soul (RIBA Publishing, 2016).