Spotlight on Gareth Brown, Architect

Gareth Brown reveals why designing facilities for the pharmaceutical and high value manufacturing sector is so interesting. With a career as an architect spanning several decades, he still thrives on the challenges it produces.

Holding a lifelong passion to learn, Gareth found that after 25 years working for a range of different architectural practices, he was suddenly left feeling rather flat and deflated about his career. He had previously enjoyed working for many different size firms from small consultancies up to leading national practices. This saw him operating across the Civic, Commercial, Education, Healthcare, Infrastructure and Residential sectors.

During this time, he designed and delivered a range of buildings including healthcare, nursing homes, schools, university buildings, offices, and residential properties. He progressed to become Associate Architect for a top-ranking architectural firm, but despite taking on the responsibility of leading large-scale, multi-million-pound projects, he felt something was missing.

“The designs may look different, but technically they are similar and generate the same types of issues,” he explains. “After a while, you stop being stretched. I’ve always been a geek and loved science; I need to learn, otherwise I get bored. A few years ago, I ended up studying for an Open University degree in Earth and Planetary Science as I felt I was lacking the intellectual stimulation at work.”

Complex design

With his love for science, Gareth’s interest was immediately piqued when he was approached by a head hunter about a role at Scitech. The levels of regulation within the industry and complexity behind the manufacturing facilities, cleanrooms, and laboratories that Scitech designed and built meant that Gareth would once again find himself challenged.

“Scitech appealed to me for several reasons. The projects are interesting with truly complex challenges that really stretched my thinking. The approach to design was different; process led, and inside out.

“At Scitech, you work side-by-side with a full range of multidisciplinary teams and have access to subject matter experts with extensive experience in some fascinating fields.

“The beauty of working together as part of this multidisciplinary team, sitting together in the same room, is that you are more likely to pick up errors before they can escalate. You have the expertise on hand to identify any potential issues at a very early stage and head them off. I’ve also found that, at Scitech, there’s a genuine desire for everybody to get it right.”

Breadth of projects

Since working at Scitech, Gareth has been involved in a range of projects from the development of a hot cell suite for a radiopharmaceutical company based in the US to the development of a high-end manufacturing plant in Scotland, all of which have satisfied his need for learning something new.

“I found it incredibly interesting learning about radioactive isotopes and how they are produced and packaged,” he explains. “It is fascinating from a design perspective as you have to factor in radiation control and monitoring and consider pollution.”

Mentoring a new generation of architects

It is not just his own learning that Gareth is invested in. He has also provided mentorship to architecture students at Cardiff University and The University of Wales Trinity Saint David for several years and was keen to continue when joining Scitech.

“There is a big leap between what you learn at university and what working life is like as an architect. The mentor scheme helps to bridge that gap. Basically, we frighten the students with the reality of the responsibilities they will hold when working as an architect.”

He adds: “I was fortunate that I’ve had several mentors early throughout my career who have been extremely supportive and given me a lot of help. I promised myself that when I was able to do the same for others, I would. I’m grateful that I can do so. Hopefully I can help to inspire them, and I may well find myself working alongside them professionally in the future.”

  • For more information about careers at Scitech, visit our careers section.
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