You’ve got to be wise to your own priorities

16 August, 2021

Ewa Effiom is an architect currently working for Gort Scott. He is a judge for the Best Use of Video category.

What are you working on right now?
I’m working on two projects. One of them is an office building in the City and the other is a Pocket Living scheme in Walthamstow.

How did you cope with lockdowns?
I was very lucky. Because I wasn’t going out and socialising I had the chance to start my writing career and put myself out there. It’s also allowed a lot of people to understand their relationship with work, that work isn’t the be all and end all – life outside does matter and that’s such an important thing.

What got you into writing?
I was part of the New Architecture Writers second cohort and I see writing as part of my architectural practice. I only really spend eight hours a day doing architecture and weekends and evenings writing. When you work in a profession where the output takes five years, writing is a very easy way to explicitly put out ideas.

Why do you think your generation has a different attitude to work-life balance?

In the past there was an understanding that if you dedicate your life to architecture and it’s a real slog, then maybe in the future there’s a chance for glory after all that hard work. My generation is starting to see that’s not the truth. This kind of myth of the struggling artist is just that, it’s a myth and it very much benefits the older generation because it’s the purveyor of this ‘wisdom’. But I think you’ve got to be wise to that and your own priorities.

Why do you think architects are turning to film as a way to explain their work?
The marriage between the two is understandable – they’re both about narrative and space and perception of that space and film can show atmosphere and ambience. To rely on stills for all of these things is maybe a bit dated.

What are you looking for from this year’s entries?
I’m looking for an engaging experience.  We’ve all seen these very manicured marketing exercises so I think I’ll be looking for something that really engages me – because I think that’s ultimately what people should be trying to achieve. I want something that has heart. I want to see the human story.

The Best Use of Video category is now open for entries. The deadline is September 2nd.