Steven Leach + Associates, Bangkok  – Architectural, Interior Design and Project Management Services

Property Report Feature Article

Our very own Managing Partner, Donal T. Coyne, was featured in the April 2009 issue of Property Report magazine’s Thailand edition. In this interview by Stephen Small we’re given a very sincere distillation of the current building situation and emerging industry trends for Thailand. We also get a taste of Mr. Coyne’s unpretentious wit and his blend of metaphors.

Here are a few excerpts from that interview:

When asked about the differences of working in Thailand and somewhere else like Hong Kong, he says “Every time you learn a new lesson, you learn a new lesson the next time round. It’s like 50 first dates. You learn the lesson, you design a solution around that problem, then you go to the next job and the solution doesn’t work. The solution that the tradesmen have produced on one job doesn’t carry over to the next job, because there’s no consistency. There are no trade schools here, there is no professional training, so there is no continuity of skill.”

His comment about adapting to the slower economy reads “We have done a lot of residential high-rise condominiums. We are building six or seven at the moment, but this year I think we are going to move back into interiors, because we have definitely seen a huge downturn in the last six months in architecture.”

His insight on the impact of new technology in the architecture industry was an eye-opener to our designers. “Unfortunately through extremely sophisticated software we can now produce amazingly realistic renderings, but we are still trying to build with the same hammer and shovel and untrained labour. So if anything, the delta between (design and construction) is getting wider. My worry about technology is that it allows people to envision the dream but it doesn’t empower the builders to deliver it any more professionally.”