Skip to content
Pauls Retirement

Pauls Retirement


After nearly five years of dedicated service, our team is saying goodbye to one of its most esteemed architects, Paul, who is set to retire at the end of the month. His experience at the firm stands out as a testament to the collaborative and skilled nature of the SMR team, a sentiment echoed by many within the practice. He credits the directors and his colleagues for creating a workplace that not only focuses on financial stability but also fosters a culture of growth and well-being. 

In anticipation to his retirement, we gathered reflections from Paul, exploring his journey as an architect at SMR and get an insight into his unique viewpoint and professional growth.

“How long have you worked at SMR?”

Paul – “Nearly 5 years in July”

“Wow so you started in 2019. How did it come about that you found SMR?”

P – “I worked at a practice in Otley, and they were downsizing because of reduced workload. I was last in, so first out. One of my former colleagues had come to work at SMR and I was just ringing contacts to find any vacancies, Mark said he’d ask the directors if they would be interested. He did, I had an interview for a 12 month contract to start with which was then extended to full.”

“And now we’re here. And how have you found your time here at SMR?”

P – “Ridiculously friendly I would say. Very supportive and what else can I say? It’s been a revelation to come across a large practice, by my standards, with so many quality people in it.”

“I feel like that’s just a general consensus here among everybody that everyone is just really happy with how the team is. Because everybody here is so skilled and on the ball.”

P – “There are some seriously talented people here. And it shows.”

“What did you enjoy or appreciate the most about working for SMR?”

P – “I think I’ve just said it: the people. Well, I’ve said it to Amanda (Director) on several occasions that I’ve worked in many practices where we weren’t being paid or being paid half salary for 6 months, where we’ve had a 10% pay cut for no good reason. It’s not just the money it’s the stability and I think the directors work really hard and everybody else in our team works really hard, to provide a good stable environment that allows people to flourish by minimising so many worries. The money side of it isn’t really what I’m about but it does provide a good environment to work in and peace of mind to concentrate on the work.”

“And what will you miss the most?”

“The people obviously and I’m hoping to stay in touch after I leave. When the invite for the Christmas party came round, I put my name down!”

“Do you have a fond memory of being here?”

“So many. I really do think that the Wellness Wednesday principle has worked very well and have talked about this to many of my friends who express interest and amazement. I think it highlights the need for quality mental health and mental health care which is very prevalent at the moment. The standard of support of mental health issues at SMR has become much better even in the short time that I’ve been here, it’s become more accepted and part of the working ethos. The socials, sport, lunches and films all help as well.”

“How long have you been an architect for?”

P – “It’s nearly 40 years now.”

“What made you want to become an architect?”

P – “I wanted an arts-based career but also I have a good understanding of mechanical and technical matters. In true renaissance style I think they are part and parcel of the same thing and shouldn’t be separated and this is a job that combines both.”

“What was the most impactful change in the industry for you over your career?”

P – “Two things, the deregulation and diminution of the profession (thanks Maggie) and the use of computer systems.”

“You made quite a big donation for Red Nose Day what inspired you to do so?”

P- “I thought it was a good way of not scrapping a perfectly serviceable car and helping those less fortunate. Peter M matched the amount doubling the final figure, respect.”

Amanda Marsey, Director added, “Well that 5 years has flown by, it has been a privilege to have a Senior Architect like Paul working for me. His supportive nature and years of experience in the industry have strengthened SMR’s offering. I’ve loved watching Paul develop some of the younger members of our team, giving them confidence to thrive within SMR. On behalf of SMR, thanks for everything; mentoring, actively supporting SMR’s Learning Academy, enthusiastically partaking in socials and being a great team player.

On a more personal note, I’ll miss our chats. It always puts a smile on my face seeing Paul as I walk around the office, but I have no doubt we’ll catch-up soon over some fine food and a glass or two of the red stuff. Take care Paul and enjoy your travels!” – Amanda

“Paul is a fountain of knowledge and the go to person at SMR not just for anything architectural but for book and film recommendations, the best restaurants and for his baking skills so I think it’s safe to say everyone here will be very sad to see him go. Happy retirement Paul, Sketch Club won’t be the same without you!” – Joe

“He’s a motorbike enthusiast and fun fact about Paul is he used to have a long chic ponytail to suit this passion of his. He’s an avid reader and I must say he gives very good book recommendations and not to forget how good of an artist he is. We have our Sketch Club at SMR in which he is one of the core members, and we are always amazed by his beautiful pencil sketches. To us he’s not just a colleague, he’s a teacher and a very dear friend. I personally have learnt a lot from Paul, ask him anything he would do his best to help. I wish him a happy retirement, hopefully he has enjoyed his time at SMR as much as we have all enjoyed working with him and his company.” -Dayang

As he steps into retirement, his legacy at SMR Architects remains—a legacy of mentorship, excellence, and a deep-seated belief in the power of a supportive community. SMR Architects thanks Paul for his invaluable contributions and wishes him all the best in his well-deserved retirement. His presence will be greatly missed, but the impact of his work and the strength of the relationships he’s built will continue to resonate within the firm for years to come.