Building foundations: Sam Turner, Architect, on life after Hoover


With The Hoover Building’s conversion into 66 homes complete and RIBA Part 3 in the bag, Sam Turner, Architect at Interrobang, shares with us his ambitions for the future, what inspires him, and some brie-lliant cheese jokes.


Which Interrobang project are you most proud of and why?

The Hoover Building. Well, when a project consumes two years of your life and you have worked so hard to get it done it’s great to have random people say ‘Wow, I love that building!’ I mean, I can’t take credit for their love of it, but at least I can be a footnote in its ongoing history and have made a positive contribution to its life.


Why did you choose a career in Architecture?

I’ve always been curious and want to know how everything works, I love making things and buildings are pretty impressive things to make. I don’t know, it just seemed to fit with all my interests and skills.


What would you be doing if you weren’t an Architect?

I’d like to think I’d be somewhere warm, sunny and outside. There were several careers I nearly pursued, closest alternatives were Pilot and Animator. Now I think I’d like a workshop somewhere to make wooden toys, preferably close to a beach.


Which product or building has most inspired you and why?

This is so difficult to answer, I’ve been inspired by all sorts of places notable and unremarkable. I’m generally inspired by an architect’s combined work so love Frank Lloyd Wright, Alvaro Siza and Alvar Aalto. Visiting Siza’s tea house and swimming pools in Porto was a highlight and definite inspiration at university but if you’re going to pin me down, the Paimio Sanatorium by Aalto and his wife Aino is a particular inspiration. I encourage everyone to read more about it:

What is the most difficult challenge you’ve overcome at Interrobang?

There were some tricky details to resolve on the Hoover Building, particularly dealing with fire and acoustic separation.  


What are your ambitions for the future?

Professionally I’m focusing on becoming a more competent designer and confident Project Architect. There are a few building types I would love to take on, a Church or Library possibly being top of the list.

Personally I’m aiming to make improvements to my canal boat home and lose my love handles.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Take more risks! Do the scary things and say how you feel, invariably things will work out well. Also, you don’t need as much sleep as you think!


What is your favourite book/album/film/place?

Book: Shantaram is an absolute tome but such a great read. (Go into it believing it’s true and you can always learn about the elaborations later)

Album: I’ve never bought one, my music is all from torrents or streaming! Rage Against the Machine: Renegades has a lot of songs I go back to and have good memories with.

Film: Monty Python’s Life of Brian

Place: Praia da Amoreira beach, The Algarve, Portugal.

Favourite (clean) joke?

Q: What cheese should you use to coax a hibernating mammal out of it’s cave?

A: Camembert

Q: What cheese should you use to hide a small horse?

A: Mascarpone