Get to know… Peter Barbalov, Design Partner at Farrells, Part 1




Design Partner, Peter Barbalov, has always been interested in using design to create a lasting impact for generations to come.  Find out what else he said when we spoke to him about his career in the industry to date.     

Talk us through your career…

I chose a career in Architecture and construction as it shapes the world we live in. I am always mindful of the lasting impact the industry will leave for future generations – what kind of world would our children inherit from us. To date, I feel my biggest challenge has, and continues to be, ensuring I’m meeting the changing expectations of clients, and this has been amplified since the pandemic.  Design requirements have altered dramatically, and we now have the task of responding to these new expectations, while anticipating what could also be needed in the future.

If I could change anything about the industry, I would want people to work together in a more collaborative manner. Each ‘cog’ in the project wheel has a part to play and it’s not unusual to see teams focus on their part of a project and then move on without a second thought once their done. Through better collaboration, responsibility would be shared, and we would see less instances of teams shying away from accepting, and correcting problems. This has improved in recent years, and I look forward to the industry becoming even more collaborative in the future.

What have you worked on that you’re most proud of?

That’s a bit like asking who your favourite child is – I do have a soft spot for Greenwich Peninsula though! Taking the project from conception through to masterplan was extremely rewarding.

Most helpful advice you were given?

Know what you don’t know and never be afraid to ask.

What’s your favourite building in the world?

The Pantheon in Rome. It’s been there for over 2,000 years and effortlessly manages to create a sense of awe. It doesn’t matter how many times I visit it; each time is like the first, I feel completely taken aback. It’s a perfect example of a structure that has gone beyond its original use and has stood the test of time – something that every architect can only aspire to create.

What single piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out in your profession?

Be inquisitive. Never be afraid to look around and ask questions. A similar piece of advice to what I was given when I was starting out.

What famous building do you wish you’d worked on?

The Eiffel Tower is an amazing structure. It did radically change the perception of what can be built. It demonstrated innovation from the outset and throughout construction, showing what could be done with cast iron.  More building projects should try to do the same and commit to something equally transformative.

Which famous building do you most dislike?

It’s a difficult question, I would say a great building like the British Library, has challenges in how it integrates with the rest of the city. If it were being designed today, I wouldn’t hesitate to make it more permeable and welcoming as a library or public buildings should be.