15 minutes with Vince Squillace from Squillace Architects

31st March 2016 / Market Updates


Nestled down a quiet laneway in Sydney’s leafy Darlinghurst is the uber cool studio of Squillace Architects. A mid-sized, award winning practice who are going from strength to strength!

With a growing offices in both Sydney and Melbourne, Squillace have a fantastic mix of work from high-end hospitality with restaurants and plush hotels, stunning houses, boutique apartments around the likes of Balmain, Kirribilli and McMahons Point, luxury waterfront development Trinity Point at Lake Macquarie to Melbourne’s new chic high-rise apartments “Platinum”.

We just had to find out more about the person behind the name and how lucky were we when Vince Squillace kindly took some time out of his hectic schedule for a quick catch up with Kylie!

1. The question we always ask first… First job in the industry?

Vince: My first job was in my 1st year as an Architecture student during the holidays. It was actually a suggestion from my father’s friend to work with a small practice based in Middle Cove, a one man band and I worked for free in the beginning to gain some experience.

The projects were mostly residential, although there was some commercial. The architectural style was a very traditional, classical feel and it gave me a good start.  I worked there throughout university and was exposed to the whole spectrum, it was great experience starting out in the industry working alongside a Senior Architect.

After my studies I was offered a longer term opportunity with them but I decided to start my own business instead.

2. Advice for someone starting out?

Vince: Advice for Graduates starting out would be to firstly recognise what their strengths are and where they would like to take their career. Do they want to focus on a particular part of the professions such as concept design, or master planning or perhaps on the delivery/procurement side? If this is the case they may look for a position in a large Practice. Perhaps they want to have exposure to the whole process.

For someone who wants a Holistic role working from client intro to completion then aim for the practices of about 10-30 staff as the risk in working for companies larger than this is that  and you may get Pidgeon holed.

3. Key traits you look for when hiring staff?

  • Suitability for the role
  • Frequency of employment (If someone has moved around a lot, jumping from one place to the other I often see this as a red flag although I do appreciate that at times there can be valid reasons)
  • Design acumen, if someone has been working on interesting projects previously they should highlight these.
  • A clean and concise CV.  Inarticulate Cvs with too much going on are very off-putting when hiring
  • Computer skills (This would be higher up the list depending on the role, for example if I am looking for a Technician)
  • Interpersonal skills and Articulation. Inarticulate resumes often give me a good indication of how that person will present themselves. Oral presentation is very important. I firmly believe that creative writing and English skills are just as important as Art to Architecture Something that Architects do not always identify themselves with is sales and the need to sell your ideas to your clients, councils, neighbours, colleagues, etc…

4. Favourite food?

Vince: The first thing that comes to my mind which is quite cliché as I am Italian but I would have to say Pasta! And also Steak and eggs! (Perhaps not all together)

5. Least preferred style of Architecture

Vince: Heritage pastiche… I really like true heritage but big colonial mansions trying to replicate something from the 18th century is not to my taste.  Often we see this transcending into regional areas around NSW with various shopping centres etc…

6.Your idea of fun is:

Vince:  Socialising!

7. Industry gripes… got any?

Vince: Architects cannibalising each by reducing fees.  We don’t have the courage to stand up to our clients and be paid for our work like other professional services such as Engineers and so on.  We need to learn to say no.  Dragging the prices down brings the quality down and paves the way for mediocrity.

Also some project managers… those that tick and flick, although you do come across a good one from time to time!

8. In one word – how would people describe you?

Vince: Passionate

9. Your hang out of choice?

Vince: Hugos, Manly

10. Top buildings world-wide?

Vince: “Falling Water” by Frank Lloyd Wright.  It is a house built over a waterfall in rural Pennsylvania.  Also the Pantheon in Rome.

11. What do you think the market will do in the next 12 months?

Vince:  I think the real estate market will level out and the construction market will march on with numerous projects already underway. I feel the number of new projects will slow down but not considerably.

There has been an unsustainable increase and I think it will slow down to a sustainable level and keep us all busy

12. Finish this sentence… “If I had my time again I would…”

Vince: I would have a gap year after university and do some traveling!


Thank you Vince!

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