Architects / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Paul Buljevic, Managing Director at PBD Architects

Paul Buljevic is the Managing Director at PBD Architects, a multi-disciplined design practice working on residential, commercial and interior projects all over Sydney.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

I am currently the sole director at PBD Architects and have been for approximately 11 years. Our business is design focused with an ethos structured upon a harmonious balance between the functional and the beautiful.

As a child I wanted to be a cartoonist! My passion for drawing throughout school evolved into the built environment and I looked for a way in which I could hone these skills into a career.

I was a loyal employee and didn’t move around much in my early days following university. I absorbed information and what I didn’t know I would make up in my own time. Such was my desire to succeed, learn and become a capable architect.

I was lucky enough to have an employer/mentor who threw me in the deep end and provided me with the opportunity to gain valuable experience early in my career, taking projects through from inception to completion. 

2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

It is spread across design review sessions with other team members, sketching design for both new and potential projects and responding to emails! I like to push exercise and healthy eating. If I’m not moving around too much, I try not to in-take too much!

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine? 

To a degree yes, although it is more challenging when looking to collaborate at a design concept level with other staff members.

I have set up a working live camera in my home office to enable real time sketching to take place with clients and staff. As a design practice we enjoy bouncing off ideas from one another and there is no doubt architects and designers best do this at a round table at the back of the office surrounded by tracing paper.

I try to go for a run to the beach most days to break the routine and get myself off the office chair!

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal? 

It’s very important although I’m not sure if there has ever been a perfect balance. I don’t treat my work as a grind and I’m not looking at the clock all day waiting for the day to end.

In fact, it’s the opposite but I am relatively time poor. It really is a passion and this tends to roll partially into the life component  of the work-life balance.

In saying this, I don’t work weekends anymore (or at least not to the level when I first started the practice) as I do believe we need to let our minds rest.

5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life? 

Working from home on the odd occasion (COVID forced or otherwise) is a new habit.

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

Our own quarterly PBD Newsletter is definitely worth a read! It keeps everyone up to date with new projects, those under construction and general thoughts about the state of the industry.

This quarter our social platform has been focusing on our first venture into Queensland with a 36-storey residential tower between the Surfers and Broadbeach – an amazing project made up of 2 apartments per floor or single level apartments and a huge amenity focus.

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

Absolutely, baking paper! I use it as tracing paper, and I think we clear out most shelves in the local supermarket. I’m constantly sketching and tracing over schemes in the office. Some staff refer to these sessions as PB baking. 

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?   

Mark Wahlberg. I have heard of his crazy routine waking up in the middle of the night to start the day and train, but from what I have read he spends quality time with family, with himself at a spiritual level, and obviously has time to prosper in his career ambitions.

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

Choose a profession that doesn’t feel like a grind as this will automatically shift the balance in your favour!

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.