David McCrae, the 380th person I’ve met on my quest to have lunch with 500 strangers, knew from the age of five that he was going to be an architect.

David’s paternal grandmother would speak regularly of how she wished she could’ve been an architect, but had been denied admission to university due to her gender. David had a TV role model as well – Mike Brady, from The Brady Bunch, who was an architect. For good measure, David’s parents also took him along to open homes as a boy. So his choice of career was seemingly inevitable. 

After more than 35 years in the industry, David still feels stimulated by the challenge of helping home owners get maximum utility and enjoyment from their dwelling.

David did a lot of commercial work during the earlier phase of his career, but now, as co-principal of M+M Architects, his focus is on residential projects. His firm specialises in Class 2 buildings (apartments), a niche in which relatively few architects are qualified.

The general public has a few misconceptions about architecture, David explains.

One is that architects offer little value, because the untrained eye finds it hard to visualise just how much more functional and attractive a home could become when reimagined by an architect.

Another misconception is that only rich people can afford architects, because they’re all employed by big companies and work on prestige projects. In fact, architectural practices are often small firms that are hired by regular home owners to work on standard dwellings.