Danny Campbell (Bachelor of Architecture, 2012)

Job Title:

Founder of HOKO Design


Architecture (BArch)


HOKO Design
Images Courtesy of HOKO Design

HOKO Design


Danny Campbell

Interview originally produced for FLOW issue 22

What made you decide to study Architecture at GSA?
I grew up in Helensburgh, not far from Hill House, so Mackintosh was always nearby and discussed at school. I had offers from Strathclyde and the GSA but opted for the GSA to test my design skills. I studied for my Part 2 in Leicester but have a distinct pride in my GSA qualification

What were the most important things you learned on the programme?
The crit process was really valuable. It is the nightmare scenario for anyone with imposter syndrome – you stand there in front of your peers and tutors with work that has been changed up until the night before, sometimes hours before, but it teaches you how to take rejection, tackle opposing opinions and sell your ideas.

What is HOKO design and why did you decide to set it up?
HOKO Design is an architecture practice providing services to residential homeowners for extensions, renovations and new builds. We have reinvented the typical architecture practice model to focus on the client journey and by doing so have seen a tenfold increase in productivity – reaching 50 clients in 6 months – and some fantastic designs. I set it up in 2016 because I felt there was an opportunity to provide families, the elderly and individuals with a level of service they currently couldn’t receive in an industry that is still shrouded in mystery.

What has been the reaction to the work you do?
We’ve had a 100% satisfaction rate, we have yet to receive a planning refusal and we are on track to take a number of new jobs to site in the coming months. The predominant praise we are receiving is around the communication. Our website dashboard platform allows clients to view every task we undertake on their project with a date stamp. They can also view drawings, pay invoices and ask questions.

What advice would you give a graduate looking to set up a business?
There are three things to consider before starting a business and these aren’t things you can easily learn. Do you take no for an answer easily? You’ll need serious determination to get through the initial learning curve and faith in your business idea. Are you self-motivated? If you need pushing to complete tasks, then starting a business is not for you. You’ll have a track record of this quality if it’s in you – fortunately this comes hand in hand with being a GSA student. Lastly, what is your purpose? Is there something you feel so passionately about that you would do it for free? Once you apply your purpose to a business problem, you’ll be able to manage the learning curve and rejections.