Designing A Sustainable Future With Digital

Recently completing a Masters in Sustainable Architecture, C4DI member Matthew Riley is on a mission to fly the flag for digital technology in his industry, investing in the latest VR and BIM software to stay ahead of the curve.

The entrepreneur received recognition at last week's inaugural Hull and East Yorkshire People in Business Awards as a  runner up Startup Entrepreneur of the Year and a finalist in the Grit category for starting a business during his course. 

We caught up with Matt to find out more about his aspirations and his inspiring startup story.

Hey Matt, congratulations on your success at this year's HEYPIBA awards!

Matt Riley: Thank you - it's really exciting! I remember when I first found that I was shortlisted, I couldn't quite believe it. It was the morning after I'd just pulled an all-nighter for a uni deadline - the news made all the hard work worth it. 

The event itself was excellent and it was a great way to look back and finally celebrate completing my Masters course. 

What led you to study Sustainable Architecture?

Matt: Well, I started off doing a four-year apprenticeship before deciding to study architecture full time at Leeds Metropolitan University. After graduating, I moved down south for three years to work for a treehouse design and build company. Yes, that's as cool as it sounds and I designed some fun structures, including hobbit houses and yoga studios. 

I decided that I wanted to pursue architecture further and started my masters at the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT), based in Wales. I chose CAT because it specialises in sustainable architecture, something I'm really passionate about. 

What motivated you to join C4DI?

Matt: C4DI started out as a place where I could work away from home on my Masters and also start as a Sole Trader, but it's grown into so much more than that. 

I never expected the incredible support I've received, and work has flooded in. I got so busy during my course that I considered leaving CAT and focusing all my energy into my business, but I'm so glad I stuck it out. 

Studio Six Ltd was set up at the end of 2018 and has blossomed from there. It's the amalgamation of everything I've been working on; we design houses, extensions, tree houses and even products - all with sustainability in mind. 

Now you've completed your course, and you can concentrate your full attention to your business, what's next for Studio Six?

Matt: I've got high aspirations and want to build a company that is known for high quality, beautiful places for people to live and work. I want to put Hull back on the map in terms of architecture. We used to be well known for good design firms, but a lot of Hull's major projects are now outsourced to firms in Leeds and Manchester. 

Wouldn't it be great if Hull architects designed our city and Hull was the place to be for beautiful, sustainable design?

You're based at the Centre for Digital Innovation, but how does digital tie in with Studio Six?

Alongside sustainability, I am also entwining a lot of digital innovation in my work. 

Being at C4DI has given me an insight into the technology that is transforming the construction industry - BIM, VR, AR etc. 

I want to help make this technology more user-friendly, so more people in the industry can use it to improve standards, reduce costs and our impact on the environment.  

Here is an example of Matt's use of technology in his work. Simply scan the barcode with a smartphone camera. 

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Find out more on the Studio Six website. Fancy having your own startup story? Contact for a guided tour of our building and to learn more about opportunities at C4DI.