You have a build­ing project in mind? Don’t skimp. In­vest in a de­cent ar­chi­tect, says An­gela Per­tusini, and you won’t re­gret it

The Daily Telegraph - Property - - Front Page -

We all have an idea of what an ar­chi­tect does and — per­haps more wor­ry­ingly — an im­age of what an ar­chi­tect is like. He (it will al­most al­ways be a he) is ur­ban, ef­fort­lessly mod­ish, wears a com­bi­na­tion of Ger­manic spec­ta­cles, tex­tured black clothes and a pained ex­pres­sion and knows ab­so­lutely noth­ing about bud­gets. He will de­sign a home that prom­ises to el­e­vate you to the high plateau of cool that he oc­cu­pies him­self, but that you will not be able to af­ford. Even if you can af­ford it, will a boldly in­di­vid­ual house be too, well, bold and in­di­vid­ual to sell, should you ever de­cide to move?

So the ques­tion many peo­ple will ask is: do I need an ar­chi­tect? I would say un­doubt­edly yes, but I tend to visit projects where the de­sign has gone ex­tremely well. More im­por­tantly, the ar­chi­tect will be ask­ing: does he need you? Any­thing short of a com­plete new­build or a rad­i­cal re­work­ing and the chances are that many will walk away. The temp­ta­tion of work­ing for a ma­jor pub­lic body, large com­pany or un­usu­ally mon­eyed arts foun­da­tion where bud­gets are more fluid and the scale is more heroic, means that do­mes­tic ar­chi­tec­ture can be re­garded as more trou­ble than it is worth.

But get the re­la­tion­ship right, choose an ar­chi­tect with whom you feel you can have a mean­ing­ful work­ing re­la­tion­ship, who is in­ter­ested in your ideas and who un­der­stands your needs as much as their own aes­thetic, and the re­sults can be fab­u­lous, even life-en­hanc­ing. The fol­low­ing list at­tempts to point the way to­wards some of the most ex­cit­ing and creative ar­chi­tects still ac­cept­ing res­i­den­tial com­mis­sions.

Clock­wise, from bot­tom left: Bat­tery Hill, Sal­combe, (Stan Bolt); Dirk Cove (Niall McLaugh­lin); The Dairy House (SCDLP); Wa­ter Tower by day and by night (Loyn & Co)

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