MEET THE MD Guy Holl­away

Kent Life - - Business Life - WORDS: PHO­TOS: Manu Palomeque

The epony­mous owner of Guy Holl­away Ar­chi­tects on a Lon­don-Kent balance, one-off

projects and the im­por­tance of fam­ily time


I live with my part­ner Sarah and our two chil­dren, Milly 14 and Freya 12, near Can­ter­bury, in a beau­ti­ful 18th-cen­tury cot­tage. We have lived here for nearly 10 years and have re­cently trans­formed and ex­tended it into a con­tem­po­rary 21stcen­tury fam­ily home.


I grad­u­ated from the Uni­ver­sity of Brighton in 1997 in the depth of a re­ces­sion when Nigel Thorpe of­fered me my first job at what was then Cheney Thorpe Ar­chi­tects. At that time he couldn’t af­ford to pay me, but that didn’t mat­ter as it was the start I needed. Years later I would go on to be Nigel’s busi­ness part­ner and when he re­tired in 2008, hav­ing handed over the reigns, I be­came the sole owner of the prac­tice and re­named it Guy Holl­away Ar­chi­tects.

HOW HAS IT CHANGED? Our head of­fice is based in Hythe and about eight years ago we opened a stu­dio in Lon­don which has grown from two to 17 peo­ple. Due to its ex­pan­sion, par­tic­u­larly in the last year, we will need to move to new of­fices next year. We opened in Lon­don be­cause we thought it would change our ge­og­ra­phy and open up op­por­tu­ni­ties in the cap­i­tal and beyond, which it has, but to our sur­prise it also in­creased op­por­tu­ni­ties in Kent. Lon­don clients want to in­vest in Kent but meet us in Lon­don in the knowl­edge that we have a strong pres­ence in Kent. We have been re­ally thrilled to see sev­eral of our most ex­cit­ing projects for Kent com­pleted or de­velop on site over the last year: a new cin­ema com­plex in the cen­tre of Ash­ford at El­wick Place, The Cu­ri­ous Brew­ery for the UK’s lead­ing English wine maker, Chapel Down, also in Ash­ford, the world’s first mul­ti­storey skatepark in Folke­stone, and both Slat­ters Ho­tel and stu­dent ac­com­mo­da­tion Pala­mon Court in Can­ter­bury.

BUSI­NESS PHI­LOS­O­PHY? We strive for the high­est qual­ity of de­sign within any given bud­get and we have a real pas­sion for Kent and de­sign­ing con­tem­po­rary ar­chi­tec­ture which can be both en­joyed and con­trib­ute pos­i­tively to the area, such as our award-win­ning Rock­salt restau­rant, which sits in the heart of Folke­stone’s Har­bour. While as a prac­tice we work on large-scale projects, we also re­ally en­joy de­sign­ing one-off be­spoke houses where our clients are as pas­sion­ate as us. These projects do not nec­es­sar­ily have large bud­gets, such as Pob­ble House on Dun­geness Beach, which has been pub­lished glob­ally, used for fash­ion shoots and also acts as a hol­i­day let and a sec­ond home for the own­ers.


If you are pas­sion­ate and cre­ative then ar­chi­tec­ture can be an in­cred­i­bly re­ward­ing ca­reer. It takes longer to be­come an ar­chi­tect than it does a

doc­tor, so make sure this is the right ca­reer for you.


I see my­self con­tin­u­ing to cre­ate the high­est-qual­ity pub­lic build­ings for Kent, the county I grew up in and love, while at the same time in­creas­ing our pres­ence in in Lon­don, and de­vel­op­ing our na­tional and in­ter­na­tional rep­u­ta­tion. I am feel­ing very am­bi­tious as the prac­tice grows in strength, so I re­ally don’t see my­self slow­ing down any time soon!


With great dif­fi­culty! I’m al­ways on the go but I’m very lucky to have cho­sen a ca­reer that I love – it’s highly cre­ative which, for me, acts as a tonic to life’s daily stresses. My kids also help me to re­lax – I’m a very ac­tive dad and I love watch­ing them play sport and drama. We of­ten go on long cy­cle rides and my two girls proved to be great mo­ti­va­tors in train­ing for my re­cent char­ity cy­cle ride, which took me from Lon­don to Cannes in six days. It was a killer jour­ney, not re­lax­ing at all! We love to ski as a fam­ily and each year we aim to hit the slopes at least once, pro­vid­ing some un­di­vided time to­gether.


A yo­ghurt along­side thoughts of how to make the day mean­ing­ful.


Guy Holl­away Ar­chi­tects, The Tramway Sta­bles, Ram­part Road, Hythe CT21 5BG

01303 260 515 www.guy­holl­

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