Sergison Bates, the architect firm I have appointed, comprise Jonathan Sergison (far right) and Stephen Bates (near right). Both are in their forties – which makes them a young practice – based in London, with experience in affordable housing. I like the fact they are not cynical about designing volume housing: they are excited, and want to explore what can be done.
Their approach is quiet and sincere, with an emphasis on the materials that buildings are made from, and how they are put together. Like me, they have never tackled a scheme like Aldershot before.
Their brief is that potential buyers have to be able to see the difference that their architectural skill has made in the the way, for instance, light enters a room, or the space you have in the hall to welcome guests, or the thick, solid feel of the first floor.
Costs must be kept to a minimum. The project is pointless if we lose money: the volume housebuilders will just laugh at us. It is only if we make a profit – and that means customers loving what we’ve done and buying it— that anyone is going to sit up and take notice. This is not about “look at me” or one-offs. This is offering benefits for everyone.