We spoke to Kate Cooper of Absolute Architecture about trends that will shape our homes and the way we use them going forward…
There can have been very few times in modern history when we have been forced to spend so much time in our homes. As a result of this, and the impact that working from home has had, many of us want to change the way we use the space we have to reflect the way our lives and our families now work.
There are so many things to think about when planning a home project, from the environmental aspects of future living to maximising the space we have – what is foremost in your work schedule at the moment?
The majority of our work has been creating beautiful designs for sustainable new build homes, often as replacements for existing country houses. We’re working on extension and renovation projects for some fantastic period listed buildings and we’re also completing contemporary transformations of some 60’s and 70’s ugly ducklings! Lots of people are moving from cities in search of a more balanced country lifestyle and lots of people are re-evaluating what home means to them and how they can combine new live/work arrangements.
What has been your biggest challenge over the last year and what has been the thing that has given you most satisfaction?
There have certainly been challenges but a positive outcome is an increasing emphasis on quality of life and connection with the outdoors, which are great ingredients for fantastic projects and quality design. We’ve always embraced technology and our 3d modelling and virtual reality design tools have been really effective at times when site visits have been difficult. We’ve also had to employ our best project management skills to counteract shortages in supplies of building materials. What gives the team and I the most satisfaction is being able to enhance the environmental credentials of a design in clever ways. We are members of the Passivhaus Trust as well as AECB (Association for Environment Conscious Building) and proudly include these principals in our designs.
And finally what would you say to someone with a home project in mind?
Think carefully about your brief on an emotional and practical level and seriously consider what sort of budget you are comfortable with. The more information you provide an architect, the more focussed they can be and you really won’t stifle creativity. If you are thinking of a home project in the next two years, start now. Projects can easily be 12 months in preparation and a further 6 months or more on site. The residential construction industry is incredibly busy and it takes time to work through planning constraints and to find a great builder. Spend the time preparing as much detail as you can with your architect before the build. A comprehensive set of designs and specifications isn’t cheap but it’s a hugely sensible investment – translating to better design, a stress free build on site and control over costs.
For help with you next project visit www.absolute-architecture.com for more information.