Showcases / The value of working with an architect

SINCE the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, the role our homes play in our lives has never been so important. 

These spaces have had to serve as makeshift workplaces, schools, gyms, pubs, places of worship and holiday destinations whilst simultaneously functioning as the humble dwelling…it’s primary function at the end of the day!

The time we spend at home has been put under a microscope and has shone a spotlight onto how we use and interact with these spaces, and the value we now put on them.  It’s safe to say the role of the ‘home’ and its function has changed…perhaps forever!

As an upshot, the members of the Shetland Architectural Society are seeing a rapid increase in enquiries from those looking at modifying existing dwellings; converting old/derelict spaces and structures; building new spaces to live in; as well as those re-locating to the isles to live and work, seeking a new place to call ‘home.’

Investment into property is one of the most expensive decisions you will ever make.  Surely, it is then imperative that the spaces created are designed and tailored specifically to your needs.

As architects, we have gone through a rigorous seven-year professional training course (the longest in the industry) to develop our critical thinking, creative and design skills. The result is that architects ensure that any building or design is appropriate for its site, that it is grounded in its place and respects its wider context.  Designs may include architectural statements or intent; however, this is always in response to the landscape setting to create a timeless and lasting design.

Architects bring a value toolkit to each proposal and help establish what value means to you and where you want to put this within your project.  Value can take many shapes from design to time, labour, cost, materials, energy performance and building maintenance.  We interpret your ideas creatively and manage the project professionally, providing value for money and peace of mind, along with a result that will exceed your expectations.

Using Shetland based architects further enhances this, as our local knowledge and expertise are invaluable in streamlining the building process from concept to completion.  When using a local architect, you are employing someone who understands the landscape and any site-specific issues; can carry out site inspections throughout the construction and building phase; and have established working relationships with the contractors carrying out the work.  It is these existing local connections which add further value to the success of a project.

The following client testimonials hopefully echo and highlight the advantages of hiring and working with an architect:

Burnside, Levenwick – Proposed Extension by Richard Gibson Architects Ltd

Burnside, Levenwick: “We were keen to ensure that the extension to our house was well designed, both structurally and aesthetically.  The team at Richard Gibson Architects understood our wish to extend the property in a sympathetic fashion.  Their excellent knowledge and design ideas have enabled us to do this and achieve a modern aesthetic.

Especially since we were keen to preserve the form and feel of the original croft building.  

Another benefit of using an architect was peace of mind, especially in the construction process where having an independent third party with which to discuss problems that inevitably come up as the build gets underway.  Their experience working in local conditions, what works and doesn’t work on Shetland were invaluable in helping positively guide our choices.” 

North Park Villa, Scalloway – Proposed Extension by PJP Architects LLP

North Park Villa, Scalloway: “Building in a conservation area, on a sloped site and with difficult access presented a challenge. We decided that to make the most of the site and to navigate the complexities of building within a conservation area, we needed the expertise and knowledge of an architect. As this would probably be our only build, and as building is a significant expense, it made sense to hire an architect who can carefully plan and intelligently design our building so that we got the best house possible. 

At the start of the process, we had a fixed idea of what we wanted, but after really taking the time to understand what is important to us as a family and how we wanted to live our architect thoughtfully and sensitively challenged our thinking by presenting ideas that were radically different but were much better suited to our needs and were beyond what we thought possible.  They had a deep understanding of design and a real pragmatism and understood how to get the most out of our site, while also meeting the needs of our family, which meant we ended up with a beautiful house that exceeded our expectations and met all our family’s needs.  Due to their expertise in design and knowledge of planning, we were able to achieve our aim of designing a modern extension that referenced the original house and adds to the character of the conservation area.”

Banks Broo, Weisdale – New House by Malcolmson Architects

Banks Broo, Weisdale: “As ours was a difficult and challenging site we decided we would need an architects help to develop it. After site visits, meetings and listening carefully to us, Malcolmson Architects came up with a house design which fitted the site and suited our needs perfectly. During construction they were always available to help with any minor problems and having just moved in we are delighted with the design they achieved.”

Whether you are looking for tradition or innovation, bold or understated, an architect can lift your project out of the ordinary.  We work with and interpret your ideas to create spaces that will work best for those who use them.  Many people can offer to alter or design your building; however, an architect ensures that the project’s full potential is maximised with imagination and style, through collaborative working with every client.