Inspiring Designs – Allister Godfrey Architects Ltd.
Hot from his appearance at Henley Design Day, Allister Godfrey from Allister Godfrey Architects Ltd., Wantage shares with us his passion for design and talks to us about getting your grand design project underway.
Whether you are extending, renovating or building your ideal home from scratch, a lot can depend upon your relationship with your architect. Not only are you looking for somebody with a good eye for design, you also need somebody who listens to your needs and most importantly, is passionate about buildings.
Allister Godfrey Architects LTD was established in 2005 and has worked on bespoke buildings throughout England. For Allister himself though, his passion for building design started much, much earlier. “I distinctly remember, at the age of seven, telling my mother that I wanted to be an architect.” Allister told OX. “It was possibly whilst making a house out of Lego!” You know when somebody has a ‘favourite building’ that you are dealing with somebody who has a passion for design. And Allister certainly travelled a long way to see the love of his architectural life! “The Johnson Wax Headquarters by Frank Lloyd Wright in Racine, USA is a building especially close to my heart. A distinct influence on my career; I visited it in 1995 with a friend from university. We had driven all day across Wisconsin and arrived just too late for the last tour of the day. After a bit of 'we've come all the way from England' and fluttering of eyelids, a very kind lady took us on a tour of the building, and we weren't disappointed!”
Although Allister is clear on what he likes in a design, he still insists that in his own work, customer satisfaction is the mark of success. “We are proud of the majority of the projects we have worked on, but ultimately it is client satisfaction that defines our success with projects. We have a number of clients who have returned to us over the years, and we take pride in the enduring relationships we have with them. To be invited to dine with these clients in their new homes is a testament to that success.”
When Grand Designs took to our screens in 1999, it inspired many homeowners to consider less conventional designs. For Allister, this has seen his work take on some interesting projects with some great results.
“We designed a small extension to a Listed Farmhouse in Botley about eighteen months ago.
We were recommended by the Vale of White Horse District Council's Conservation Officer as a previous design by another practice was not deemed to be suitable. The site was particularly challenging as the extension was to replace a north facing conservatory. The only direct sunlight to this area of the site was either early morning or late evening. In order to capture as much natural light as possible we designed an inverted 'butterfly' roof to catch as much light as possible. The Conservation Officer was very pleased with the result and planning and listed building consent was obtained without fuss. The working drawings are complete and we are looking forward to the build getting underway sometime soon.”
But if you already have an idea for your project, is it still important to get a good architect? Allister has some good advice for those wanting to start on their own grand design. “This may seem like self-promotion, but your choice of Architect is crucial. Your Architect should be capable of listening to your needs and desires very carefully, and translating concepts into spaces that will not only delight, but meet the demands of your living patterns for yourself and your family. Needless to say you should look for Architects with design flair, be willing to listen and have a friendly approachable manner. But ultimately your Architect should have a proven track record and the requisite experience whether it is for a modest extension or the ultimate one-off 'Grand Design'.”