Variety is the spice of life for firm
Paul Crawford is a principal of Hamilton boutique architectural design practice Architecto. It’s a small team with Paul and his wife at the helm. The company grew from designing a series of renovations for family and friends and over a relatively short period of time has moved to concentrate on designing high-end homes, undertaking design work for a number of community schools, child-care centres and upgrade work for Fire & Emergency NZ.
Paul enjoys the variety of projects Architecto undertakes. He is an NZIA registered architect and though originally from the UK, completed his education in New Zealand. Over the past 16 years Paul has worked in the UK, UAE and NZ.
“I had the opportunity to work in Dubai for seven years. Just an amazing experience in terms of the scale and approach to architecture.”A stunning new build in Horotiu is just about to get underway and Paul says the journey of designing the home went very well.
“We did our due diligence to understand what our clients most wanted to see achieved in the design. They came with many ideas, and clippings from magazines pointing to some elements they were attracted to,” Paul says.Progressing through the concept stage took a relatively short period of time with that process completed by July.
“At this point, because of the nature of the project we recommended getting a QS involved for budget allocation and surety of costings throughout. That proved a good decision.”The clients had a builder already allocated which meant Paul could also consult with him to get pricing really nailed down.
The couple had a section, down a long driveway in the settlement north of Hamilton. That journey to the house was a factor Paul took into play with the design, as he explains.“Once you go down the long driveway you rise up to the building platform and we wanted to create a sense of anticipation and unknown in what you first saw of the home and what lay within it and beyond.”
A breeze-way entrance brings the wonderful views from the other side right into play and this was deliberately done to achieve that drama and outlook. That continuous view of beyond really celebrates the exceptional situation of the home. Once inside the home turning into the central living, kitchen and dining area a feature fireplace takes centre stage.
The owners wanted the outdoor spaces to be prominent in the design of the home and there are a lot of these spaces making the home actually larger than its square metre floorplan. Outside the home will be clad in dark stained vertical timber and mortarless European-style brick.
“With these bricks all you see is the shadow gaps so it’s a very clean line created.” Paul says he has three similar high-end residential projects in rural Waikato settlements and on the home front a new purpose designed office space will be ready for the company to move into mid next year.
Paul sees the team growing in the new year with a variety of exiting new commissions already in place as they expand further into commercial and larger mixed use projects. Asked to comment on what underpins his commitment toward the art and profession of architecture Paul says its really about constantly problem-solving to get the best solution for clients.
“Some clients don’t have a clear picture of what they want so there’s a huge level of trust given to you to interpret what they want. They can’t tell you directly so you have to initially work up designs from a sense of what is important to them. I enjoy that challenge.”
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