Friday Five with a 2020 Architect
This week’s Friday Five we do a Q&A with 2020’s Senior Technician Gareth Crooks. We ask Gareth to divulge ideas and inspiration behind his designs at 2020 Architects.
I have been very lucky in working for 2020 and worked on a number of projects over the past year and a half, but my favourite projects to date have been a Georgian House in Broughshane, a split-level home built into the side of a hill on the Shore Road, Newtownabbey and a project I am currently working on which will be located in Aughafatten just outside Ballymena.
The Georgian house came up with a few challenging moments during the construction phase from on-site client design changes/additions to co-ordinating the design team. The Shore Road project, which is due to start on-site in a month’s time was a difficult project as it was a split-level design with two thirds of the house built into a steep slope. We as a design team had to ensure that was specified and design could be achieved on-site with the constraints that would be met by the contractor. I am currently working on a house located just outside Ballymena which has a number of external finishes which will be brought into the house producing an outside/inside feeling as the client wants to be able to connect with the entire house.
Corten steel facades is a building material I absolutely love. 2020 Architects have a number of projects in the planning stage that have implemented this material design; the texture and colour it produces I feel really add a wow factor to the designs from 2020.
Understanding your budget from day one; it’s very easy to get carried away with designs and make homes bigger and bigger but it’s our job to ensure that when you reach construction phase that what you want is what you can actually afford. Naturally, clients get really excited about their self-build project with a temptation to add more and more – but it’s our job to ensure they also build within budget. Ultimately, we have to make compromises.
One of the first questions I ask clients when I meet them for the first time is what their budget is? From the onset, I work to achieve this budget. Understanding this element, I can move forward with questions about how they want to make their homes as thermally efficient as possible and not compromise the design. Simple details such as increasing a cavity width from 150mm to 200mm can add quite a cost to the overall build, these details are what I like to work with to ensure the overall design is not compromised.
Working with the lead architects in 2020 has been an incredible inspiration to me. It’s great to see their designs come to fruition through my work on the technical end of the spectrum. I draw further inspiration from other technicians and designers from the likes of Richard Murphy Architects & Todd Saunders Architecture who have published some of their detailing in Architecture & Structures Magazines. I enjoy studying and learning from these details and understanding how buildings are pieced together to make them affordable and thermally efficient. This is what makes our projects so unique and enjoyable.