She specialises in designing extensions, rebuilds and redesign of houses in Chandler’s Ford.
An example of an architect’s trade is a local 1950s bungalow on a large site and set back from the road. The owners wanted a second storey but checks showed that the foundations and the brickwork were too weak to bear the additional weight. A two storey extension, linked to the house by a corridor was proposed.
Instead of whitewashed brick, like the original house, the extension is clad in cedar wood which is a lovely orange-brown colour but will weather to grey-brown. The windows are sited so that the neighbour is not overlooked. A small covered balcony off the master bedroom catches the morning sun. The linking corridor is large and glass walled to give a feeling of light and space. It makes moving around the house easier.
Being an architect
Architects are like jugglers; they have to keep many plates spinning. Foremost, they must come up with a design to satisfy the client, to be aesthetically pleasing, to fall within the budget and to be functional. The proposed build must meet any planning regulations. In some places the design can be modern and avant garde in other places it is more appropriate to fit in with the surrounding traditional buildings.
An architect has to point out to her client that some of the clients desires are not practical or just plain stupid (although the architect will say it more diplomatically.) Certain plans mean that some rooms do not get enough light. Having interior steps or level changes detract from comfortable living. Doors and stairs must be wide enough and stairs not have too steep a pitch.
Circulation inside a building is important. This was pointed out to me when I was touring the Tokapi Palace in Istanbul. We were being shown the Harem and the dining room where the Sultan could have a snack and a drink et cetera with the ladies of his choice. We were envying the Sultan his lifestyle when an American tourist declared loudly, “Gee, ain’t that just stupid, having the dining room so far from the kitchens.”
Ms Lally described some of her other projects in Chandler’s Ford. One had low window sills so that a person in a wheelchair could see the view easily. Another had large 7 metre wide folding windows front and back which opened onto the gardens. The transition to outdoors was softened by a veranda to combat the rain. Architects often have simple ideas which make a lot of difference to a building.
Architects sometimes make mistakes but not often. Enjoy the mistakes on this link. I am not sure they are the fault of an architect or even genuine but funny none the less. Computer models help demonstrate fully to the client what he will get. Models can incorporate the effects of wind and flood and show the distribution of light. They will calculate the loads and bending moments on beams. How much weight can you put on a bedroom floor? A question a friend of mine had to consider when she took delivery of 2000 newly published books.
One building I thought could be easily improved is the Astrodome in Houston, Texas. It is a remarkable circular covered sport stadium where the Houston Astros played baseball. After a game one night, I emerged into the large surrounding car park. Where was my car? Everywhere looked the same, there was nothing to give a sense of direction.
If you can find it, the Astros provide a car finding service for idiots like me. You sit in a bus and, after everyone has gone, they drive you around all the unclaimed cars until you see one like yours. They really need something like a Qibla, the arrow pointing towards Mecca, to provide a sense of direction. In Houston it would have to point towards the nearest McDonalds but any reference point would help.
Several notable building have a “death ray”. They focus the sun’s rays to a point where cars and tarmac melt. The Walkie-Talkie building (20 Fenchurch Street) is one of them though I hear that the roof garden there is remarkable and is open to the public.
Rarely, buildings fall over. This happened to a block of flats in China. Whose fault was it? Architect, builder or manager; certainly not the Communist party commissar. It is usually the most junior who gets the blame.
A good building
Buildings, be they garden sheds, houses, shops, offices or palaces should make you feel good when you approach them and comfortable when you are inside them. Some buildings, designed to impress make you feel oppressed, small, claustrophobic and insignificant.
Take the concrete monsters on London’s South Bank; what is good about them? The view down the Thames towards St Paul’s with your back to the concrete concert hall and theatres; that is the best of them.
Why use an architect?
If you need extensive changes to your house or are building a new one – an architect’s thoughts and ideas will repay his or her fee many times over. I have found them full of ideas, many of them cost saving. A good architect thinks about the people who will use a building as much as about the building itself.
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