Designing Dreams: An Exclusive Interview with our partner architects Bowker Sadler

Designing Dreams: An Exclusive Interview with our partner architects Bowker Sadler Thumbnail

At Edgefold Homes we pride ourselves on creating uniquely designed homes in perfectly unique locations. Taking into consideration the surroundings and ensuring they become part of the local community.

This wouldn’t be possible without working with fantastic partners who help make it happen. We recently caught up with our architect of Orchard Gardens, Bowker Sadler and their Director Paul Jeffrey to find out more about the process behind creating the perfect family homes.

Image of Paul Jeffrey

Lovely to meet you Paul, so let’s jump right in, how long have you worked at Bowker Sadler?

Now you might not believe this but I’ve been at Bowker Sadler for 34 years! I started right at the bottom and worked very hard and I’m proud to say I now own half of the company.

At the beginning there were only six of us in the business and we’ve now grown and expanded to 22 employees, just in time to celebrate our 40 years of business this year. Which we are planning to celebrate soon.

So, can you talk us through your journey in architecture?

Yeh, so I studied at Huddersfield Polytechnic and gained experience at Tameside Metropolitan Council during my first year out within a practice. Which was great as they were working on a lot of adaptation projects for houses within the area to make them more accessible and I gained valuable site experience from this.

Following this and after another two years back at college I spent a year at AHR Architects which is a very well-known business across the world based in Manchester, working toward the part two of my qualification. Then I went on to do a year at EGS Design, also in Manchester.

Following this I joined Bowker Sadler and I’ve been here ever since.

Have you received any notable achievements or awards related to your architectural work?

I’m delighted to say that there are quite a few awards we have received over the years, I’ve jotted down a few that really mean a lot to myself and the business including:

A notable one for myself, is that I designed Willow Wood Hospice in 2002, which was an interesting scheme planned on a  pure curve and was opened by royalty at the time. It was great to work on this project as it is a fantastic asset for the local community there.

Working with Edgefold Homes on multiple projects has been great. A growing family business with a rich heritage in the construction industry and I’m really enjoying working with the team.

What inspires you and how does that impact your designs?

So, the majority of my work is residential so one of the things that helps me in the design process is thinking about how we can transform an area, create good placemaking and bring together a community.

This comes from understanding the local area, looking at how we can make a difference to people’s lives, what matters to them and responding to the way in which people live today.

It’s important to build connectivity with existing local communities, while working within the design criteria of the granted planning permission.

I also like to take inspiration from other amazing architects in the industry, Alison Brooks, Richard Murphy, Peter Barber are all great examples of architects working within the residential space. I do like to think we are a creative Practice with original ideas, but it’s good to draw inspiration from others and the buildings that surround us.

We also work closely with our clients to understand their target market and work within cost constraints to provide high quality designs that hit the brief.

How do you approach the creative process of designing a building or space?

Well firstly we meet with the client and discuss their brief, costs and parameters we can work between, at the end of the day we want our customers to come out with something they’re happy with.

Good designs don’t always have to be expensive, we ensure we fully understand the task in hand before we start the creative process of designing a building or space.

We also need to analyse the site, the opportunities and constraints it offers and any essential characteristics that are needed within the project for planning purposes or to fit in with other local architecture.

We want to ensure that the new site works well with its surroundings, therefore we look to utilise what’s there and use it as focal points of the build, e.g is there a nice view from one angle and to be mindful of the existing buildings.

We also look into the history of the site, what the land was previously used for and if we can incorporate this history into the designs. All of this research and development is undertaken before we start the process of designing the building or developments as it can bring many ideas to light and help guide the design.

All new buildings have to respond to climate change and have great environmental credentials, so this is another area we focus on in the emerging designs.

You designed Edgefold Homes, Orchard Gardens Development, what inspired you for these unique one of a kind family homes?

Well, this site was a previously developed site in the green belt, which meant there were tight planning constraints on the land, plus as the development bordered two parish councils we wanted to consult with both to ensure everyone was happy with the plans.

The local village of Warburton has a strong architectural identity, so we used some of their notable buildings to draw inspiration from, including the intricate brick patterns, roof pitches and heights of the buildings. To give the Orchard Gardens development a hint of the Warburton identity.

We looked at the history of the area and drew inspiration from the village hamlets of the past, with a cluster of buildings looking out onto a small courtyard. So we took this idea and used it in a contemporary way to create the layout of Orchard Gardens as you can see on the development plan.

Internally we wanted to create open plan spaces, for families to interact with the gardens and the outdoors, while designing the perfect family homes and entertaining spaces.

We worked hard alongside the team at Edgefold Homes, to create the finished design for Orchard Gardens and I’m delighted to say it was received very well by the local planning department and prospective buyers.

Orchard Gardens is surrounded by stunning countryside, did you use the local nature to inspire your designs?

Yes, we saw the beauty of the surrounding countryside and farmland and ensured that all the houses on the development had great views. We left the wildflower meadow towards the back of the development on purpose, for the views, but also to encourage local wildlife to the areas.

There are fabulous views from everywhere you look at Orchard Gardens and we wanted to ensure we utilised this as much as possible.

It’s been great working with Edgefold Homes on the Orchard Gardens developments and I’m delighted to see the new residents enjoying their homes and surroundings. We’re delighted to be working again with Edgefold Homes on their upcoming development and can’t wait to share the plans.

To find out more about Bowker Sadler Architects, visit their website and to discover Orchard Gardens for yourself take a look at our website, Orchard Gardens, or come down and see for yourself, just contact our team to book an appointment.