Putting your dream on paper – arqui2 architectsBy Alison Hojbjerg • Mar 12th, 2005 • Category: Building a property, Companies, Quinta Lifestyle
Gisella Terfehr and Stewart Seaton have, as Arqudois Lda., built up an excellent reputation for designing properties which are individual and yet practical; innovative and yet respecting the traditions of the Algarve.
Bulding a property in the Algarve
Having worked in the Algarve for 18 years, they have not only observed the changing face of architecture and design in this area, they have actually been working at the forefront of much of that change.
Stewart Seaton is clear about trends. “Architecture can be as affected by trends and fashion as any other area of modern life, particularly in the interior design & decoration side of the business: however architectural design is not just about the look of a building. Architects are not mere stylists. Architecture is about designing buildings which are fit for their purpose, the site and the context they will occupy. Function always comes first, the building must ‘”work’.”
“All of our clients are different, and so we have to deal with each of them in a unique way. Most are not looking to shock or draw attention to themselves as such, but usually they are keen that the design of the villa says something about themselves and their lifestyle”.
“We don’t have a “standard look” which we apply. The “style” will, evolve as part of an individually tailored design process. It may be “contemporary”, “farmhouse” or “Classical”, in style, but it will be unique”.
“We are responsible for some very modern villas, and we have a few more “in the pipeline”. There are certainly more clients expressing an interest in contemporary architecture and design”
“We have a few design “trademarks”, but it is perhaps the way we use light and space internally, and the way we combine traditional forms with contemporary detailing on the exterior which are the most recognisable”.
What do you feel strongly about?
“We feel strongly about the environment. We will definitely be encouraging all of our clients to incorporate alternative energy sources, energy saving measures, recycling of waste material, building materials from sustainable sources etc.”
Advice for anyone thinking of building a villa?
“The building will last for a lifetime or two. When you are thinking about what you want, try to think ahead, about the future, not just what you need now. Will the role of this building change over the years? How can we design for that change? Think about the environment. How will this building impact on it? How can that impact be lessened?”
“Architects fees will vary considerably, depending upon the level of services to be provided. However, you can expect to pay around 8% of the total value of the construction costs for a “full” service appointment, from initial concept development, through planning, construction to completion and handover of the project. As well as the Architectural consultancy this fee also includes the structural and services engineering.”
“Concept development on average takes about 4 – 6 weeks. Projects for the Local Authority planning process can take 6-8 weeks to prepare, and the Local Authority will take at least 3-4 months to process and approve them.”
“The client is, obviously, one of the main elements of the design process. Without the client there is no project. We like to take that one step further. For us the client is part of the design team. This means the client and the architect working together to create a unique piece of architecture. The client should expect to be led by the Architect, but they shouldn’t feel that they must take a back seat during the design process. This is after all their project, their house.”