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Value of an Architect

Architects bring value to projects large and small. Our colleagues in RIBA and RIAI have advice on working with an architect and RSUA has produced this guide to understanding the value of an architect.

Why employ an Architect?

Changing the design of your home, whether building a new one from scratch, adding an extension or adapting existing space is probably the single biggest investment you will make in your home. An architect is well placed to guide you through this journey from the very outset.

Your home contributes greatly to your overall quality of life and is one of your your most valuable assets.   Undertaking a building project for your home is a personal and financial investment which deserves proper consideration along with the input and support of professional advice that an architect is best placed to offer.


How can an architect help you?

Guidance

An architect can support you throughout the building process from initial concept design to completion of your project.   An architect will take time to understand you and your family’s needs and explore your options with you.  An architect will work with you to provide invaluable guidance at each project stage; whether that is liaising with the planners or contractor on your behalf or helping to source the most appropriate fittings for your home.

Inspiration

An architect will look at all aspects of your home and how you live – often coming up with ideas you may never have considered.  Architects consider your requirements in the context of your house and in the light of your family routine.  They can visualise and explore potential design options with you at an early stage of the project to ensure the best outcome for your home.

Experience

Architects undergo extensive training and continuing professional development throughout their career to ensure they are best placed to meet the complex demands of a building project. We plan for a smooth building process and work with consultants and contractors to quickly resolve issues on your behalf when they arise on site.

Value

Employing an architect is a rewarding investment.  An architect can add value to your home through thoughtful insightful design.  Architects are also well placed to ensure expensive mistakes are avoided at the design stage and that any additional costs that may arise are kept to a minimum on site.

How can I find a registered Architect in my area?

Click here to find an architect in your area.

The Architect’s Guide to Social Media

Proposed RIBA Topic: Business, clients and services

Architecture is by its nature a visual profession and social media sites are great places to showcase practices and your projects. In fact, social media is the perfect way to tell your story and explain the value of your services before clients even realise that they need you.

This two hour session will look at some of the ways social media can help you stand out and create effective, engaging and targeted messaging. It will equip you with the expertise and knowledge you need to take content you already have and bring your designs to life, all while showcasing your skills and raising awareness of what makes your practice distinctive.

We’ll consider the benefits and challenges of different social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn and review case-studies of good and not-so-good practice. This seminar will also explore how to embed architecture in the imagination of potential clients.

  • Setting the context
  • Overview of social media platforms with reference to case-studies
  • How can you decide where to focus your online effort?
  • Tracking progress, measuring success and tuning your strategy
  • How to stay out of trouble

The session will be as interactive as possible with lots of conversation around your organisation and experiences as well as some case studies and discussion about the opportunity that social media offers.

Due to the interactive nature of this seminar, places are limited to 15

Speakers

Alan Meban offers social media training, coaching and consultancy, often with small businesses and charities or academic institutions. He is a prominent freelance journalist covering politics (Slugger O’Toole), technology (Sync NI) and culture (Alan in Belfast). He has provided tailored social media training to a wide range of clients and he chairs FactCheckNI’s advisory panel.

RIBA announces competence tests for chartered architects

09/09/2020

RIBA Council has approved the introduction of a mandatory level of Health and Safety knowledge, including Fire Safety, for all Chartered Architects, to be tested every 5 years. This test will be mandatory for all members to complete from the 2022 subscription year.

There is widespread acceptance that the built environment has an urgent role to play in responding to the climate emergency, and the RIBA 2030 Climate Challenge calls on members to meet net zero whole life carbon (or less) in the buildings they design by 2030. It is anticipated that the Climate Literacy required to enable Chartered Architects to meet the 2030 Climate Challenge will follow as the second Mandatory Competence.

Ethics and Social Purpose is likely to be the third Mandatory Competence and the fourth to be Research Literacy, both flowing from the findings and recommendations of the 2018 RIBA Ethics and Sustainable Development Commission.

The full detail can be read in RIBA’s The Way Ahead.

Ask an Architect is returning for 2020

30/01/2020

In 2019 ask an architect raised £12,000 to support clinical trials and cancer research in Northern Ireland whilst helping to increase awareness of the valuable role of architects to society.

In 2020 we aim to further build on that success by dedicating even more energy and effort, targeting our media engagement (press/broadcast/digital) to generate interest and drive bookings, and we hope to use our relationship with the Irish News to maximise the initiative. We believe that ask an architect offers an excellent platform for architects to engage with the public about their work and the value that it delivers.

The concept is simple. A chartered architect offers an hour-long consultation to a member of the public in return for a donation of £40 to charity.

2020 Commitment

As with previous years, we are asking practices to commit to raising at least £120 for the charity. All donations go to the Friends of the Cancer Centre through its partnership with the Jill Todd Trust. Ideally this would be achieved by securing at least three ask an architect bookings (at £40 per booking) but failing that by fundraising in some other way or by making a donation to make up any shortfall. Last year it was clear that when practices actively promoted ask an architect achieving three bookings was readily attainable.

Not just for domestic clients

As this is a public facing initiative there is often a presumption that it is only relevant to potential domestic clients. However, we believe that it can also provide a useful platform for engaging with the full breadth of clients to highlight the services that you offer. Often connections through commercial, community or public work will have other projects that they are considering in a work, personal or voluntary capacity.

In for 2020?

If your practice did not participate in ask an architect in 2019 and you would like to register for 2020 please register online here

If your practice did participate in ask an architect in 2019 and you want to do so again just contact Julia Leaker on julia@rsua.org.uk or 028 9032 3760.  If you wish to update your key contact, or how your practice is described or provide more recent photographs, just let us know. 

Practices registered by 31st January 2020 will be guaranteed to be live on the ask an architect website in advance of our launch.

Ask an Architect 2020

15/01/2020

Last year ask an architect raised £12,000 to support clinical trials and cancer research in Northern Ireland whilst helping to increase awareness of the valuable role of architects to society.

In 2020 we aim to further build on that success by dedicating even more energy and effort, targeting our media engagement (press/broadcast/digital) to generate interest and drive bookings, and we hope to use our relationship with the Irish News to maximise the initiative. We believe that ask an architect offers an excellent platform for architects to engage with the public about their work and the value that it delivers.

The concept is simple. A chartered architect offers an hour-long consultation to a member of the public in return for a donation of £40 to charity.

As with previous years, we are asking practices to commit to raising at least £120 for the charity. All donations go to the Friends of the Cancer Centre through its partnership with the Jill Todd Trust. Ideally this would be achieved by securing at least three ask an architect bookings (at £40 per booking) but failing that by fundraising in some other way or by making a donation to make up any shortfall. Last year it was clear that when practices actively promoted ask an architect achieving three bookings was readily attainable.

Not just for domestic clients

As this is a public facing initiative there is often a presumption that it is only relevant to potential domestic clients. However, we believe that it can also provide a useful platform for engaging with the full breadth of clients to highlight the services that you offer. Often connections through commercial, community or public work will have other projects that they are considering in a work, personal or voluntary capacity.

In for 2020?

If your practice did not participate in ask an architect in 2019 and you would like to register for 2020 please register online here

If your practice did participate in ask an architect in 2019 and you want to do so again just contact Julia Leaker on julia@rsua.org.uk or 028 9032 3760.  If you wish to update your key contact, or how your practice is described or provide more recent photographs, just let us know. 

Marathon

In 2019 RSUA entered ten ask an architect relay teams in the Belfast marathon. It provided a great opportunity to raise awareness of ask an architect and the teams did an amazing job with fundraising. We intend to enter teams again this year and hope to get an equally good response. The 2020 Belfast Marathon is on Sunday 3rd May. If you would like to take part please contact Julia Leaker on julia@rsua.org.uk or 028 9032 3760.

Our thanks to 2019 sponsors:

Keylite and Garage Door Systems

Architects learn from the best on Raidió Fáilte – Lionra Uladh tour

06/12/19

RSUA organised a tour of the Raidió Fáilte – Lionra Uladh building on the Falls Road, Belfast, which was led by architect Ciaran Mackel. This building was designed in collaboration by ARdMackel and McGurk Architects and won an RSUA Design Award in 2019. Fergus Ó hÍr of Raidió Fáilte also won Client of the Year.

The judges praised a “remarkable project in a very demanding location” at the junction of the Westlink and the Falls Road, and they were also hugely impressed by the enthusiasm and energy of the client noting the “recognition by the client of the value and role of good design in creating a facility that not only functions well but sends out a positive message and invitation to the broader community”.

The tour was followed by a General Meeting which gives members an opportunity to meet. Items discussed include housing policy, the progress of Local Development Plans and follow up from the Hamburg Study Trip. RSUA also agreed to issue an open call for committee membership in 2020.

RSUA organises Building Tours as an opportunity for architects to learn and the next organised tour will be in Derry~Londonderry in February 2020.

The Architect’s Guide to Social Media

As architects how can you tell your story and the explain the value of your services in advance of clients realising that they need you?

In this three hour session – discounted for 2020 ask an architect participants – we’ll look at some of the ways that social media can help you stand out and create effective, engaging and targeted messaging. How can you take advantage of the visual nature of architecture to bring your design-led profession to life as well as showcasing your skills and raising awareness of what makes your own practice distinctive.

We’ll discuss the merits and demerits of the different social media platforms – including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn – as well as looking at case-studies of good and not-so-good practice and explore how to embed architecture in the imagination of your potential clients.

·      Setting the context

·      Overview of social media platforms with reference to case-studies

·      How can you decide where to focus your online effort?

·      Tracking progress, measuring success and tuning your strategy

·      How to stay out of trouble

The session will be as interactive as possible with lots of conversation around your organisation and experiences as well as some case studies and discussion about the opportunity that social media offers.

Handouts will be provided on the day and the full material will be emailed out to delegates afterwards.

Due to the interactive nature of this seminar places are limited to 15

Speakers

Alan Meban is a prominent blogger writing about politics (Slugger O’Toole), technology (Sync NI) and culture (Alan in Belfast). He has provided tailored social media training to a wide range of clients. Appointed to Ofcom’s Advisory Committee for Northern Ireland, he also chairs FactCheckNI’s advisory panel.

Women in Architecture: Practice visit

23/10/2019

Today RSUA Women in Architecture undertook their inaugural practice visit to Caroline Dickson Architects at the Foyle Civic Trust. After an introduction by Peter Tracey, chair of the Foyle Civic Trust, attendees learned about Caroline’s education and experience, which included a stint at Scott Tallon Walker in Dublin, a year working in a practice in Greece, and some time in Liam McCormick’s office before setting up her own practice in Derry~Londonderry in 1971. In partnership with Hearth Housing Association, Caroline jointly won an RSUA Design Award in 2016 for the restoration of Sion Mills Stables (alongside The Graduate School at Queen’s University Belfast by Consarc Design Group).

The group was joined by Collette Beattie, Conservation Officer for Donegal County Council, who presented a project which they had worked on jointly – the preservation of the Fahan old church (a national monument) – which involved working stone by stone, removing trees one by one, inserting discrete structural ties, while taking care to retain the appearance of a ruin. 

RSUA President Joan McCoy said Caroline Dickson was the first architect, never mind female architect, she ever heard of, when her father was working as a plumbing contractor in Derry~Londonderry in her youth.  An honest and open conversation around changes in architectural practice over time, female architects, procurement, architecture in Derry~Londonderry and the value of architects sharing resources and knowledge with each other followed.  Caroline is a quietly remarkable architect with a rich and diverse portfolio of buildings spanning her award-winning career, and she’s still going strong!  RSUA extends its thanks to Caroline and the Foyle Civic Trust for their hospitality.

Architecture Night 2018

Purpose

Architecture Night is a celebration all about connecting people who want to make Northern Ireland a more attractive place through great architecture.

Architecture Night aims to:

  • Raise the profile of architecture in Northern Ireland and open it up to a wider audience.
  • Enhance the connections between architects and the many other organisations and people who influence our built environment.
  • Bring together architects working in private practice, public service, other organisations and those no longer working.
  • Get people thinking about the full potential of what architecture could do for Northern Ireland – for citizens, tourists and investors.
  • Highlight and celebrate the contribution to architecture made by people who are not architects.
  • Showcase the best student projects from Belfast’s two architecture schools.
  • Strengthen the connection between those studying architecture and architectural practices.
  • Showcase the creativity and talent of early-career architects.

Event 2018

Architecture Night 2018 took place on the evening of Friday 19th October 2018. The event, hosted by the BBC’s Mark Simpson, was structured in three main parts as follows…

Part 1:              An exhibition of the best student projects and revealing the winners of the RSUA Bronze and Silver medal winners.

Joan McCoy (RSUA President) hands over silver medal to Christopher McAvoy

Part 2:              An exhibition of the ideas submitted to the RSUA/JP Corry #MyBelfastIdea Design Competition which challenges Early Career Architects to react to the fall-out from the devastating fire at Bank Buildings/Primark in Belfast city centre by generating ideas for a temporary intervention or interventions to the built environment which will help attract people to the surrounding area.

Joan McCoy (RSUA President) and Chris McComb (JP Corry) with Robert McCluskey and Darragh Collins and their winning design “Belfast Magnets”

Part 3:              Recognition of the contribution to architecture in Northern Ireland by two non-architects and the granting to them of RSUA Honorary Membership.

Mark Simpson interviews RSUA Honorary Member Gerry Millar
RSUA Honorary Member Ian Knox chats to Mark Simpson

Food was served at each of the three stages of the event and there were no set tables. A complimentary bar was available throughout the evening. There was a range of live music. Dress was freestyle.

Venue

Carlisle Memorial Church, North Belfast

Carlisle Memorial Church in inner north Belfast hosted Architecture Night 2018. Designed by WH Lynn and opened in 1875 this building was included on the World Monument Fund Watch in 2010 – a biennial list of the most endangered cultural and heritage sites in the world. At a time when the value of our built heritage is high on the agenda, Carlisle Memorial was a very fitting location to celebrate local architecture.

Architecture Night

Purpose

Architecture Night is a celebration all about connecting people who want to make Northern Ireland a more attractive place through great architecture.

Architecture Night aims to:

  • Raise the profile of architecture in Northern Ireland and open it up to a wider audience.
  • Enhance the connections between architects and the many other organisations and people who influence our built environment.
  • Bring together architects working in private practice, public service, other organisations and those no longer working.
  • Get people thinking about the full potential of what architecture could do for Northern Ireland – for citizens, tourists and investors.
  • Highlight and celebrate the contribution to architecture made by people who are not architects.
  • Showcase the best student projects from Belfast’s two architecture schools.
  • Strengthen the connection between those studying architecture and architectural practices.
  • Showcase the creativity and talent of early-career architects.

Event 2018

Architecture Night 2018 took place on the evening of Friday 19th October 2018 with doors opening at 7pm and closing at approximately 11pm. The event, hosted by the BBC’s Mark Simpson, was structured in three main parts as follows…

Part 1:              An exhibition of the best student projects and revealing the winners of the RSUA Bronze and Silver medal winners.

Part 2:              An exhibition of the ideas submitted to the RSUA/JP Corry #MyBelfastIdea Design Competition which challenges Early Career Architects to react to the fall-out from the devastating fire at Bank Buildings/Primark in Belfast city centre by generating ideas for a temporary intervention or interventions to the built environment which will help attract people to the surrounding area.

Part 3:              Recognition of the contribution to architecture in Northern Ireland by two non-architects and the granting to them of RSUA Honorary Membership.

Food was served at each of the three stages of the event and there were no set tables. A complimentary bar was available throughout the evening. There was a range of live music. Dress was freestyle.

Venue

Carlisle Memorial Church in inner north Belfast hosted Architecture Night 2018. Designed by WH Lynn and opened in 1875 this building was included on the World Monument Fund Watch in 2010 – a biennial list of the most endangered cultural and heritage sites in the world. At a time when the value of our built heritage is high on the agenda, Carlisle Memorial was a very fitting location to celebrate local architecture.

Crowd

We hosted a crowd of 300 to 400 people including architects working in all sorts of roles, architecture students, people interested in architecture, leading figures from the built environment sector and a wide range of key influencers.

Architecture Night 2018 was sponsored by: