The second in a series of practice profiles looking at architects who have recently decided to go it alone either through choice or redundancy
Alchemilla Architects, Chard, Somerset
Founded: June 2009
Main person: Wiebke Rietz
Where have you come from? Stone + Partners, Reed+Holland and most recently, Louise Crossman Architects
What work do you have and what kind of projects are you looking for? I’ve got a new single house to take to planning and two flats to run on site, plus several projects of that nature in the pipeline. I am ferociously networking, as the clients I am after tend to come via recommendation.
What are your ambitions? I would like to stay in the domestic sector, preferably high-end residential. I aim to grow to three or four people and I’m planning to build an office in the grounds of my house to be able to employ staff.
How optimistic are you as a start-up practice? I had hoped to become my own boss in some form for years, but recent fear of foreseeable redundancy made me jump. Other architects in the region have advised me to talk to as many people as possible – and not to despair. The general consensus is that the end of the recession is still a way off but things really can only get better from here, particularly for the residential sector. Public projects are probably still on the way down. Private clients are usually quite keen to work with smaller practices, to keep it personal.