Gus Zogolovitch is managing director of custom-build housing developer Inhabit Homes
What is the impetus behind Inhabit Homes?
We believe every house-buyer should have a say in what their homes look like. We’re all different and almost every market thrives on customisation. Yet in homes there is incredibly limited choice. Most people dream of building their own homes because they don’t like the choice in the market. Inhabit Homes gives the choice back to the consumer. We offer well-designed, economical, high-quality ‘shells’, which the customer can then take on and finish themselves or keep us on the project.
Which architects are you working with at present?
We are working with Poulsom Middlehurst on our Blenheim Grove project (pictured) in Peckham. They are a local firm; a small practice that is doing some great work. The scheme is made up of five split-level terraced houses with roof terraces. Construction is due to start on site in November, finishing in spring 2016.
What is the role of an architect in a custom build scheme?
They help us get permission for the site and draw up details for the external scheme, which is the fixed element. They put together different floor plans and help us think about some of the different layouts a customer could use.
How do you choose an architect?
It depends on the job and the circumstances. Sometimes we run mini-competitions; sometimes the architects find a site and pitch to us; sometimes we make direct commissions. We are looking to work with young, up-and-coming architects, as well as more established ones. I like architects who are open to new ideas, will stretch the design challenge and keep the product fresh.
I like architects who are open to new ideas, will stretch the design challenge
What is the secret to a good working relationship between architect and developer?
It’s like that between a producer and a director. Like a producer, the developer has to ensure the project has commercial viability and understand what the consumer wants. Like a director, an architect brings expertise about how the building will be formed and has to work within given parameters.
The developer should support the architect but know at what point to say ‘no’ and the architect needs to know when to push a point. There should be a healthy tension so that the project is neither over-, nor under-designed. Strong teams come up trumps time and again.