The latest in a series of practice profiles looking at those who have recently decided to go it alone
Main People John Proctor
Based Clapham, London
Where have you come from?
I set up practice last year on my return from working abroad in the Bahamas with Arcop Architects. Prior to that I was an associate at Softroom and was project architect for the Sackler Centre for Arts Education at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
What work do you have and what kind of projects are you looking for?
I was fortunate to pick up a large residential commission in the Bahamas before returning to the UK, working with a local architect on a new-build family house, which has started on site.
In London we have some exciting residential projects – modern refurbishments, extensions and works to listed buildings. We are also progressing proposals for two new-build, small-scale developments, both on constrained sites with challenging planning implications. Our aim is to continue to attract work in the residential market.
What are your ambitions?
To create beautiful, responsible architecture that inspires those who inhabit it. We want to grow gradually, remain local to south London and focus on the quality of our work. We would like to work with small developers. London sites are increasingly challenging, and we now have first-hand experience of how to bring quality and value to the design and planning process.
I would like to see architects claw back some of the work taken over by project managers and contractors
What are the biggest challenges facing you as a start-up and the profession generally?
Winning work and exceeding expectations. Juggling a start-up business with a growing young family has been challenging. Prioritising your time is paramount.
I would like to see architects claw back some of the work taken over by project managers and contractors. I think they are well positioned to apply their expertise to construction management on small-scale projects. I was talking with an architect at Grand Designs Expo about how they have effectively cut out the general contractor on their new-build domestic work. I thought that was very interesting.
How did you win your first significant job?
Word of mouth through friends, which is how we get almost all our clients. We are active on social media, but find that a website is for clients to appraise us once we have been recommended.
Which scheme in the past five years has inspired you most?
A building I see or use almost everyday is my local library and health centre: Studio Egret West’s Clapham Library. It is a wonderful example of a high-density, mixed-use scheme that enriches the local community.
How are you marketing yourself?
Networking face-to-face is important. We are actively engaging in the local business scene with an eye on the future Clapham Design Week.