The latest in a series of practice profiles looking at architects who have recently decided to go it alone
S Williams Architects, Kent
Founded August 2013
Main people Sarah Williams
Where have you come from?
After graduating from Cambridge, I worked in New York before coming back to London in 1994. I Joined AHR in London, (latterly Aedas) and ran the office, with fellow directors, until 2012.
What work do you have and what are you looking for?
The value of architecture and the impact it can have, both socially and financially, is something I am interested in promoting and developing with clients. Helping them navigate through the complex process of delivering projects to achieve this and offering strategic advice is an important facet of my business. I also have more traditional architectural project work on the books, including a large mixed-use scheme in Maidenhead and a number of educational and residential schemes in and around London.
What challenges do you face?
As with any small practice, the day to day challenges include managing and delivering excellence in both project work and service, whilst ensuring future workload and keeping overheads as low as possible. Strategic advisory work is more difficult to delegate as its very relationship driven.
In general, the profession needs to be more active in promoting and arguing the case for great buildings and their value, whether with clients and/or central government. This is obviously a challenge but could impact many things including, not least, fee levels, which are a real issue and create other challenges for the profession.
Which scheme, completed in the last five years, has inspired you most?
I recently visited Punta Della Dogana Museum in Venice by Tadao Ando which was beautiful and quite inspirational in terms of the quality of spaces, light, materials, detailing and of course location. The logistics of building in Venice and restoration of the existing customhouse must have been challenging.
How are you marketing yourselves?
I have recently completed my website which launched at the beginning of September and will begin to more actively market my services over the coming months. Luckily, I’ve been busy enough not to worry about it so far.