If you need an architect in the Bournemouth Dorset area, this article is for you.
There are many architecture firms based in and around Bournemouth, making choosing the right one difficult.
But if you follow these tips, you’ll be able to narrow down the field and find the perfect architect for your scheme.
It’s important to find an architect who has experience of your type of project and fully understands your aims. They must also have a great reputation and good reviews.
We’ll explain what to look out for and highlight some of the area’s great architecture practices.
Bournemouth has been a popular seaside resort since the end of the 18th century, growing rapidly with the advent of the railways. The Winter Gardens and Pleasure Gardens were laid out in the 1870’s, placing the town firmly on the tourist map.
Bournemouth experienced a period of decline as seaside resorts fell out of fashion after the Second World War, but today, it has a strong tourist industry, catering for the current appetite for short breaks and business tourism.
Its attractions include Edwardian and Georgian architecture, seven miles of beaches and proximity to the New Forest National Park, an area of outstanding natural beauty. It’s a prosperous town with a population of 197,700.
The Local Plan aims to enhance Bournemouth’s role as a coastal garden town and its priorities are to increase the number, type and quality of houses being built in sustainable locations, close to services and public transport.
There’s limited capacity for housing in Bournemouth’s urban area, being surrounded by Green Belt designations and internationally designated heathlands sites, so development must be close to town centre services.
Other priorities are to encourage new businesses, leisure facilities, tourist accommodation, promote green infrastructure and enhance conservation areas.
Higher than average house prices mean that affordability is a problem and the council is building new council housing stock. It wants to build energy efficient homes to create a sustainable environment and has healthy lifestyle policies in place to encourage walking and cycling.
Why hire an architect
An experienced architect offers technical expertise and design skills which can add value when master planning a project. For example, their attention to detail may save you money if they can calculate the best use of space and investigate details of energy efficiency and running costs.
An architect’s services may only be required in the early stages of a project, for instance to create concept drawings, or they may be needed to cover a wider scope of work such as obtaining planning permission, securing building regulations approval and project management duties to ensure build quality.
An architect can also prepare construction drawings which builders can use to quote on, deal with the tender process and manage the contract administration.
Another advantage of hiring an architect is that they will have insight into the local authority’s planning policy, for example, its environmental aims, strategy on reusing old buildings and ecological outlook. They can also ensure that a project includes the necessary amount of bio-diversity net gain (BNG) to satisfy planning requirements.
All British architects must be registered with the Architects’ Registration Board and most become Royal Institute of British Architects RIBA chartered.
Bournemouth Architecture Projects
These exciting designs showcase the work of five highly rated architects’ firms in and around Bournemouth. Hopefully, they’ll give you lots of inspiration and an idea of the type of architect that will add design value to your scheme.
This Bournemouth-based firm is experienced in imaginative modern and traditional new builds, house extensions, renovations and conversions.
Their website states: “Over the years we have had many happy clients who appreciate the personalised service, professional care and attention to turn their aspirations into reality.”
Look Architecture gets good reviews and offers a full range of architects’ services, including on site construction.
This stunning new-build house at West Parley, Dorset, replaced an existing bungalow which wasn’t cost-effective to modify. It’s designed as a curved form to follow the plot and is built from local Purbeck stone, black larch timber boarding and coloured render.
Western Design Architects (WDA)
This award-winning Dorset-based practice works on houses, leisure and commercial properties to create beautiful contemporary buildings.
WDA also has expertise in listed buildings and property in conservation areas. They have an excellent reputation locally and nationally, along with great reviews.
This characterful modern cottage conversion is in a rural setting in Bryanston, Dorset.
Based in Bournemouth, Footprint Architects are experienced in working with listed buildings, eco-homes, new builds, conversions, refurbishments and self-build homes.
They say: “Whatever your brief, we’ll focus on providing sustainable solutions and passive house standards to create a home for the future, while sticking to your budget and timelines.”
Footprint get strong reviews for their architectural services and they cover the south and central England.
Their refurbishment scheme for a grade II listed house (below, bottom left) won the New Forest National Park Design Award 2019 for Conservation. The project involved a farmhouse refurbishment, a barn conversion and a linking extension involving a range of traditional and modern materials, techniques and craftsmanship.
Kaviani Architects are based in Bournemouth and specialise in high quality, sustainable designs.
They have good reviews and their website states: “We guide you through a variety of procedures and our scope of work – whether concerning a listed building, conservation area or area of outstanding natural beauty – extends from the feasibility study to seeing the project through planning, building regulations and construction to completion.”
This statement house in Poole was designed on a client’s adjacent land and several planning applications were needed before planning permission could be obtained. Adding design changes meant that consent was finally given for this four-bedroom, detached scheme, built using brick and render. The bottom pictures feature a beautiful, light-filled kitchen extension carried out at a house in Gloucestershire.
Residential and mixed use developments, commercial properties and bespoke homes are all dealt with by BrightSpace Architects, based in Fordingbridge, Hampshire.
They say that their expansive knowledge of building and construction techniques means that they can add value at every stage of a scheme, adding: “We are pleased to say that our clients return to us again and again, to help them design and deliver innovative yet functional and affordable buildings that exceed their expectations.”
Their flexibility is demonstrated in the Glasshouse Studios, Fordingbridge, (below), a new office complex consisting of 10 units totalling 1,000 square metres. The open plan architectural design is influenced by agricultural buildings and makes the most of surrounding countryside views. The bottom two pictures show an exciting redevelopment scheme at a contemporary home in Poole.
After looking at what these Bournemouth architects can create, hopefully you can see the results of hiring professionals who are in tune with your aspirations.
The wide range of architectural design firms based in and around Bournemouth includes those which specialise in projects from house extensions and conversions to refurbishments and major developments. Most will also help you through the necessary planning and building regulations processes and project manage the whole scheme if required.
It’s a good plan to prepare a list of questions before you contact an architect – this will make it easier to compare practices. You might find our article ‘10 things to ask your architect‘ useful when considering which questions to ask.