Thread Architects are in the Architects Journal magazine this week as their featured ‘New Practice’. This series profiles practices that have set up recently and we were really pleased to be asked to contribute. Here is the article on the AJ Website, and below our full response to the AJ’s questions about our practice:
Practice name (and where are you based): Thread Architects based in South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire
Founded: October 2013
Main people: Rachel Haynes and Andy Thomas
Where have you come from?
Andy and Rachel both studied at the University of Sheffield and met whilst working at Evans Vettori Architects where Andy was an Associate and Rachel a Project Architect. We worked together on a range of projects from nursery schools to new one-off houses.
What work do you have and what kind of projects are you looking for?
Our work so far has been on residential projects, ranging from refurbishment of a Victorian vicarage in London to reimagining existing properties to improve both energy efficiency and function.
We are also working with self-builders from very early stages. For example helping an artist couple to find a site to create a new family home and studio space. We would like to develop our work on self-build projects, testing the ideas of our shortlisted “Basket House” entry into the National Self Build Association “Self build on a Shoestring” competition at the end of last year.
What are your ambitions?
For now we are looking to stay small and concentrate on our local area whilst we test and refine our approach, but we will hopefully explore further afield as opportunities arise. We both like being very hands on and hope to become known for good collaborative design with a sense of fun.
What are the biggest challenges facing yourself as a start-up and the profession generally?
The most common piece of advice we have been given is to invoice regularly and stay on top of paperwork! This isn’t the fun side of what we do, but is crucial to survive! The biggest challenge so far has been to prove to potential clients that working with a new practice is not necessarily a risk and demonstrate what employing an architect can bring to a scheme.
Which scheme, completed in the last five years, has inspired you most? We’re fans of Sarah Wigglesworth’s’ education projects such as Sandal Magna Primary School. On the residential side the approach of Rural Design and “Turf House” is a great inspiration.
How are you marketing yourselves?
We have been targeting our local area through advertising in local magazines and word-of-mouth contact. Just talking to people and being helpful can set off chains of events. Social media is becoming increasingly important as well and we a finding many new contacts through Twitter. Competitions are interesting to do and are also helping us to demonstrate skills beyond the scale of our current live projects.