Design & Build 2021

9 Design & Build 2021 BUILD 11 Q1 2 I The True Essence of Design Founded in 2005, Clear Architects is an RIBA/MRTPI Chartered architects and planning practice that has great planning success, is creative, sustainable and passionate about the buildings it designs. We got in touch with company founder, Melanie Clear in light of the firm being named Most Outstanding Sustainable Architecture Practice, 2022 – Essex in this issue of BUILD magazine. lear Architects offers the full architectural RIBA service, including interior design and project management, and it also provides MRTPI Chartered Planning consultancy. Their clients trust them to provide great designs and assist them through the increasingly complex planning system. Company founder, Melanie Clear said, “We are stewards of the future; we design in the most sustainable way possible with our wider team of experts, from engineers to ecologists to landscape designers. We visualise, create and most importantly care about the impact of our designs on the people they’re for and the wider world. My practice and passion has never wavered in doing the right thing. We have been leading the way for over 15 years and our schemes are starting to be seen for their impact visually and in the true essence of design.” Clear Architects specialises in outstanding architecture in highly protected areas like green belt, areas of natural beauty, and national parks. In addition to this specialism, it has many projects that take an unconventional piece of urban land and through its inventive design creates new homes with imagination to recreate the site. Clear Architects’ clients are professional people, financial experts, those who love design themselves, and/or developers who want a scheme with a difference. The clients employ the practice for its expertise and design ethos which is at the core of its work: Melanie states “design is more than lines; it’s a creation, a work of art with function”. The studio works hard to deliver the best and its reputation for delivering excellence drives clients to it through exposure across media platforms, from its website to Instagram to Pinterest. The staff at Clear Architects are a huge part of the company’s success. Melanie said, “I have always believed in collaborative working throughout my career and having a team of people with many different skillsets makes us only stronger in our design work. We are very much a team and not individual – and to that end, we work together in a studio environment, have team lunches, activities and fun. It’s hard to produce the work do, but we have created a work environment which is an enjoyable place, where we support each other.. Our new studio has an outdoor BBQ area and even swing ball for the summer months!” The hierarchy at Clear Architects is flatlined, with key skills coming in and out as needed. The firm does not believe in old school order; it believes in everyone having a part in its success and that includes those it supports through their final studies on its sponsorship programme, to support development, helping them become part of the team. Clear Architects mainly recruits through direct applicants who show passion for design, beautiful presentation, want to make a difference and are a team player. C The team at Clear Architects has seen its challenges in the form of the COVID-19 pandemic, with significant delays in planning application decisions and appeals by not weeks, but months. The firm’s workflow has been hugely disrupted, as have that of its clients to the point where funding options are having to be renegotiated at further costs to the developers. This is in addition to the issues around material price hikes, due to lack of production and general low availability. The whole of the built environment has been hit hard over the last 24 months. Observing trends in the industry in recent years, Melanie said, “I think, as do many of my team, architecture has lost its way through the most recent decades. The respect for the professional architect has disappeared through many people simply not understanding the complexities of our job and the skills needed to be an architect – That is why seven years is the general amount of time to train. It is mistakenly compared to a job that is just pretty pictures and drawing only when it is so much more than that. “The new planning and legislative changes, we believe, will help architecture to be seen for the professional job that it is and allow us to once again be seen as equals to our legal and medical professionals and not compared to a CAD course person who only draws. There is a positive change both in quality of architecture and climate on the way and we look forward to operating in this new world.” For Clear Architects, 2022 will be a year of projects that showcase all that it has worked hard to create. Melanie said, “We look forward this year to finishing, starting and creating even more exemplar architecture. We have a party booked in 2025 to celebrate our 20 years in practice, we cannot wait to see more of our great buildings built by then.” Company: Clear Architects Email: [email protected] Website: Dec21068