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Interview RAL Chartered Architects

Interview with Rob Anderson, RIBA Chartered Architect of RAL Chartered Architects

RAL Chartered Architects is an award winning, Chartered Practice based in Southport, United Kingdom.


RAL Chartered Architects are members of The Royal Institute of British Architects as well as The Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists. Every team member is fully professionally endorsed which serves as the base for the outstanding quality of their services.



Presentation of Rob Anderson, Chartered Architect



Can you give us some background information about why you became an architect?


I went to school with a friend whose parents were both architects and was fascinated by the  drawings I often saw being created when I was at his house. The big drawing board was in the  corner and there were long periods of contemplation followed by a whirl of movement as the  drawings and sketches were produced. I was hooked.  


I set up the practice with a former colleague from another practice in 2001 having worked for a  number of other practices in the North West. We were co-directors but he retired a number of  years ago. The practice has always been located in Southport, albeit we have moved offices a  number of times to more suitable premises in each case. Early challenges were the same as with  all start up businesses including cash flow and finding new clients but considerable hard work has  got us established and 20 years later we are still thriving.  



Can you describe your company and the day-to-day of your business?


RAL Architects Limited is a Chartered Practice under the Royal Institute of British Architects. We  have 3 qualified architects (registered with the Architects Registration Board). Qualification is the  minimum of a seven year process including degree education and learning in practice with  professional exams for the final, Part 3, qualification. We also have two Part 2 qualified design and  technical assistants and administrative support.  

My role in the company as Director is both design lead and client interaction together with our  Associate Director.  

We work on a wide variety of projects from domestic design to large commercial projects, both  new build and refurbishment. Our focus on new business is commercial work in a variety of  sectors including leisure, education, industrial and retail.  



What are the pleasurable and more complicated aspects of being an architect? 


The job is by nature a very creative process and no two projects are the same, meaning every  project and every day brings a variety of challenges and opportunities that we use our creativity to  resolve and delight.  

The main difficulties are often the challenges of getting the authorities to buy into the the vision  and think outside the box in terms of their policy and guidance that can sometimes be applied  rigidly and compromise a solution that could be better. However, this is all part of the process and  a challenge we enjoy. 



What do you think clients look for when choosing their architect?


Clients all have different likes and aspirations for their projects. Whether they like traditional or  contemporary architecture our job is to create both the optimum practical and aesthetic solution,  with the flow of space and well proportioned space and external appearance.  



Do you have a specific style that you adhere to? 


We do not have a house style. Each project takes into account its location, for example is it in a  Conservation Area, located in the Green Belt or in a less protected location. What surrounds the  property, what are the clients likes and dislikes, what are the planning constraints, the constraints 

of the topography. All of these factors influence the design and the appearance of the building we  design.  



What advice would you give to someone starting off in the field? 


People starting out in the profession should have a passion for architecture and creativity. They  will need to learn the ability to compromise and to change designs in light of third party opinions.  Most of all they should have a passion to create the best buildings and never stop learning.  Architecture is very enjoyable and those of us lucky enough to be in the profession should  celebrate the variety and creativity and never treat it as just a ‘job.’  



How do you see the industry changing over the next few years?  

We work with high end CAD software and most projects are produced using 3 dimensional  computer models which help everyone envisage the design. The advance in computer design has  been rapid and the quality of design software has improved significantly in recent years. This will  continue and, some would say sadly, drawing boards and ink pens are a thing of the past.  The focus on sustainability, ecological and environmental matters will continue creating additional  challenges to be resolved. 

Are you an architect?

Reference your practice on the first guide for architects