Kirkland Fraser Moor is based in Hertfordshire and is an RIBA registered practice. We are currently working on education, leisure, master planning, and housing projects throughout the UK
Our approach to design aims to achieve positive results by using a whole-system design philosophy. By understanding problems in the wider context, we can develop designs that gain multiple additional benefits. This approach encourages innovation and maximises design potential which in turn leads to increased value for the clients, occupants, communities and ecologies our designs affect.
As part of this commitment we also provide sustainable design consultancy services. Our designs are process driven. We are interested in the craft of how buildings and products are made and how they can in turn enhance life and ecology. By understanding these processes we are better able to extend the boundaries of our designs, maximising innovation, whilst ensuring that they are achievable within current manufacturing and economic frameworks.
From the outset we work closely with our clients to define all their relevant requirements. Correct project definition is crucial to providing a building of value. We always seek user input into projects, partly as it creates designs better suited to the requirements but also because it generates a sense of ownership which is beneficial in the early years of occupation.
We have been involved in a number of projects where a wide range of views are sought from building users, neighbours, funders, local community groups and planners. It is essential we understand the client’s objectives in the consultation process so that we can plan for involvement with the necessary people at relevant stages.
Our working processes are as open and informative as the designs we produce. We try to communicate design information clearly and engagingly. We use sketch models from the earliest design stages, these can quickly explain and resolve design issues. We also regularly use perspectives, photomontages and animations, depending on the particular circumstances and stage of the project. These techniques, accompanied by clear, concise and detailed information help demystify the design process and enable the client and consultees to make informed decisions.
We approach projects with no preconceived ideas, we aim to produce simple and elegant responses to the brief. This approach is based on understanding and research rather than a statement of style. The key principles which inform our work are;
- Clear organisation, buildings should be well organised and easy to navigate.
- Good environmental conditions throughout, including natural light and ventilation. A building must have a level of servicing which is appropriate to its purpose, maintenance and comprehensible to its users.
- Quality and attractiveness in design, a civic public presence to engender local pride.
- Low energy design is fundamental to our architectural approach.
- Internal spaces should be healthy life affirming places where occupant and users can thrive. Lighting, indoor air quality, colour and acoustics all play a role in achieving this. We believe that the correct design of these issues can positively affect the learning abilities of children.
- Materials that are attractive, will weather well and are environmentally friendly. It is important that buildings should improve with age.
- Locality; the structure where buildings stand are normally made out of the place itself. Every project has this topological component which must be interpreted from a deep understanding of history, geography, geology and climate. To assist with extending local character and local economic well-being we use, where possible, local materials and make use of local crafts and skills.
Successful buildings are the result of good teamwork. Clear and open communication from the very earliest stage between architect, cost consultant and client is the key to unlocking the real value in design decisions.
Understanding the hierarchy of what are the important aspects of a design allows the team to make best use of limited budgets.
A simple clear design reduces capital costs as it enables the essentials of the design to be concentrated on. Finding the right inter-relationship of spaces and brief is important, so is the optimization of circulation spaces which have important potential to contain social spaces.
Our designs aim to reduce wastage by the economic use of material and components. We aim to get the best possible use from material by careful consideration of the module and finding economical ways to balance span and support.
Studies have shown that the first 1% of the design process fixes 70% of lifecycle costs. Where possible, we encourage the team to think beyond the initial capital costs. Cost in use accounts for a considerable percentage of the total cost of a building over its lifespan. Value for money and value in use are essential aspects which need early and careful consideration.
We have a commitment to the use of innovative technology and the need to embrace new working practices and methods of procurement, but never for their own sake. Attaining quality, efficiency and cost effectiveness comes through relationships and by collaboration.
Sustainability and the design of low energy buildings is central to our attitude to architecture. It is our view however that this issue must cover more than just energy consumption but must contribute to building healthy vibrant communities living in economic, ecological and social balance - we follow an holistic approach to delivering buildings that pursue as far as possible real value.
Sustainable principles are inherent to our approach to lighting, ventilation and heating and, more fundamentally, to the organisation of the layout of the building. Our approach aims to understand the surrounding nature of the site, respecting plants and animals, siting buildings correctly making use of sunlight, wind and local resources, both materials and skills. Waste and water must be managed efficiently.
Currently we are working on a number of projects which explore the balance between modern construction techniques and vernacular principles. We believe in taking an integrated design approach which considers the whole life of the building. We believe our projects should be welcoming, comfortable and resource efficient with a controlled impact on the environment.
Our experience and design processes are further supported by our involvement with EVATool (www.evatool.com), a global software tool we are currently developing to assist designers deliver buildings that perform as designed.
Adaptability is a sustainable issue. Buildings should have a long life and their function will change over the time. Future flexibility is achieved through good room proportions and careful arrangement of the building to maximise site potential.