Home' API Magazine : October 2014 Contents GRAHAM NOTTLE, ASSOCIATE
DIRECTOR AT ARKHEFIELD
Graham Nottle fits the brief of a talented
architect. Passionate about possibilities,
engaged with the client’s requirements and
enchanted by the outcomes. A visit to his
office reveals a hub of creative personalities
who make a day at work look like a good time.
It’s all open plan and exposed brick providing a
playground for great ideas.
Graham wanted to design structures since
he was a wee lad – an early recognition of his
calling. He says great house architects can
be taught some of the requisite skills, but one
natural attribute is a must if a graduate is
looking to forge ahead.
“You need to be a good communicator. You
need to listen really well, understand what
people are saying and apply that. If you can’t
do that you’ll never be successful.”
He says architects aren’t just for the rich
and famous – a common misconception.
Anyone looking to build, regardless of budget
or location, can benefit from having an
“It’s about helping someone through a
process they haven’t gone through before...
to pay an expert to guide you through a really
significant project is actually a very sensible
thing to do.”
His profession is keen to maximise what you
as the client have available – to be efficient
and distil your wish list.
“It’s about understanding a client and their
brief and creating a design that meets all their
needs, exceeds their expectations of what it’s
like to live in – and architects are really well
placed to do that.
“I think part of our value is finding how to do
more with less.”
Architecturally designed homes have an
intrinsic value. It could be the way the light
hits the main wall, the vault in a ceiling line, a
well-utilised sitting room or a clever piece of
technology. It’s one case where the whole is
bigger than the sum of its parts.
Bespoke home architects can be involved as
a project manager from inception to handover,
keeping all of the stakeholders informed,
and coordinating work to bring about the
Graham says dealing with clients is a
collaborative, mutually-respectful process.
Human nature dictates that most of us
want more for less and the architect likes to
find a way for that to happen – or as much
as possible. There are those pesky laws of
physics and maths to contend with of course.
“Ultimately everyone starts with a budget
that’s too low and a brief that’s too high.
You’ve got to find the middle ground where it
He says the best results come from clients
being specific with their brief and, at the
beginning, shooting for the stars.
“You should be aiming really high, trying to
get as much as you can. A lot of people only
ever do this once. Make it count.
“It’s surprising too how some people will
say, ‘Okay, well this is what we want so we’re
going to have to find more money’.”
In Graham’s opinion, the biggest mistake
a client can make isn’t getting an architect
involved early enough. They’re the fixers in the
process and can be worth their weight in gold.
“You often hear people say, ‘Oh, I wish I got
an architect early or spoke to an architect
about this when it happened.’ It’s often about
small things or missed opportunities – the
missed potential. I’ve never had a client at
the end of a project regret our involvement or
wished they’d done it all themselves.”
And in the end, the architect’s rewards
extend beyond their pay packet.
“I think when you get to
the end of the job and it’s
there and we’ve created
it and everyone’s happy,
“I like the idea that
at the end of the
job you’ve worked
with everyone – the
clients, builder and
the consultants, to
that no one
could’ve done on
if the client says
to you, ‘We love
our house. We’re
so happy living
here. Thank you
very much,’ you
feel like you’ve
their lives and
HOME DESIGNER Timber and stone feature in the bathroom
BEHIND THE SCENES n Architects
34 n APIMAGAZINE.COM.AU n OCTOBER 2014
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