James Wood, architect, generates all of his work from word-of-mouth recommendations. He has designed quaint Thameside houses in Bray, arts and craft centres in the home counties, and is now working on an exciting new proposed development in Cuba.
He gave Hotel Designs his pearls of wisdom.
It’s important to keep your work diverse. Following graduation in architecture and becoming a Chartered Member of the RIBA, I worked on a wide range of projects that included schools, churches, housing and master planning both in the private sector and for local authorities. Recent projects have included the master plans for new hotel/resort complexes in different parts of the world. Some are remote enough to require the infrastructure for a small village to house local people who will service the proposed project.
I try not to rely on one particular style. I prefer to relate buildings to location and local style of architecture and surroundings. I hope my work has shown an evolution over time driven by learning and, to a certain degree, with technology.
There are no global ‘styles’. I work mainly on hotel and hotel resort projects, and I have noticed that there is not so much a global style, but more a tendency to mix styles from different countries.
Environmental considerations are key. Working on international resorts, we consider the impact of the proposed project on the environment and people who may have little say in local politics. We take care to protect, and reduce any impact on, scarce resources. Environmental considerations are always a key part of our plans and these are indivisible from the final proposal.
I am inspired by people I meet and work with. They push me to try harder, to push myself a bit more and not to take the first, or even second, solution to a problem. Buildings remain long after the architect has died, and those buildings affect locality and people in a major way for a long time. I believe architects and engineers should never under-estimate the effect large constructions have on people – for good and bad.
I’ll carry on as long as I make positive contributions. My ultimate aim is to do the best I can in my own small way as part of a complex team, so that the outcome for the project is positive and delivered within the parameters set out for us. With my type of work there is no retirement age so I am still learning and still enjoying the work and as long as I can continue to make a positive contribution to the projects I am happy to carry on.