In this issue of Building and Construction Review, we are pleased to announce AR Architecture as the recipients of our Architectural Services Company of the Year Award.
Finding the right architect is the foundation of any successful building work. New contemporary houses, multi-unit developments, extensions, loft/basement conversions and period refurbishments are the speciality of AR Architecture. Alexander Rakita is the Director and Owner of the company and since 2010 has built the practice upon the foundation of his 20-year international career. Nowadays, AR Architecture is a dynamic and ambitious multilingual cosmopolitan team that has the ability to breathe new life into structures and building upgrades.
“We are flattered to have received this award. It’s always good to feel our hard work and effort has been recognised. What we do here, at AR Architecture, is to take in all the ideas and the questions of our clients and provide them with everything they need to make their decisions on construction. For us, it is not only about beautiful designs – it is about making the most of client’s ideas, budget, and time. We like to think of our clients as our co-authors. Being at their side on the journey through the construction project is really where we add the most value. It’s about listening to the needs and finding the best delivery”, said Alexander.
AR Architecture thoroughly believe that the lasting value of buildings is determined by the perennial factors of scale, materiality, quality, practicality, adaptability and interaction with the environment. This mindset has heavily influenced the company’s style as each design incorporates a comprehensive examination of environmental issues to reduce energy consumption and derives a maximum benefit from natural resources.
“Our approach to creating great architecture is that it should be meaningful. We make it work from the inside out. We factor everything into our design process, from climate concerns to energy efficiency. Every project starts with eco-efficient designs and functional zoning, from this we aim to create well-considered, comfortable, elegant modern structures whilst being environmentally friendly at the same time,” stated Alexander.
Heritage buildings and projects in conservation areas are at the core of the company’s expertise. When working in the historic environment, AR Architecture takes care to avoid any imitation of the past in the new interventions, while carefully preserving and emphasising the existing original elements and features. An example of such hi-profile work was the recently completed full refurbishment of a Grade II listed building in Kensington, where AR Architecture acted as the Architect and the Lead Consultant collaborating with a renowned Interior Designer and coordinating a high-profile multidisciplinary professional team. At the beginning of the project, the whole building was laser scanned and modelled in Revit to a high level of detail.
Most of AR Architecture’s projects use Building Information Modelling (abbreviated as BIM). All work is done in a virtual 3D model which allows the architects virtually walk through the project’s spaces, see relationships between materials, plant and structure, detect any problems at an early stage and keep budgets on target.
No matter how big or small the job or budget may be, AR Architecture strive to deliver a design of the highest standard. The company’s services cover the whole architectural process, from initial concept all the way to completion. Alexander and his colleagues deal with all statutory approvals, help to appoint the design team, lead and coordinate it, then supervise the construction working alongside the builders as one team.
We asked Alexander how the past 12 months have fared for the company, he responded, “we noticed the potential clients being very cautious, so we had lots of interest but little commitment. However, this seems to be changing, in the last couple of months business has picked up again and we are gathering a fast pace of momentum. There are already some interesting new projects lined up and lots of prospective clients coming in. Also, we are able to return to the plans that previously were put on hold due to COVID-19: for example, in 2019 we had started setting up an office in Portugal; the pandemic meant we had to stop, but now this project has resumed and soon we will have a fully operating EU branch.”
In terms of future plans, AR Architecture is in full swing to develop the business further. “For our private clients, we have built a hub on the website under the ‘homeowners’ tab which guides them along every step of the process, alongside extensive information, tips and advice on project planning and our services. We aim to increase our presence in Europe, and through our newly appointed office in Portugal we hope we can help British and international clients to make their projects there come to life. We are currently focusing on residential sectors; however, the long-term goal is to participate in more public and commercial work,” stated Alexander.