Renovating Resources

A good design requires a good architect and a client who is engaged in the project. Architect Caroline Pidcock shares tips on getting the most from your first meeting with your architect or designer.

Quick Tips: Talking to An Architect

“A good design requires not only a good architect, it also needs a client who is really engaged in the project. This means being clear about what you want and at the same time open to new ideas for how this might be achieved” Caroline Pidcock.

Talking to an architect/designer

  1. What is your budget? As this needs to align with your brief, it is a good idea to talk honestly and openly about this from the start and be prepared to adjust either the brief or the budget (or both) to make this work.
  2. It is good to talk through the stages of design with your architect so you know when things are going to happen and you can plan to make time to consider ideas between meetings. There are some pretty standard stages involving design, approvals, documentation, builder appointment and construction – but each project will have its own particular journey.
  3. What is the main thing you are trying to achieve; how you would like to live in your home; and what is most critical to helping you achieve this – conversations about these ideas will help your architect to design the optimal amount of space you need. Size does count – less can be best!
  4. What is your daily pattern of life and when are the various members of your family at home using things? This will help your architect to design the best place as well as the renewable energy system to help offset your power usage.
  5. What materials and finishes do you like? It is good to think about those with low embodied energy, from renewable sources and will still be desirable in years to come.
  6. Don’t just go for the latest ideas in the magazines, unless they really resonate with you. Work with your architect to find solutions that are an expression of your values and how you want to live

2 design details that can make your sustainable renovation stand out (and really work)

  1. A design that is naturally warm in winter and cool in summer so that you can really enjoy being there!
  2. The clever use of space and light to create a sense of delight and spaciousness.


  • Feature image credit to © Gramly
Caroline Pidcock

Caroline Pidcock

Caroline Pidcock, the curator of our Liveability ‘be inspired by design’ is founding Principal of the design firm PIDCOCK – Architecture + Sustainability which is focused on desirable, sustainable architecture. The practice aims to excel in ecologically sustainable design, documentation and advice and to demonstrate how such a focus can deliver potent influences in design and can produce delightful experiences. PIDCOCK is particularly interested in renovations, where it is possible to identify the best of what is existing and help to recognise, adapt and develop this to be part of a strong and relevant future.

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