q2 Architects is committed to delivering high quality projects. Our approach to all projects, regardless of scale or budget, is to gain a clear understanding of the objectives and vision of our clients. We invest time and energy collaborating within the office, with our clients and other specialists to identify opportunities and explore a range of options to arrive at the optimum solution, and add value.
We believe that buildings should be informed by their location, not only in terms of responding to local climate, topography and landscape but also by the culture and tradition of a place.
Designing buildings is a process about which we are passionate, leading to a product we hope others will enjoy.
q2 Architects have a well established reputation for good design and innovation, and a strong track record in commercial buildings. The practice is at the forefront of inventive design, from HQ Office buildings, to efficient industrial and retail units, to sensitive redevelopment of listed and historic buildings. We are renowned for providing a very direct and responsive service.
We are experienced in working with building occupiers in all aspects of the design, from feasibility and concept to detailed space planning and fit-out works. We enjoy leading the multidisciplinary design as this creates the opportunity to pool experience and expertise and to evaluate ideas and options.
q2 architects is recognised as having unique experience in successfully developing design proposals for major projects within the current Milton Keynes (MK) planning and urban design framework. It’s directors have been involved in creating the place Milton Keynes now is from its inception, and are proud of their achievements. Directors Iain Smith and Steve Shaw worked historically for MK Development Corporation, and subsequently helped to set up and run a large multi-disciplinary practice, before establishing Quartet Architects, now trading as q2 Architects, in 1997.
Whilst the MK development context is similar for each project, all of the solutions are individual to each client and solution, reflecting client’s requirements and the potential to add value with good design.
We recognise the importance of establishing a collaborative working relationship with key stake holders in the process (HCA, MK Council, MK Partnership, Place Making Committee) so that their engagement adds value and focuses on opportunities rather than overlaying constraints that detract from the creative design process.
Our aim is to give an excellent service to our clients and to achieve results of which we can all be proud. To manage this, professional teamwork is essential. This philosophy is embraced with both client and contractors, as well as the designers and consultants with whom we work on a regular basis, and are integral to achieving the quality we desire.
As a small to medium practice, the organisational arrangement on projects is straightforward and direct. Each project is the responsibility of one of the Directors, with the other Director providing a shadow role to ensure continuity and quality assurance. Below director level each project has a senior project architect, responsible to the project director, and supporting architects and/or technicians as appropriate related to the scope, value and complexity of each project. Additional graphic or specialist assistance is available in-house or from associated companies.
q2 architects promotes sustainable design in all its projects. Concern for the environment is central to our work and has been for many years. The challenge is to design buildings and spaces that balance high quality, durability and value with the equally important environmental, social and economic aspects of sustainability.
We believe that green / sustainable design is an integral part of the design process and not a bolt on application at the end of the process. All current and recent commercial designs have achieved BREEAM ‘Excellent’ standards, and all current residential developments exceed Code for Sustainable Homes category 4, and required Government space standards.
Alongside other constraints and opportunities, the siting of buildings are considered intrinsic, to maximise solar access for residential developments and minimise solar gain for commercial developments. Early design workshops are held with other consultants to achieve a holistic approach to the design, especially the integration of appropriate M&E systems within an efficient structural design solution.
Renewable energy sources e.g. solar, CHP, ground source, air source heat pumps etc., are considered to help achieve planning policy standards and reduce the finished developments reliance on fossil fuels and thus reduce CO2 emissions. Where appropriate, initiatives for conserving water are assessed, and rainwater / grey water recycling or SUDS systems incorporated.
The architect’s role is to lead the design team and be actively involved in the process of achieving the appropriate quality and commercial viability. This requires an understanding of and respect for the other disciplines involved, and the establishment of a close and effective working relationship with the project manager and quantity surveyor. This approach is intrinsic to all our work and is based on a sound understanding of prevailing costs and values and on a desire to maximise quality and value for money within the available budgets. This requires a realistic view on the affordability of alternative design strategies and invariably involves not only refinement of design and specification, but also improvement to design and efficiency to add value.