Our Principles

Whilst there are a number of considerations that need to be taken into account in all architectural projects regardless of their type or size, as a practice, we have a set of principles and beliefs that are integral to our practice.  In most cases, these principles simply add an additional layer to the project. However, on occasion, our practice principles do not align with that of a client, which usually suggests that we and the project are not a good fit.

Being open minded.  A successful project that presents long term value is one that responds to people actually live, work, learn or worship, and not how they think they do.  So how do we do this? Well, we ask questions. An awful lot of questions. It helps us get to know you, your priorities, your passions and really get to the crux of what you need.  In our experience, the solution to the problem in hand is not always the one that we all assumed was the right one at the start. Essentially, in our view, architecture is about solving problems.  Whether it is the desire to have all the family round the table for Christmas dinner, the need to improve employee retention by rethinking a workplace design or the necessity for a secure entrance to a school, Stead & Co. are able to work with you to create an interesting solution that solves your problem.

Being environmentally responsible.   The construction, operation and maintenance of the built environment accounts for 47% of total UK’s carbon footprint, 80% of which is in- use emissions ( Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy). As Architects working in this environment, we have a duty to design and construct responsibly.  Where possible we will retain as much of an existing structure as possible by thinking creatively about how we can use existing spaces so that we are not wasting the embodied carbon contained within by sending materials to landfill.  New build elements will be responsibly sourced and exceed Building Regulations wherever possible. Our business goal for this forthcoming year is to really explore how we can minimise the impact that our projects have on the planet.  We are in a climate emergency and it is important that we, and our clients, do our best to respond to this.

Empowering our clients.  We feel it is important that our clients feel empowered.  In our view, good, interesting and positive design should never be elitist.  You should feel comfortable working with us, feel able to ask questions, and likewise be willing to listen to our questions.  It is so important that we can be frank with each other. Whether a school, place of worship or your home, we believe that it is crucial to involve those who will benefit from the design process in the process.  As a result, designs become relevant, long term and good value.

Financially sensible.  We have no intention of spending your hard earned or fundraised money willy nilly.  We always bear in mind your budget and will clearly advise you throughout the process of where things stand.  However the cheapest is not always the best, and we believe that some things are best paying for, and therefore we will advise you on areas within a design that we feel would benefit from greater investment, and in other areas where savings are to be had. It pays dividends if time and money is spent in developing your project at the start as it is at this stage that many issues can be resolved or at the very least highlighted, interesting ideas pursued, your needs met and hopefully exceeded.  We can set the budget and we establish the key principles. Good ideas and excellent projects take time and energy to develop.

Accessible to all.  We are passionate about making the build environment accessible to all.  Whether it is a wheelchair user, a parent with a pram or a person with dementia, we believe that every building and space should be engaged with simplicity and dignity.  We will push this agenda in all our projects because, in our view, it is important. As Architects, we are authors of the built environment and we have a duty to ensure that our society is as inclusive as possible.