What differentiates a good architect from a great one?

What makes a great architect - blog-image-malone-architecture

What skills and attributes should you look for in an architect? We listened to the questions our clients ask at the start of a project and the feedback after completion to find out.


1. Easy to work with

They will work to understand your requirements and aspirations from the first consultation. They are fully engaged, responsive and value their relationship with you above all else. They listen carefully and offer clear and wise advice which leads to an excellent outcome.

“It was a pleasure working with you and we look forward to hopefully working with you on the kitchen in the not too distant future.”

Caroline & Paul Crome, West Wimbledon

2. Demystifies the jargons and the technical side; simplifies it for you

Their sketches, plans and detailed drawings give you a clear vision of your project and a real idea of what they can expect from a design. They manage your expectations throughout the process.

“Malone Architecture is a full-service practice offering support through every stage of a project from concept design to contract administration, including the production of detailed drawings. They like to produce hand-drawn perspectives to give clients a real idea of what they can expect at the outset from a design.”

The Décor Café

3. Holds your hand

They should guide you through the process, acting on your behalf with planning authorities, keeping a level head and offering impartial advice.

“Keith was creative in his design work, helped demystify the planning process and conducted the meeting with the planning officer with tact and restraint. Most importantly he helped obtain the planning consent which was by no means a slam dunk and we felt his fees were money well spent.”

Mark Rawlinson, North Wimbledon Conservation Area

4. Part of your team: Collaborator

There are many parties and elements involved in a new build or renovation project and your architect needs to fit in to this team. Whether they recommend a local construction firm and interior designer or you bring your own contractors onboard, the success of the project depends on close and effective teamwork.

“We at Indigo Development have worked closely with Malone Architecture on numerous projects during the planning and construction phases including the house on Drax Avenue which won Best Individual Dwelling at the LABC awards. The success of this and other projects is the close teamwork that we have developed with Keith at Malone Architecture. We all work closely to discuss what we want and need the project to achieve in a round table approach. His flexibility is key in this relationship.”

Martin Down, Indigo Development.

5. All about the ideas: Great sense of Design

Whether given a blank canvas or a detailed brief a great architect should be the one who realises your aspirations and cleverly adds detail to their design. They provide the innovation whether it be through beautiful glazing, imaginative use of lighting or creating space where there was none before. Their enthusiasm and flare for design will reshape your home.

“We waited a long time to create a home that we could be proud of, one that suited our family and truly reflected our personalities. Keith took our brief on board and created something on paper that ticked all the boxes. We have worked with him for over 18 months to realise his sketches and our dream. He continually kept a level head, offered impartial advice and most importantly kept the end result as the key driver all the way through.”

Sharyn Wortman and Chris Peratides, West Wimbledon

6. Tackles the issues: Problem solver 

Your architect should identify and address any issues that crop up early on. They are your onsite representative who will listen to issues raised and be able to suggest solutions under pressure to keep things running smoothly.

“Keith gave us excellent guidance right through the period, from the early design stage, to submitting plans to the council, selecting a contractor, inspecting the works during construction, and proposing a number of sensible suggestions and solutions whenever we came up against any issues.”

Ron Series, Wimbledon

7. Understands the challenges and making it possible

A great architect has a deep understanding of both the practical and aesthetic challenges of building or renovating a home. They keep any budgetary constraints in mind and take a holistic approach to the project.

“Keith is part of a new generation of architects who loves to think laterally and is excited by the possibility of creative design solutions. A family man who has built his own house here in South West London, he understands both the practical and aesthetic challenges of building or renovating a home, as well as any budgetary restraints.”

Debbie Blott, The Décor Café

8. Environmentally Conscious 

Your architect should pride themselves on producing high-quality bespoke buildings which enhance the environment, both sustainably and visually. They should be using the latest, eco-friendly materials and continually furthering themselves professionally to ensure you have the best of what is currently available in your new home. 

“Keith has an extensive portfolio of projects, from traditional to contemporary homes. His strong background in design and constant desire to research the latest materials allows Keith to inspire and design with clarity to bring a holistic approach to his projects.”

Nikki Rees, Interior Designer  


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