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Saunders director, Martin Williams talks about two of his favourite buildings.


Saunders Director, Martin Williams, BSc PG DipArch MA (Urban Design) ARB RIBA AaPS enjoys the challenge of designing buildings that not only look good but which also work in practice. Read on to learn more about how two of his favourite buildings embody this philosophy.

I believe that good design makes great buildings. Like most architects, I’m passionate about good design, but the design has to work in practice. There’s no point drawing an amazing roof line, if it’s going to leak; or if it’s not going to give the client the optimum space for their needs. It’s this ethos that embodies how Saunders approaches a project and it’s exemplified by our considered planning and delivery services. When we are commissioned to design a scheme to planning, for example, we spend time working on the detail, which ultimately saves our clients time and money when it comes to delivery.

My list of favourite buildings changes regularly as I travel and discover new designs but a perennial favourite is The Gherkin (or 30 St Mary Axe) in London. This building singlehandedly changed office design in one sweep of the pen. It’s become an icon for London but it is so much more than that. It’s clever detailing embodies my theory of how good, considered design makes a great building.

Another favourite is the Casa del Fascio on Lake Como, Italy. It’s original purpose is controversial and I am in no way promoting this philosophy but as a piece of architecture, it is stunning. I first saw this building as an architecture student and I was mesmerised by the reflections in the polished concrete floors and the sense of space in the centre courtyard. It’s one of those buildings that has stayed in my mind throughout my career.

The architectural industry naturally evolves over time and Saunders is no different but I’m pleased that we are a dynamic practice. We’ve invested in new technology and built a proactive team with specific sector experience. My focus is on supporting the team to develop ever-better designs that will produce great buildings, and to conceive ways to deliver ever greater returns for our clients.

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