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Property: If you could ask an architect anything at all, what would it be?

A SPECIAL COLLABORATION: Barrie Todd, Jill Todd Trust and Ciarán Fox, RSUA director launch Ask an Architect 

At the end of September the annual ask an architect initiative will close for its fifth year, but there’s still time to take advantage with bookings being honoured for up to twelve months. 

Chartered architects from across Northern Ireland are taking part, supporting Friends of the Cancer Centre by offering their time to the public, as part of an initiative being organised by the Royal Society of Ulster Architects (RSUA) and the Jill Todd Trust.

The concept is simple. In return for a minimum £40 donation you get an hour-long, no strings attached consultation with a chartered architect. You could discuss any part of your building project, whether it’s real or imagined, large or small, and at any stage from conception to completion. You can donate and book your architect online at www.askanarchitect-ni.com and you can choose by who is nearest to you or you can browse to see who really inspires you.

WHO IS PARTICIPATING?

There are 42 practices participating in this year’s initiative and they’re based in all four corners of Northern Ireland. Their expertise spans all types of domestic work, conservation architecture, interior design, extensions or one-off houses. Practices include established award-winners, sustainable design champions, restoration experts, and fresh innovative design teams, all with their own approach and philosophy.

WHO IS IT FOR?

In short, if you’re planning a project then ask an architect is for you. Perhaps you’re considering how to get the most out of your existing space, adding on an extension or home office, or you could be thinking about designing an entirely new home from scratch. When you book your ask an architect appointment your chosen architect will contact you in advance of your consultation to help you get the most out of it. You might decide to meet socially distanced on site to discuss a proposal or you could have a video consultation, it’s entirely up to you.

But ask an architect isn’t just about home appointments, though. Community and voluntary groups can use their hour-long appointment to help scope out and develop potential environmental improvements in a particular area, to advise on upgrading facilities or even to begin the process of designing an entirely new community facility fit for the needs of the people they serve.

Sports clubs might use ask an architect to consider the needs in a new club house or changing rooms in the context of COVID-19, while a church group could book three appointments to get three different opinions on how to redevelop the church hall. The only limit is your imagination.

Ciarán Fox, director of the Royal Society of Ulster Architects, explained: “You’ll maybe never know what you could achieve until you ask an architect. 

“It can be hard to know where to start with home improvement projects and no matter the scale of your ambitions a friendly local architect is here to help. Through a no-strings-attached consultation you’ll get professional advice and support a fantastic local cancer charity.”

Ana Wilkinson, corporate fundraising manager at Friends of the Cancer Centre, added:

“Now in its fifth year, ask an architect has gone from strength to strength and Friends of the Cancer Centre is delighted to have the continued support of The Jill Todd Trust and the RSUA through this initiative. 

“By working together in this way, we are raising money to fund vital local research and awareness, helping support families in Northern Ireland affected by cancer. 

“Last year’s donation of £12,000 will help support Friends of the Cancer Centre’s ongoing research work; including funding additional staff and vital equipment which allows for the development of new and improved ways to treat cancer.”

HOW CAN I GET INVOLVED?

Hundreds of people right across Northern Ireland have seen their projects benefit from ask an architect over the past five years. 

Why don’t you let ask an architect spark your imagination in 2020? 

It could just be the start of something very special indeed. Book now at www.askanarchitect-ni.com

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