Architect: Simon Hutchings
Senior director with SWA Architects, one of the most prominent architectural design firms in the Turks & Caicos Islands (TCI), Simon Hutchings, RIBA, has been responsible for many of the firmÃ�Â¢Ã¯Â¿Â½Ã¯Â¿Â½s most prestigious projects such as The Villa Renaissance, The Regent Grand and many private residences.
Why did you choose to become an architect?
When I was eleven years old my parents bought a dilapidated 17th century farmhouse and began the process of renovating, extending and making it into our family home. It was during these formative years that I became fascinated with the building process and particularly that of breathing new life into old buildings.
Who was your first mentor?
Architect and family friend, Ted Hammond. Sadly, now deceased, Ted inspired my passion for design and working with both old and historic buildings and creating new designs to compliment their surroundings.
Describe your design style?
I resist pre-conceived ideas of style for a project, believing first and foremost that a building’s style should evolve naturally through careful analysis of the client’s requirements and the unique attributes of the site.
What are you currently working on?
We have five residences under construction and, as always, it is exciting to see our designs transform into reality. Otherwise, my current focus is the design of my own family home here on Provo – a long awaited dream.
What is the new direction in architecture?
I would say the current movement to sustainability and localism is having the biggest impact on architecture. The advancement in green technologies and their incorporation into building concepts are increasing exponentially, and I am tremendously inspired by the combination of artistic and technological ecoendeavours to create buildings that are truly of our time.
How have you incorporated green technologies and sustainability into your designs?
We always carefully consider the position and orientation of the building on the site and combine this with thoughtful architecture to reduce the reliance on artificial cooling methods to keep interior spaces at a comfortable temperature. We emphasise the importance of exterior materials along with incorporating reflective barriers and insulation in the roof structures that repel radiant heat and help to keep the building cool. Typically, we incorporate: solar water heaters for both domestic hot water and pools; PV panels for specific tasks (net metering is yet to become policy in TCI); and we are waiting for a government policy to take effect allowing the use of wind turbines that many of our clients would like to incorporate on a domestic level. Recently, we designed a ‘passive solar chimney’ in a home which uses the ‘stack effect’ to draw the rising warm air out of the building and pulls in fresh, cool air through an electronic louver window systems at the touch of a button, closing automatically when rain is detected.
What inspires you today?
To learn more, visit www.swa.tc
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