Dougal specialises in projects in sensitive locations and crematoria design.
He is a senior associate architect with experience working across a wide variety of projects, including residential, student accommodation and higher education. He predominantly leads teams on the early design and development of projects in our Bath office.
What’s your favourite project you’ve worked on to date?
An arts centre building for the Royal High School in Bath. It was particularly satisfying because it was an environment surrounded by listed buildings, and we suggested the demolition of an ‘oldish’ building which was controversial, but it was really wasn’t a very nice building.
We designed a very modern building, but justified it by picking up rhythms of the listed surrounding structures. It’s usually really difficult to persuade conservation and planning officers of that route, but we had their full support. It was great to go back and speak to the head of arts and hear that they really appreciated our design.
What is the role of an architect?
The root of the word itself comes from Greek and it means ‘chief builder’. To a large degree, architecture and construction have been split, and even within the profession, our role is often divided into design and technical.
For me, the entire process is that of design, whether it is artistic or technical. Although we want to do beautiful designs and push ourselves, an architect takes into account that it must be buildable, while giving it that additional lift to something aspirational.
What advice would you give your 20 year old self?
I found forming opinions at university a very challenging thing, especially if you formed an opinion and you ultimately felt wrong. I’d tell my younger self not to be afraid, it’s all a learning experience. In a lot of situations there are opinions because there is not a clear right or wrong, hence why debate and questioning occurs.
What is the greatest invention ever?
The staircase. We must have moved out of caves into huts at some point and somebody thought about putting something above the ground, and there we had it, the staircase.
Once you put one in, it really changes the sense of space in a building. It increases the volume and a lot of amazing buildings have a staircase as their main attraction. It’s such a simple design but it has transformed the way we live.
What is the best book you’ve read?
The Bridge by Iain Banks. It’s a really surreal novel about a man who wakes up at the foot of a familiar bridge, his memory gone. The story follows him as he integrates himself into this new society on the bridge and begins to question everything around him. I don’t want to reveal too much, but it’s definitely one of my favourite reads.
- Creative Bath Awards 2017
- Shortlisted in the RIBA Regional Awards 2017