Ed Houlton

Senior Architect

Ed is a senior architect who has a particular focus on delivery and technical design. He is a skilled Revit user and a member of our internal Revit and Technical focus groups. He is also passionate about sustainability.

What are the key challenges that affect the Schools sector?

Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) and a fabric-first approach to detailing which limits thermal bridging are particular areas that the Department for Education is pushing to see progressed. These two areas were challenges in our designs for Sky Academy, St Austell and Belvidere School, Shrewsbury – both volumetric offsite construction where fire protection of the structure needed careful consideration.

Pet hate?

Bad design! Some buildings appear to be beautiful, but their design is superficial meaning the beauty won’t last. Perhaps functionally they don’t suit their needs; perhaps their detailing demands a level of maintenance or cleaning that is difficult and impractical.

Greatest invention ever?

Glasses – and not just because my wife is an optometrist. Whether for better or worse, architecture is a largely visual subject and without them I would see only blurry forms…

Best building in your city?

The Royal William Yard, Plymouth – a refurbishment and conversion by Urban Splash who took the magnificent early 19th century stone buildings, originally built to supply the needs of the Royal Navy, and sensitively transformed them into desirable flats and commercial units. They retained the character of the original buildings but were not afraid to introduce contemporary interventions, such as the new stair link which continues the southwest coastal path.

I hope that St Michael’s Primary School in Paignton and the Penzance Creative Cluster – two buildings for which I have been project architect – will similarly be judged as respectfully bringing contemporary interventions to historic building fabric.

Biggest career influence?

My parents commissioned an architect to design a remodelling and extension of our family home during my teenage years. I enjoyed looking at the drawings before seeing the construction progress.