Paul Channing

Associate Architect

A member of the Devon and Somerset Design Review Panel and Plymouth Architectural Trust, Paul enjoys the challenge of preserving the integrity of a building’s character, while achieving a balance of old and new.

Paul is an associate architect and head of historic building conservation. With a full time focus on heritage projects, Paul’s work involves the rejuvenation of existing buildings and adding new extensions.

What are the key challenges facing conservation architecture?

Refurbishing existing buildings is always a challenge, and it’s become increasingly more apparent that there aren’t enough specialists in the field; less than 1% of architects in the UK are accredited in architectural conservation. People like this are necessary to really understand the risks to building fabric, human health, heritage and the environment. As an AABC Architect Accredited in Building Conservation, I am currently 1 of 419 architects recognised by Historic England as qualified to work on scheduled monuments and listed buildings of all grades. To ensure heritage sites are looked after properly, we need to encourage more architects to gather expertise in this field.

What is your proudest moment?

Apart from becoming a father, I was lucky enough to be the architect for Heartlands in Cornwall, a project that won an RIBA National Award. I still pinch myself about that.

Why did you choose a career in architecture?

I was always practical; building forts, dens and so on. I liked treehouses the most. 9 year old me was crushed to discover there wasn’t much call for professional treehouse builders, so I ended up here.

If you weren’t an architect, what would you be?

A builder. I like the feeling that comes with making something. As an architect that often takes a little longer.

What is the best book you’ve read?

One that still stands out for me is ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’. Contrary to the title it’s not really about Zen or motorcycles! For me, it was about the idea that the romantic and the rational can coexist harmoniously and when combined provide more meaning in our experiences and thus a better quality of life. As a drummer for 30+ years, I had to learn the practical mechanics of the instrument, but to play in a more meaningful way requires surrendering to bursts of creativity and intuition. I am deeply fascinated by that combination.

Industry Bodies:
  • RIBA
  • ARB
  • Architects Accredited in Building Conservation (AABC)
  • Sustainable Traditional Buildings Alliance (STBA)
  • Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB)
  • Devon & Somerset Design Review Panel
  • 2 RIBA Awards; National Award, and, South West & Wessex Regional Winner
  • RICS Project of the Year for the South West & Wales, also shortlisted for a RICS Building Conservation Award
  • 2 RTPI Awards – National Award, and, Overall Winner for the South West
  • 2 Civic Trust Awards – Commendations
  • Heritage Project of the Year – Western Morning News Property Awards
  • Building of the Year – Building Forum for Devon & Cornwall
  • Most Sustainable Retro-fit Construction – Cornwall Sustainability Awards
  • 2 Special Commendations – Cornish Buildings Group
  • Sustainability Award – International Green Apple Awards
  • Environmental Award – International Green Apple Awards