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Building a Future

06.08.20

L+ Architects was founded on the philosophy of creating ground-breaking architecture that’s sustainable and works with local eco-systems. Founder Pablo Lambrechts shares his earth-kind insights with Serena Templeton

What led you to establish L+ Architects?

Following a 20-year design background working in the UK and globally, I co-founded L+ Architects with my wife Lindsey, a horticulturalist and designer. Our skills lie in our ability to visualise and analyse a project’s potential, whereby we develop an ‘eco-architecture’ approach to help with sustainability and promote mental well-being.

Prior to this, I was the principal architect at the London Headquarters of Wilmotte. During my time there, l oversaw and designed some of the firms most celebrated projects, including the Google HQ, in Kings Cross and office buildings in Paddington Basin, as well as high-end residential projects throughout the world.

Lindsey previously worked at Country Life, BBC Gardens Illustrated and had her own Garden Design business.

What’s your design philosophy?

Firstly, we listen carefully to our clients and study their brief to ensure that we include all the elements on their wish list. Then, taking inspiration from a range of sources, we create structures that are non-temporal and refined, often with a contemporary twist.

Our unique approach is two-fold: to design a house inside-out, re-imagining the interior and exterior so that the two areas become one fluid space. Secondly, using visualisation and virtual reality tools, we deliver luxurious homes that achieve the level of finish and fluidity that our clients envision.

How do you design for mental wellbeing?

As potential pandemics and technological advances continue to shape our lives, the way we live will alter dramatically over the next twenty years and our houses need to be future proofed to integrate these changes. To build for ‘Happiness by design’, the building needs to be in tune with both local and wider environments. This is achieved by a range of factors including, using space and light intelligently to bring the outside in.

Utilising technology, such as air filtration units and Smart home systems, results in a build that’s not only efficient, but also more condensed, fluid and safer, as the distinction between spaces disappears. This in turn, contributes to mental wellbeing and enhanced conviviality.

The concept of ‘healthy architecture’ has shifted from a focus on health and hygiene to the psychological wellbeing of its inhabitants. Our experience affords us an in-depth understanding of the key principles required to create a home that addresses well-being, rather than one driven by the latest fads or trends.

Why is good design so emotive?

This enhanced consciousness about the environment we live in is not new. Since classical times, the relationship between the human mind and design has been studied to achieve comfort and conviviality. Towns and cities in ancient Greece and Rome were built with a focus on wellbeing - incorporating elements such as natural ventilation, sunlight and shade with views of the sea, nature or even ‘borrowed vistas’. This philosophy has also been considered in other cultures throughout history, such as Hindu and Chinese traditions and in turn, they permeate through contemporary interior, architecture and garden design.

What is eco-architecture?

Sustainability and health are at the forefront of the design and construction process, not only in how we use our energy resources, but also in how the location and scale of a project responds to the environmental studies and the local eco-systems. We allow for ‘green infrastructure’ and promote this not only to clients, but also to the local community in order to incentivise successful biodiverse developments. To achieve this, we utilise a range of design techniques, including the use of textured materials that encourage birds, insects and plants to thrive which enhances local ecosystems. For instance, we incorporate swift nesting boxes where appropriate, in our designs as the swift population has declined by approximately 55% in the last 20 years, through modern building technics. We work closely with the Swift Conservation Society to ensure optimum results.

What are you passionate about?

I’m deeply passionate about the environment and our impact on it so I’m constantly researching more efficient methods of quality control and eco-friendly building methods. Cutting-edge technology and new materials have revolutionised manufacturing and construction, from contemporary prefabricated builds to retrofitting Passivhaus (an energy efficient way of building, which reduces the building’s ecological footprint) in Victorian houses. These approaches can be used for everything from small domestic projects to high-end residential and commercial ventures. These new technologies and materials allow us to enhance design and detail, which is my ultimate passion. Good design doesn’t need to cost the earth.

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