After his recent appointment as Director of Ascot Design, we recently sat down with Gareth McFadden to get to know the man behind the shiny new title!
Gareth, give us a brief summary of your professional journey to arrive at this new position.
Having completed my RIBA qualifications at Greenwich University, I went on to work for Broadway Malyan in both the UK and Shanghai for 3 years as a Senior Architect.
When an opportunity arose to join Ascot Design, I grasped it quickly! Mainly due to their excellent reputation and commitment to quality in every project, but also because I really wanted to work with discerning private clients on very high value residential projects and Ascot Design is renowned for their work in this area.
It was also a relatively young company and I wanted to be part of an exciting time of growth for them. We’re already being recognised as a world-leading architecture firm, having just beaten other international firms to win a very substantial project abroad, and I’m loving being part of it.
What excites you most about being a Director at Ascot Design?
Ascot Design have an enviable reputation at designing and securing planning for exceptionally high quality large scale residences. Since joining the studio I have focused on growing the business to provide design and management services, which enables us to offer our clients a full architectural service from inception of the first sketches to handing over the keys at the end of construction. I am passionate about building and gain immense satisfaction in seeing a client’s dream home constructed into reality on site, whilst ensuring unrivaled quality is delivered and that budgets are controlled. I’m excited to be developing this side of the business, as well as working alongside Steve Punter to expand our masterplanning service, particularly in the mixed use arena.
My further goal is to see Ascot Design become a design practice that sets the standard for innovation and the use of new technologies in architectural design. We are actively investing in BIM and, as head of IT, I am also organising the expansion of Revit and VR technologies in the studio.
I’m also eager to put our Investors in People Accreditation to good use. Complimentary of the ISO standards, it is an accolade incredibly hard to come by, so I want to maximise the results of the program to improve business performance, leadership and support of our staff.
What are the most memorable projects you have worked on?
I recently designed a 210 unit residential scheme with landscaped podium decks in Weybridge. It comprised stepped residential blocks with roof terracing, along with a signature tall building and communal cafe linking both residential wings. At the moment, I’m working on an exciting mixed use scheme in Berkshire, with an educational and leisure/sports facility, alongside a 40,000 sqft private residence designed in a classical style.
In the past, I’ve designed a number of substantial classical residences for our private clients, including one of my personal favourites Willow Farm; a former equestrian centre, set within 50 acres of land, providing 18,000 sqft of accommodation and a basement leisure complex to minimise the impact to the openness of the Green Belt.
Other projects of note include; A high rise 230 key five star hotel with 120 key serviced apartments in Abu Dhabi, the 7km long landmark river crossing bridge in Haikou, China and a new build 64 unit high rise apartment scheme in Putney UK.
With your support, where do you see the firm going in the next 10 years?
As well as achieving the goals I’ve just discussed as new Director, including the firm’s use of REVIT etc, I’d like Ascot Design to apply for some RIBA and RICS awards, which we haven’t previously been able to do and which I believe we could win!
I imagine in 10 years time our firm will have grown substantially in numbers and have offices across the globe. We’re also passionate about fostering education in youngsters and are currently forming relationships with certain universities to offer graduates year out placements, as well as extending work experience positions to a range of age groups with an interest/education in architecture. We never want to become stale in our approach to architecture, rather we wish to welcome the next wave of young talent to us, keeping innovation and creativity alive in the firm.
Lastly, share a funny story from your time at Ascot Design!
A funny story? Well.
On our recent quarterly award winners getaway to Dubai, we had a rather big night out and, after many of our group had dropped off, the strongest amongst us headed at 1am to the Jumeira Beach Hotel’s Bar 360. At the time of arrival the bar’s atmosphere was dead but, thanks to our unruly influence, it didn’t stay like that for long. Shishas were flamboyantly smoked like Alice in Wonderland caterpillars, tables called to us as if they had been invented for dancing upon, and golf buggies were zig-zag driven into the sunset. The night ended with me saving Alex Horder from nose-diving into the Persian Gulf.