Profile

Christopoulou McDonnell Architecture is admittedly quite a lengthy name and so we shortened it to CMDA for convenience. However, our name reveals the cultural blend which produces our unique character and personality, and which informs our approach to architecture.

We are fascinated by buildings, spaces, settlements and what they reveal about the cultures and personalities that created and inhabited them. We think every building should be designed with careful attention to where it is, how it is constructed and for whom it is made, in order to contribute positively to its environment.

CMDA, founded in January 2021, is a niche architectural practice focusing on predominantly residential projects and harnessing the skills and expertise of its founders, gained over a combined 40 years in their former professional careers in practice, to provide simple, elegant design solutions for the spaces we inhabit.

Approach

Experience – our experience covers a variety of new build projects as well as the refurbishment, alteration, and extension of a great number of existing and historic buildings, many of which were listed or in conservation areas, where great sensitivity is needed to respect their character, restore them to their original condition and adapt them for modern use.

Design Process – through analysis, enthusiastic collaboration, clear communication and exchange of ideas, we seek design solutions that suit and reveal the unique potential of a site or building. Having worked on a multitude of projects, we have an extensive repertoire of design ideas we can use to quickly understand the potential of a site.

Project Management – with many years of experience organising and managing large and small architectural projects, and project teams, we have distilled an efficient style of project management which allows us to quickly test the feasibility of a client’s ideas for a scheme before gearing up to organise all the resources required to deliver the project.

Projects – we specialise in residential projects for both private domestic and developer clients in order to concentrate on promoting quality for the environments in which we live.

Projects for private householder clients produce unique designs to reflect the particular needs and personalities of those involved and so present a singular and rewarding challenge.

Each project is like a puzzle and our role is to determine the best use of space, light, material and budget to find its solution.

We establish a clear understanding of the project requirements in a written brief which summarises the activities & timescales required, how the design is developed, approved by planning & building control, and how the construction will be procured and managed.

Some clients have very clear ideas on the spaces they wish to create and how they will be fitted out and finished – others less so – and so we can provide less or more input as required to realise their ambitions, as we have good relations with product and material suppliers, including kitchen and bathroom specialists which tend to be the big-ticket items of expenditure for most projects.

We work with cost consultants from an early stage to ensure the project can be delivered within budget and can propose a list of suitable contractors to approach for a tendered or negotiated contract, which we can then manage to completion.

Our projects for professional developers are mostly, but not exclusively, focused on niche residential schemes that deliver housing and flatted developments with a focus on design quality and placemaking rather than volume.

We aim to keep our practice small enough to guarantee our clients will always deal directly with a practice principal and so avail of our considerable experience of new build, extension and refurbishment projects, often involving listed buildings and sites in conservation areas.

Initial feasibility schemes can be turned around quickly which include accommodation schedules and risk registers (planning, building control, construction, maintenance etc) to guide clients on optimal development strategies for the potential acquisition and/ or development of a site.

In our role as lead consultant, we provide clear communication and effective leadership to the project team and, from the outset, provide a written brief and responsibility schedule so that every project activity is defined, understood, and allocated to an appropriate team member.

Through our years of experience, we have good relations with planning & building control officers as well as heritage bodies, and our understanding of the intricate mix of policy and regulation allows us to unlock the potential of challenging sites.

Our service includes specification of finishes, bathrooms, kitchens and storage fittings as standard, and we can also cover the role of principal designer and contract administrator when required.

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