Rachel Haugh

Rachel Haugh

Practice: Ian Simpson Architects
Established: 1987
City: Manchester and London
Country: United Kingdom
[email protected]

Rachel Haugh: I am an architect, co-founder and principal of the practice. I am passionate about good design and its role and value in achieving real change. My practice experience extends from delivering small-scale, sensitive conservation work through to new, large-scale, mixed-use, private-sector projects. We are currently primarily involved in urban-regeneration projects of a variety of scale and building type.
The important theme linking all of our projects is delivery. The challenge is to create high-quality buildings and public spaces within what are often extremely tight budgets and commercial constraints, pushing the boundaries of viability in areas in which values can be relatively low, raising ambition and aspiration among all concerned.
Achieving good design presents similar challenges requiring skill, commitment and energy to provide quality buildings and spaces that will appropriately serve the end users and the wider community but also change.

Ian Simpson Architects

Exterior from south
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Urbis, Manchester

The building is a contemporary urban landmark which is distinguished by the simplicity and the ambiguity of its translucent facade. The envelope comprises a sandblasted skin of 2500 glass tiles whose soft green hue is complemented by a patinated-copper roof. An angular glazed lantern creates an emphatic spine to the building which terminates with a delicate copper finial. The internal organisation is a simple diagram which differentiates between served and servant spaces.

Exterior from south
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If you could change one thing in our profession, what would it be? Level of self value - we are the only ones within the construction industry who think in the way we do, ie with creativity, flair and imagination. It is, however, less tangible and less easily measurable than, say, cost or programme and is therefore accorded less recognition and value in the process. We must address this by demonstrating our unique contribution with quality output at all times, linked with appropriate fee levels that allow proper resourcing and remuneration throughout.
What do you find most rewarding in your area of work? The transformation from drawn line to built form - the end product being better than the imagined only serves to intensify the reward. As architects, we are hugely privileged and with that privilege comes immense public responsibility. To see something as apparently ephemeral as an 'idea' become the focus for major investment in the future, the efforts of design and construction teams, and ultimately those who use and experience the building, requires commitment, self belief and faith.
How have your clients and projects benefited from your involvement? Architecture is teamwork requiring diverse contributions, some more visible than others, in order to achieve success at the many levels on which it operates. My contribution relates to the following attributes: intuitive designer; careful listener to client/project needs and aspirations; reflective on options and possibilities; considered in thought process; rigorous in follow-through/attention to detail; keen to ensure delivery process is efficient; keen to share the ambition and ensure everyone takes ownership; tenacious in retaining the vision.