posted on October 4th, 2021

Architects in NI support fight against cancer

Architects throughout Northern Ireland are opening up their home studios and practices between now and the 10th of October to raise money for Friends of the Cancer Centre, as part of an initiative organised by the Royal Society of Ulster Architects (RSUA) and the Jill Todd Trust. In return for a minimum donation of £40, members of the public benefit from an hour-long consultation with a chartered architect.

Jane Larmour, director of ALWA Architects, gives the lowdown on the initiative:

Photo Ros Kavanagh

So, what is Ask An Architect all about?

Ask An Architect offers people who have ideas about designing and making changes to their home the opportunity to get the dedicated attention of a registered architect for one hour. Renovating and building projects can be quite daunting if you don’t have much experience, so Ask An Architect offers no strings attached consultations with a chosen architect in exchange for a charitable donation of £40. Funds raised go directly to the Friends of the Cancer Centre and the Jill Todd Trust to support their locally-led cancer research.

What help can a homeowner get in just an hour?

Homeowners might feel like they don’t know the first thing about how to remodel their house, build an extension or build a new home and the Ask An Architect’ consultation offers a chance to sit down and talk about any element of the process.

You might be looking for reassurance that improvements you are already considering making to your house are worth pursuing, or for advice on alternative approaches. You might simply want to ask how to go about picking the right architect for your project or how to write a brief for your new project. In just an hour you can get some valuable insight!

What are the most common questions that people ask?

I have been involved in Ask An Architect since 2017 and have had questions ranging from general queries about what to expect over the course of a construction project to questions about very specific design issues.

Some people are interested in the planning process and particularly what is involved when it comes to listed buildings or conservation areas. Other people have specific issues with their home that they want to improve, and we might talk them through alternatives to consider.

One thing we are asked about a lot is how to connect a house with outdoor space – so many old houses don’t connect well with the garden and our job is often to find ways to make more fluid connections and bring more light inside.

What would you say to someone on the fence?

Go for it. The beauty of ‘ask an architect’ is that there are no strings attached. It’s an hour for you to spend with an architect of your choice to talk through anything you have ever wondered about building projects, without feeling like there is any pressure to take things any further after the consultation. The best bit is that it’s all for charity.

Consultations take place at a time and location to suit, and bookings can be made until 10th October at