Another day at the office?  Time to go home yet?  Do you remember how proud you were when you landed that great job at that great Architectural Practice?

And now?  Well … Your works O.K., your colleagues are pretty nice most of the time and the office parties are getting fewer and far between?

Of course you’re keeping your eyes open (for job opportunities and on the clock in the bottom right corner of your screen.)  You’re still very ambitious, you obviously want something else.  You’re looking for more energy, both in yourself and in the practice you work for.  That’s great, especially if you are an Architect with great communication and organisational skills.  Because that is what we’re looking for.

If you’ve read this and thought “this is for me”; If you know you NEED to join this young, vibrant, growing business then take out your smart phone and email us at with your current CV and a small selection of your recent work to make an appointment.

Don’t wait any longer – this is your opportunity so go ahead and grab it.

THE STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY OF A BISCUIT – Which one should you dunk?

If there is one thing the HCA family like it’s a nice hot cuppa tea and a biscuit.  But this got us to thinking about their sturcutral integrity and which one, as architects, we should be dunking.  We had some strong opinions in the office about hobnobs, rich tea, digestives and a bourbon but I thought it best to consider the scientific research … so here goes.



Weighing in at 14.8g can hold a massive 12g of tea when dunked … we have here a real contender straight out of the gate.



I hear you shout surely this gives the biscuit extra rigidity in a dunking contest … but alas no it melts rapidly and does nothing more than add an extra sugar to your brew.



It’s like two biscuits for the price of one – doesn’t matter how you eat it however, the double layer with a creamy filling also seems to make it last longer than a single layered biscuit however we are not convinced that the high sugar content do it any favours in the dunk test.


By far one of our favourites the tea infuses with the gingery goodness and whilst holding its crunch this biscuit becomes ever so more tasty. Certainly, the best for flavour in our eyes.


Caused some controversy here at HCA HQ. We thought this would be the winner but its oaty consistency not only let it down when dunked but there is nothing worse than bits in your tea – certainly a disappointment.


Do not scoff at this lowly old biscuit – in the dunking game it is our winner. Plain in flavour but boy does its compact structure help it hold its shape.


A surprise winner then here at Hewitt&Carr – THE RICH TEA with structural integrity, not much flavour but a dunk above the rest.


We were recently approached to design a new build residential dwelling for a client who had, in the past obtained permission for two dwellings on the same site.


To design a large villa style family dwelling that was modern in appearance and that benefitted from the 360 degree views from the site and was light and airy.  The client provided us with a list of requirements which included the number of bedrooms, the need for fitness and leisure facilities and plenty of lively entertaining spaces of varying qualities.


Housing developments in Stoke have been, for many years, constrained by the past. Brick and tile dwellings that sit amongst all the other brick and tile dwellings that do not have any real identity to speak of.  This site, as it is located on the very edge of a residential area overlooking a valley, had the opportunity to move away from the stereotype and produce a piece of architecture worthy of its location.  In many ways, we have, in the design, looked to take pointers from the typical house vernacular but use them in a strong high quality modern way.  The local vernacular does, in this instance have a mix of materials brick, render and timber cladding in the form of mock Tudor detailing. The previously approved scheme incorporated much of the same, which is a shame when we now have this opportunity.  Our simple palette of three materials, grey timber cladding and off white render dissected by cedar cladding details, creates a clean modern architectural style influenced by the trees and open landscape around it. Ample glazing to the East and West elevations allows them to reflect the sky and give the building an element of transparency in an otherwise closed environment.  This development is one of thinking forward with the architectural design not looking back.


We are pleased to announce that this dwelling received the full backing of the local planning authority and has now received full planning permission.  We have now been instructed to work up the detailed drawings with a view to starting on site in the very near future.


So, you’ve watched all these great programs on the TV and you are thinking of embarking on a long and successful career as an Architect.  You have chosen your options at school, you’re working hard towards your GCSEs and thinking what your future may hold.

Well not to put too much of a dampener on things but you have 7 long years of training ahead, and that’s after you’re A Levels … but don’t worry – here is our SEVEN short steps to getting there.


ONE – don’t let your careers advisory tell you that you NEED maths and you NEED physics to become an architect.  We would recommend a design subject or art as these are the subjects that help with the process and delivery.  Other than that, do subjects you enjoy … you need good grades these days for University so go out and get them.

TWO – throw yourself into it … after all you only get out what you put in and enthusiasm is key to selling even the craziest of ideas.

THREE – architecture is not all glitz and glam, high rise buildings and big pay cheques.  It is about the love of design and the ever-changing world in which we all live.

FOUR – Money, clients and yes planning authorities exist – they are there to add constraints to even the most elaborate of projects … our advice is to embrace change and learn to love it.

FIVE – when faced with even the strangest of requests from a university lecturer never say never – they are there to tease out of you your most creative solution so let your imagination go wild.

SIX – concept is key, once you’ve got a concept hold onto it, it will inform everything from scale, layout and design to landscape and even access.

SEVEN – I know seven years seems like a lifetime after all just think back seven years from now to see what you were doing then … but believe me when I say those seven years will fly by in a heartbeat and boy will you look back on them as some of the best of your life.


It’s a profession that will never leave you and if you are that person that walks down a High Street walking into people and lamp posts because your looking up rather than out … architecture is for you.





So you’re embarking on your first “grand design”, you’ve taken the big step of investing in your property rather than mindlessly paying money into a bank account with a none existent interest rate.  Firstly “well done” what a great decision.

If you’ve never worked with an architect before, Hewitt&Carr would like to give you some indicators on the kind of information you may want to consider to help make the most of the investment you are about to make.  These will also help streamline the conversation with your architect and maybe provide a few questions to ask them at your first meeting.

As we see it there are four main areas you need to consider; situation, purpose, scale and design.  Like your future development the process needs a good foundation so take some time to discuss the following and have a clear understanding of where you’re heading.


So, what is your SITUATION??

Consider asking yourself the following:

What kind of building do you live in? Are you aware of any special conditions, i.e. are you in a listed building, or a conservation area? Or is your building a timber frame construction?

How long have you lived there and do you have an idea of budget?  Constraints are always important to know early in the process.

Are you wanting to build from scratch, extend the building you have or re-work the internal layout to suit a new style of living to accommodate that extra family member?

Whatever your situation, this needs to be the basis of your brief to your architect.


As for the PURPOSE

Your architect will need to know the main purpose for the project.  Have you outgrown your current space but like the location?  Is it purely an investment you’re your future?

Also, how many people do we need cater for? How many people will use the new spaces and how will they be used, on a day to day basis or once in a blue moon?

More importantly are there are any special requirements within the household that we need to consider?

At the end of the day all architecture affects the people that use it and knowing just that little bit more can make the difference between a good space and a life changing one.

When it comes to SCALE the skies the limit … or usually the budget is.

Who doesn’t want that little bit more for their buck though.  It is always good to know what your aspirations are.  The bigger the better or are you more about quality over quantity.  Consider what percentage increase the building might be or how much of the garden are you happy to lose?

How much and what interior alteration are you looking at as part of the project?

Will you want to make further alterations into the future and what might they be?

Are you thinking of a single project, or development work proceeding in phases?


DESIGN … who doesn’t like things to be pretty?

There is so much to consider here; do you like to be modern, futuristic, traditional or our you more of a pragmatist and therefore like thigs to be in keeping with the local vernacular?  This doesn’t just relate to the outside of the building but the inside as well.  So be honest and stay true to your desires and most importantly of all let your architect guide you – that’s what we are there for.


A key part of any project is the planning and so we caught up with our planning consultant, Rob Duncan, and had a chat about his role and his aspirations for the future.


What got you interested in the sector you are in?

I always had a desire to contribute positively to my environment and the planning sector was an opportunity to have a direct involvement in shaping the world in which we live. 


What do you love about your job?

I enjoy contributing to development projects and helping them to evolve into high quality schemes.


What are the negatives about your sector and how do you differ?

The sector suffers from a general negative public perception, derived from the often controversial nature of new developments.  A lack of resources in local authority planning departments also hinders the sector.  I offer timely and professional advice to help guide applicant’s through the complexities of the planning system.


What are your aspirations for the future?

To see my business continue to grow and to live my life to the fullest.


What advice would you give to someone wanting to work in your sector?

Try to experience working in both the private and public sectors early in your career to gain insight into how each sector operates, its priorities, and the challenges it faces. 


What’s happening in your business right now that you’d like people to know?

My business is currently growing at a significant rate, with a number of interesting and challenging new projects coming forward.  These come from a broad spectrum, and include large scale residential schemes, renewable energy developments, listed barn conversions and narrowboat marinas, amongst others.


What are your 3 rules of success?

Stay organised

Don’t be afraid to try something new

Keep a good work/life balance – life is for living