Simon and Freda Thornton ARCHITECTS
This is not a large impersonal firm. In fact it is so small that it is sometimes only two people, Simon and Freda. But most of the time there are a few others around to help.Their office is located at the rear of their house in leafy Alphington, a few kilometres to the north-east of central Melbourne, but they have completed buildings throughout Victoria.
Most of the work you will see is small in scale because both partners enjoy forming close personal contacts with their clients, and are not afraid to deal with such issues as the location of a cutlery drawer. On the other hand, they are happy to consider projects as large as institutional buildings, factories, libraries and community centres.
As you will notice, each project has the destinctive flavour of the author - Freda's designs are identifiable immediately by her individual language of detail and her gentle form-making, while each of Simon's projects adopts an entire style or aesthetic to serve the underlying design concept.
How to get started
Most people looking for an architect have never used one before, so it can be a scary commitment. For that reason Simon and Freda offer a series of steps to build trust between owner and architect.
The first is a no-obligation meeting to discuss the process, the likely building cost, the architects fees, other consultants fees, council permits and timing.
The next is a limited commitment to engage the architect to take measurements and photos, discuss the scope of works, and produce a first diagrammatic plan. The purpose is to see if the project is feasible, while building confidence and enthusiasm. This usually takes about fifteen hours and is paid for by the hour, with an estimate given before starting.
After this you may wish to proceed with more detailed sketch designs up to a planning permit, then on to working drawings and specs, and a building permit, and even further to tendering and construction. Fees for these stages are charged as a percentage of the cost of the works.
At any time you can decide to stop the process, and only pay for the work done to date.