Last autumn we caught up with Andy Faulkner, 2010 architect Scholar. Andy has spent the last two years working at Benjamin and Beauchamp Architects, a young but expanding firm in Wedmore, Somerset.
Andy can’t speak highly enough of his Scholarship experience. He believes that it is an invaluable opportunity for young professionals to gain a great deal of practical and on-site experience which could otherwise take a long time to accumulate. “It was a fabulous opportunity to learn, to build confidence and to see how other people are approaching their historic building works… a great contrast and complement to the typically academic training that architects receive at University”.
Gaining a solid, hands-on understanding of the performance of traditional materials through the Scholarship has helped Andy in his current work on both historic and modern buildings.
Andy is currently working alongside John Beauchamp, undertaking structural repairs to a number of medieval churches under English Heritage and Heritage Lottery Fund grant schemes. He has also been personally appointed as inspecting architect to a number of beautiful churches in Somerset and Devon.
One of his favourite projects to date was the coordination of repairs to the Market Cross in Cheddar. The Market Cross is a scheduled monument and listed building and sits on a traffic island in the centre of a road junction in the village. The monument needed partial rebuilding following a late-night vehicular collision. The work involved close examination, working stone by stone, using a variety of lime repair techniques and minimal pinning to retain as much of the original material as possible. The stone repair work was undertaken to a very high standard by local firm Wells Cathedral Stonemasons who repaired another part of the same structure following a similar collision a decade earlier. The recent project incorporated new oak-clad steel bollards around the structure to give it more protection for future years.
Andy is delighted to be assisting in the coordination of Cardiff University’s new MSc course in Sustainable Building Conservation, following recent years working as a visiting design tutor on the university’s undergraduate architecture course.
The Scholarship has also helped hone Andy’s talent for sketching; he completed an Art Foundation course at Cardiff in 2000 and is an artist in his spare time. “Hand drawing is an essential skill for an architect,” he explains, “Especially when it comes to the conservation of historic buildings.” Through drawing and painting he likes to explore the qualities which give some churches their particular atmosphere. “The wonderful Romanesque chapel in the tower of London, the magical church interiors at Inglesham, Croscombe, Culbone and Haddon Hall – what is it that makes some interiors so moving? It’s a question I’m always trying to answer.” he says.
Visit Andy’s website to view more of his artwork.