Cambridge Architects AABD: Architecture and Building Design for house extensions, renovations

Our Architects’ Approach

Our architects’ approach is different, effective and benefits clients. We work together with local contractors, planners, neighbours and other interested parties. Consequently, projects proceed smoothly.

Tim Bonavia, one of the most experienced architects in Cambridge, leads our practice. Tim studied at the Cambridge Department of Architecture, and began practicing in the Cambridge Public Sector, particularly the NHS.

Our beliefs & principles

We believe good residential architecture seldom results from a flash of inspiration. Our clients in Cambridge know what they want, occasionally in detail, sometimes in broad outline, perhaps as a range of options. Good residential architecture emerges from a careful assessment of every option.

We believe investing time during the early stages to explore every option, reduces subsequent costs by a factor of ten. The resulting development often exceeds all our client’s requirements.

We believe great design is only a small part of a successful project. Successful projects require:

  • Accurate design,
  • Detailed specification,
  • An appropriately-skilled contractor,
  • Regular supervision,
  • Creativity to solve problems as they emerge, and,
  • Negotiating fair prices for additional work.

We believe in involving local planners, neighbours, and other interested parties at an early stage. This engenders ownership, and we achieve an extremely high proportion of planning approvals. When we appeal, we usually succeed.

We believe in achieving the highest practical standards of energy conservation. We consider energy savings and running costs at an early stage. We encourage clients to invest in insulation. However, such considerations are subordinate to the buildings’ function and our client’s requirements. Rather than a rigid design philosophy, we offer a pragmatic balance of competing considerations, and deliver an appropriate development.

Example of our Architects approach: working with contractors and planners for our client's benefit
Example of our approach to architecture.
Example of our Architects Approach: We believe in working with local contractors for our client's benefit
Example of our collaborative approach: Porch Detail

Background & Experience

Tim Bonavia studied at the Cambridge Department of Architecture, and began practicing in the Cambridge Public Sector, particularly the NHS. He founded Architecture and Building Design in 1996.

Early Days: Major Architectural Projects in Public Sector

Initially,  our clients  were mainly the local health service and County Council.  Typical projects were ward refurbishments, disabled toilets, school extensions, reroofings, and fire precaution projects.  Our clients expected cost effective projects, that would require little maintenance over a long life. 

Our clients were delighted, and major projects included a special-needs school swimming pool, followed by a community swimming pool.  This work has given us considerable expertise in disabled provision and health and safety requirements

Core Business: House Extensions

Many of our projects are house extensions. Our clients remark on our interpersonal skills and our ability to negotiate with planners, neighbours, builders and building control inspectors.  Sometimes, householders retain us to negotiate with with the housebuilder to “make good” snags, long after the builders sold the dwelling.

Speciality: Listed Buildings

A particular speciality is working in conservation areas, refurbishing and extending listed buildings. This requires interpersonal skills, to discuss solutions with all the interested parties. Nevertheless, a wealth of experience and technical knowledge enables us to produce viable solutions. In addition, we are delighted to provide ad-hoc advice.

For instance, we are the architect for a major Cambrige private school, that’s located within a conservation area. We have designed additional classrooms, and  squash courts with one of the largest grass roofs in Cambridge.  These developments blend into the original buildings, without looking pastiche

Our Architects Approach: We work  with all interested parties - parents, the council and the Windmill School to build a Hydrotherapy Pool for Special Needs Children
Working with all interested parties: Hydrotherapy Poll for Special Needs Children
Working with local planners: Extension at listed property, designed by Tim Bonavia at AABD.
Working with local planners: extension at listed property