After 11 years at Allies and Morrison, Simon May decided to set up practice as a Sole Trader. The experience he gained fronting many key residential projects gave him the confidence to venture out alone.
Simon had for sometime relished the challenges faced when started a new company. It was a steep learning curve to achieve success when acting alone after so many years relying on a large firms support structures.
Whilst early, SMA, projects were for the domestic market Simon has concentrated on residential commercial projects ranging, in project costs, from £400K - £3.5M.
Whilst at Allies and Morrison, he was project architect on a number of key residential projects. Amongst these was Barrier Park East; a seven building residential masterplan on a prominent site by the River Thames for Barratt East London. The brief for this scheme necessitates the delivery of high quality architecture within the restricted budgets of a volume house-builder.
Along side his team he achieved this through simple detailing and the clever use of cost-effective materials.
The scheme has required consultation with a number of stakeholders and interested parties, including the LB Newham, the GLA, DfL, TfL, the LDA, CABE and the Newham Design Review panel. He also carried out public con- sultation with a series of local residents groups and action groups.
Much of his work involved acting as client liaison, overseeing the project day-to-day from Project and Design team, to site and ensuring that it remains on programme and on budget.
Whilst at A&M, he was a member of the practice’s Housing Group, a group of key individuals who have worked on major housing schemes in the office and who come together to share information and lessons learned from these schemes. Together, the group have produced a Housing Design Guide for the practice.
Although much of the past 6 years have been residential lead, he worked on several other use projects. An example is the Finlay Building – an office building inserted between a series of medieval structures at Oxford University’s Merton College. Working on the detailed design of this scheme before taking it on site, carrying out regular site visits to monitor works. This office experience continued into Office 1, St Paul’s Place, Sheffield, a scheme involving sub-contractor co- ordination and regular site visits.
Simon’s final role was working as Project Architect on Aldgate Place, a large residential led mixed-use scheme in London’s city fringe.
The scheme incorporates a wide range of different uses, with three residential towers marking the northeast, south-east and south-west corners of the site, a small office building standing on the north-west corner, and a nine storey hotel occupying the centre.
While endeavouring to achieve this density it was important, at the same time, to secure the maximum possible amount of public open space within the site, space that would not only be designed to serve the practical needs of the incoming residents but would also reflect the broader, civic significance of the site in its wider physical and social context.