Ric Frankland, architect
Dwelle, Manchester architect Richard Frankland’s sustainable micro building, is turning heads and winning awards thanks to its eco credentials, adaptable design and good looks.
What does winning the Small House Of The Year award mean to Dwelle?
Dwelle was designed without a client and a specific brief, so winning the British Homes Award gives me confidence that what I’m doing is right, albeit that I’ve yet to make a sale.
Working without a brief or client must have been difficult. Any moments of doubt?
Financially it has been a strain. With regards to believing in continuing to develop the design, I have total faith in it. The turning point was getting a call to feature in the Grand Designs show last October; they wanted us to build one of the Dwelle buildings and we didn’t have one. So I contacted each of my supply chain and asked if we could get materials free of charge, which we did. The only material I couldn’t get hold of for free was the timber cladding, which I ended up paying for on my personal credit card.
My main interest is creating architecture that I can continually improve upon. I didn’t want to create one building to suit everyone, because everyone is different.
What inspires you as an architect?
My main interest is creating architecture that I can continually improve upon. With one-off or bespoke projects, when you hand over to the client there’s not really much more you can do. Dwelle is more like an iPhone or the new Mini; it’s continually improving with each generation and, like with the Mini, it can be personalised. I didn’t want to create one building to suit everyone, because everyone is different.
What are the tools of your trade?
All I need is laptop and a phone. Most of the information I need is on the Internet and I can file things as pdfs; I’m trying to be paperless although I do still use a sketch book. I don’t have an office now that it’s just me [Frankland previously ran the small practice FKDA], and I don’t really need one. I’m based at home but I prefer to work in the city centre, usually around the Northern Quarter; I cycle in every day from West Didsbury.
What’s keeping you busy?
Fee earning work with a client always has to take precedence, so several weeks could go by without me working on Dwelle. I’m currently doing a refurbishment of a 15-storey tower block in Liverpool for a private developer, as well as a couple of house extensions and a new-build eco house. I’m hoping to build a Dwelle as a showroom/office on a site in Altrincham before the end of the year and there’s a lot of serious interest in the project. There’s plenty to be getting on with.
For more information on Dwelle go to www.dwelle.co.uk
Images: Dwelle at last year’s Grand Designs Live; Dwelle interior; Ric Frankland, Dwelle’s designer.
Ric Frankland was talking to Chris Sharratt