Meet the architectural team

Helen Needham

RIBA Chartered Architect and Architectural Department Manager

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Helen Needham BA (Hons), PG Dip Arch, ARB, RIBA, Dip Mngt

RIBA Chartered Architect and Architectural Department Manager

Profile

Helen has over 18 years of Architectural experience gained in practices across Lincolnshire, Devon, London, Sussex, and Surrey. Having worked on many projects of varying contract sums, and through all RIBA Work Stages, she realised her vocation lies in designing oak-framed homes after working on Listed buildings, residential masterplans and new houses for self-builders and commercial property developers.

Helen qualified as an Architect in 2008 and joined Oakwrights in April 2015 to help build the Architectural Design Team and strengthen Client services. Helen oversees all work stages in the Architectural team, although she specialises in Pre-application and Planning application design.

Education

Originally from Lincolnshire, Helen went to Brighton University gaining a BA (Hons) Degree, and Postgraduate Diplomas in Architecture, Management, Practice, and Law, with RIBA Parts 1 to 3. Later, Helen gained a Management Diploma through Worcester University.

Craig Alexander

RIBA Chartered Architect

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Craig Alexander BSc, MArch, ARB, RIBA

RIBA Chartered Architect

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Prior to working at Oakwrights, Craig gained experience in practices across Bath, and Dorset, focusing largely on residential design. He has wide-ranging practical experience of on-site construction work, including self-build extensions and renovation work.

Craig has recently had the opportunity to extend his experience into Passivhaus design after working on the detailed design, tender, and on-site contract administration of a Certified Passivhaus project.

Education

Craig qualified as an Architect in 2018, and joined Oakwrights in the same year, having completed all three parts of his RIBA training at the University of Bath. This included a BSc Hons Degree in Architecture with RIBA Part 1, a Masters in Architecture with RIBA Part 2 and a Post Graduate Certificate in Professional Practice, the RIBA Part 3.

Abhishek Chacko

RIBA Part II Architectural Assistant

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Abhishek Chacko BArch, MArch

RIBA Part II Architectural Assistant

Profile

Abhishek has been a part of the Oakwrights team since January 2018.  As an Architectural Assistant, Abhishek brings a wealth of Architectural design experience having had the opportunity to travel through his academic career where he engaged in a continuous learning process through various design projects.

Abhishek’s first project at Oakwrights was for a multi-build site in North Herefordshire where he has worked closely with the team assisting with 3D modelling and renderings of several of the houses and overall site masterplan.   Working on many bespoke designs, Abhishek has become proficient in the different processes involved in oak-framing, preparing him nicely for his growing role within our In-House Architectural Design team

Education

Abhishek completed his B(Arch) Architecture Degree from YCMOU, India in 2014. At which point he was given the opportunity to do a placement year in Freiburg, Germany where he was able to broaden his understanding of Architectural practice internationally. He then moved to the UK where he gained his Masters in Architecture, RIBA Part 2, from the University of the West of England, Bristol.

David Bryan

Architectural Designer & Certified Passivhaus Consultant

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David Bryan

Architectural Designer & Certified Passivhaus Consultant

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David originally joined Oakwrights in October 2005 as an Estimator under the watchful eyes of its founders, Tim Crump and Nick Price, eventually working his way through to a more technical and design-based role.

Coming from a background of Mechanical Engineering and Technical Sales within industries such as petro-chemical, aeronautical, automotive and furniture manufacturing, David has a history of working with technical drawings and specifications. The attention to detail required within these industries is apparent in his desire to analyse the intricacies of the thermal performance of our buildings.

Education

David’s interest in modern methods of construction sparked his interest in the principles of PassivHaus and led to him qualifying as a Certified PassivHaus Consultant in 2014.  As a result, David had the opportunity to be involved in the design of the UK’s first oak-framed PassivHaus alongside a Client’s external Architect. David continues to be involved in such projects with Clients when required.

Mariyana Hartland

Chartered Architectural Technologist

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Mariyana Hartland MCIAT

Chartered Architectural Technologist

Profile

Having gained 12 years of detailed knowledge of oak-framing, Mariyana joined the Oakwrights Architectural Design Team in 2016, where she combines her experience of creating beautiful designs with the technical ability to build forever homes for our Clients.

Mariyana has successfully worked on gaining Planning Permissions and Building Regulations Consents for Oakwrights bespoke house designs, as well as multiple build sites around the country.

Education

Mariyana completed her Master’s degree in English in 2001 as well as a Postgraduate Certificate in the Built Environment Studies in 2017, and became MCIAT qualified in 2018.

Lee Wilson

Architectural Technologist

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Lee Wilson CIAT

Architectural Technologist

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Lee joined Oakwrights in 2006 initially to produce Building Regulation drawing packages, but since then his role has evolved to include technical details and specification. Lee has played a key role in the development of the Architectural services we offer to our Clients. From being heavily involved in the standardising of detailing systems to his pivotal role within our In-House Architectural Design Team, Lee has gained invaluable experience in the craft of oak-framing and the relationship between it and modern building practices.

Lee’s first project for Oakwrights was working on our very own ShowHome, The Woodhouse, where Clients have the opportunity to stay and experience living with oak. Originally Lee was tasked with developing drawings for a working staircase however this grew into developing a full set of Building Regulation drawings, not only for The Woodhouse, but for the whole Woodhouse range.

Education

Lee became an Associate member of the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists in 2015.

Darren Blackwell

Regional Architectural Designer

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Darren Blackwell

Regional Architectural Designer

Profile

Darren first experienced the world of design as a child, sitting at his father’s desk, watching in awe as he produced conceptual thumbnail sketches of a piece of exquisite jewellery a Client had commissioned for design and creation. 

Over the years, Darren became increasingly intrigued in the ways in which these ‘snippets’ became a true reflection of what was created, as if they were drawn as a still life of the finished article. With ‘balance’; proportion and symmetry, and attention to detail as the backbone of his practice, Darren embraces a Clients lifestyle-requirements to deliver a scheme of creativity, value, and environmental sustainability that will support the modern style of living.

Education

Following these fundamental principles, Darren has been designing exclusive homes for over twenty years as a Design Director of Oakland Vale. Joining the Oakwrights Architectural Design Team in 2003 he began specialising in the field of structural green oak framing, offering skills and experience in this area that very few others have attained in the construction industry.

John Williams

Regional Architectural Designer

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John Williams

Regional Architectural Designer

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John is a specialist in the design of the inimitable home. With consideration taken for traditional building materials and construction techniques, John’s designs take care to contemplate light, aspect, proportion, scale, texture and context. 

As part of the Oakwrights Architectural Design Team for more than ten years, John is fully conversant with the company’s systems and construction methods, ensuring a smooth process throughout your use of oak frame.

Education

John gained his MA Cantab Degree in Architecture from Cambridge University in 1997, working for several years after graduation at an Architectural practice based in the City. In 2003, John moved to Herefordshire to work for a company that specialised in the repair and conservation of historic buildings, where he was involved in projects for both English Heritage and The National Trust. Both these jobs gave him a good grounding in the use and detailing of traditional materials and techniques, including oak framing, lime mortars and renders, as well as period joinery and glazing, and he formed AJMW Design.

Pete Tonks

Regional Architectural Designer

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Pete Tonks

Regional Architectural Designer

Profile

Pete has almost 30 years of specialist self-build design knowledge and experience. His background as a bespoke home designer, specialising primarily in timber-framed building solutions, began with a design apprenticeship in 1984. For almost 20 years, Pete honed and refined his skills and learned how to design, specify, and build a wonderful collection of homes.

Education

Since starting his own business in 2003; PJT Design, Pete has been a member of the Oakwrights Architectural Design Team, catering for a wide cross section of our clients who require exceptional service with their self-build projects. Pete undertakes concept studies and feasibilities as well as design and submissions for planning applications.

Derrick Whittaker

RIBA Chartered Architect

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Derrick Whittaker ARB, RIBA

RIBA Chartered Architect

Profile

Derrick has been part of the Oakwrights Architectural design team since 2004, assisting the team at many stages of the Architectural Design process, including formulating the design brief, feasibility, and concept and detail design, as well as Planning and Building Regulation applications.

Derrick possesses an in-depth knowledge of the profession, a perspective honed as a senior member of design teams on projects as varied as retail, commercial, leisure, and restoration/historic Architecture. More recently Derrick has focused on private residential, specialising in oak and timber framing.

Education

Entering Architecture initially at a private practice in 1981, as an Architectural Technician he progressed to the Welsh School of Architecture in 1985 where he completed two Degrees before being elected to the RIBA as a Chartered Architect in 1992, and forming Derrick Whittaker Architects.

Craig Thomson

RIBA and RIAS Chartered Architect

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Craig Thomson ARB, RIBA, RIAS

RIBA and RIAS Chartered Architect

Profile

Craig joined the Oakwrights Architectural Design Team in 2014, as part of the Oakwrights Scottish division alongside his colleague Andrew. Based in Ayrshire, South of Glasgow, Craig has nearly 40 years of experience in architecture.

Craig leads a team of Architects, Technologists, and Technicians alongside his colleague Andrew. They provide invaluable support in the successful delivery of quality architecture, backed up with detailed technical information.

With a history of award-winning architecture achieved through strength of design, approachable attitude, and willingness to work closely with our clients, Craig and Andrew have always taken the view that the most important part of architecture is to listen to the clients’ wishes and go above and beyond these with their design abilities. With that in mind, they were a natural fit to partnering with Oakwrights.

Education

Craig qualified as an Architect in 1984, beginning his partnership with Andrew in 2004 as Thomson Hunter Architects.

Andrew Hunter

RIBA and RIAS Chartered Architect

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Andrew Hunter ARB, RIBA, RIAS

RIBA and RIAS Chartered Architect

Profile

Andrew joined the Oakwrights Architectural Design Team in 2014, as part of the Oakwrights Scottish division alongside his colleague Craig. Based in Ayrshire, South of Glasgow, Andrew has 19 year experience working in practice.

Andrew and Craig’s team provide invaluable support in the successful delivery of quality Architecture, backed up with detailed technical information. The team includes a mix of knowledgeable Architects, Technologists, and Technicians.

The team have gone from strength to strength, establishing a catalogue of excellent projects in locations throughout Scotland and Ireland. These projects have ranged from small extensions to complex self-builds but have also included housing developments featuring numerous dwellings as well as commercial buildings. Craig and Andrew offer a full service to self-builders in Scotland, taking the clients through the early stages of design to the submission of planning applications. Once planning approval is achieved, the team work closely with the Oakwrights Frame Designers to assist in developing the drawings into technical drawings for the purposes of obtaining a Building Warrant and fabrication of the oak frame itself.

Education

Andrew began his partnership with Craig in 2004 as Thomson Hunter Architects and qualified as an Architect in 2006.