This week marks 20 years since Hughes Architects turned from a dream into a reality for our founder and managing director Doug Hughes.
Today, he explains how one of Mid Wales and Shropshire’s leading architectural and planning practices came into being.
Funny how life works out isn’t it?
20 years ago on this very day my life changed forever. In 1999, I had left a great job in Wimbledon and returned to Mid Wales to join a small architectural practice with a view to running it myself one day. I moved with my young family to follow my dream. Local boy returning home.
But the dream did not go as intended and on June 30 2001, after betting all on this adventure, it all fell apart when without warning I was told I was ‘no longer part of the plan.’ Words which I will never forget.
And so it began
So what to do? Return to London or follow the dream? So on this day in history, my company-Hughes Architects- was born. I started working out of the old en- suite (WC and bath removed by the way!) in my old house in Llandinam (see photo).
20 years later and the figures are way beyond what my 30-year-old self could ever have imagined. Over 1500 houses extended, 900 new houses built, 120 Listed Buildings refurbished. Add to this 12 schools, 3 churches, 14 offices, 1 abattoir, 1 bowling alley, 3 cinemas, 2 galleries, 8 hospitals, 5 museums, 16 hotels, 12 pubs, 17 shops, 1 food bank, 86 barn conversions, 1 pier, 9 surgeries, 4 warehouses, many tree houses, pods and log cabins, and of course, 1 cat hotel!
We now have 3 offices and own 2 of the buildings in which our studios are located. We are no longer just architects- we have an engineer, planning consultants, a conservation architect, an energy advisor, a trainee accountant, interior designers and 2, soon to be 3, apprentices.
We have trained 4 architects, 12 technologists and 1 extreme ironer! In those 20 years we have employed over 70 local people and sponsored 18 local charities too.
Shortlisted Welsh Architectural Firm of the Year
We have now been nominated for Welsh architectural practice of the year and are down to the final 4- it’s quite the accolade for a business that came from such small beginnings.
Sometimes things in life cannot be explained. I have not been back to Llandinam since 2001. So, what was my last appointment today? A new enquiry on the same street as where Hughes Architects was born 20 years ago on this very day in that village!
It goes without saying that none of this would be possible without my fantastic family- Hayley, Rowan, Faith, Darcy and Bertie, but especially my folks who have been by my side every step of the way. I couldn’t have done it without you Hughes family!
I also could not have done it without my loyal staff, and of course, our wonderful clients- all 2427 of you.
Thank you, thank you all. Here’s to the next 20!