Jonathan Reeve is a chartered architect for the award winning Voigt Architects Limited in Arbroath, a small Chartered Architectural practice in Scotland. Originally from Northern Ireland, Jonathan studied Architecture at the Duncan of Jordanstown College of Art in Dundee, graduating in 2003. Having worked on wide range of projects from tiny balconies to multi-million pound housing developments, Jonathan is currently specialising in bespoke house extensions and private houses.
Having used SketchUp for over 15 years, Jonathan took some time to speak with us about how integral the software is to his work, his thoughts on architecture, and his favourite design projects.
Hi Jonathan. Tell us a little bit about Voigt Architects Limited and the work that you do.
What I love the most is the sheer variety of projects we undertake – from small to very large.
I really enjoy small extensions, and private one off houses are my favourite projects. Houses are so personal: it is someone’s life, their home, their ‘castle.’ I strive to produce good design, and seeing your creation built well makes a happy architect!
How did you get into architecture?
I wanted to be an architect ever since I was a child, from my ever growing obsession for Lego and creating/building things.
Architects are often seen as paper pushers or builder’s agents but making
buildings is a creative design process: Design always starts by hand (sketches). One of my favourite quotes from a tutor whilst studying architecture was to ‘keep buildings simple – you should be able to
sketch your design in 10 seconds using 10 lines.’
What are the benefits of using SketchUp in your design process?
I have used SketchUp for over 15 years now and love that it is so simple and quick to produce 3D models. These days so many people do not understand architectural drawings such as plans, sections etc, so being able to communicate your ideas in 3D is essential to our clients.
Do your have a typical workflow in SketchUp? What happens to the SketchUp model once the concept is approved?
Our typical workflow for most projects consists of producing a SketchUp model of the building (and often the site) as a key design tool, and one to present to the client at the initial stage.
Thereafter the SketchUp model will help in the design development and be used in the main planning drawings and application. Usually it then finishes when we develop the construction drawings but often the SketchUp model is used to check, test, and visualise technical elements and issues. It’s incredibly useful for our technical staff to check the construction drawings against the original design intent.
Do you collaborate with your customers using SketchUp?
I love producing 3D models to show clients inside their building before it is made. This had led to us dipping into animations and walkthroughs, and has really helped us not only sell our ideas but help our clients sell their houses/flats etc. A lot of our projects on our website now incorporate the 3D
animations alongside the 3Ds and photos of the building.
We often collaborate with our clients via the SketchUp model, and have sent out the 3D model for them to navigate and spin around at home using the SketchUp viewer. Domestic clients especially love this – being able to walk around and show off their new home to family and friends.
Can you share the details of some of the projects that you are most proud of?
One of the projects I am most proud of is the Leaf Room at Ninewells Hospital, The project was won following a national 2-Stage Architecture Competition to design a garden room at the hospital. It was a special one for me personally as I live very close to the site and my wife works at the hospital so it is a real community project. For such a small, humble project with a very low budget, it has been fortunate to pick up a few further architectural awards and in 2018 won the Scottish Civic Trust ‘Best Public Space in Scotland.’
If you weren’t an architect for a profession, what would you be doing instead?
When I was at school I worked in a graphic design studio as a school summer job and often thought of pursuing this if architecture didn’t work out for me. Thankfully I get to use my graphic design skills in architecture.