Designing the Dream
We all agree that Preston and the Fylde is a great place to live. Helen Sanderson spoke to Joel Firth about some of the beautiful and aspirational properties that he has designed in and around the area
Joel grew up in Cleveleys and was fortunate to get a scholarship to Rossall school, where his creative design and drawing abilities were nurtured. His dad was a teacher at the time also had an interest in property development which resulted in Joel spending most of his summer holidays working on renovation projects around the Fylde coast.
Joel said: “My interest in construction culminated when we built our family home and I have fond memories of going to site very early in the morning helping my dad dig foundations before going to school.”
After completing my university education Joel worked for a number of practices in London and Manchester before being invited to take on some private work in 2003 and shortly after set up the practice.
Over the last 18 years Joel has been very fortunate to be asked to work on interesting projects that have been challenging and rewarding. He explained: “I always strive to create unique designs that meet my client’s high expectations. My projects are often intuitive and expressive with an underlying balance and order, focusing on materials, lights on space. Having an empathy for the clients needs ensures that I create an appropriate and responsive architecture.”
There are ‘Firth’ projects all over our area but a couple that Joel is particularly proud of include 8 Church Drive in Lytham and Otter Bank, on the shores of Windermere. Joel explained: “The common element that is key to both of these projects is really the exceptional clients who’s ambitions I hope we’ve met and who’s patience and attention to detail I believe have made these properties stand out. It also goes without saying that without my team of talented and dedicated builders and craftsman, none of our projects would have been possible or finished to the high standard that has helped to build our reputation over the last 18 years.”
Recently Joel has also developed a commercial portfolio working on projects for a National Museum, Fylde Rugby club and Lytham Cricket and Tennis Club. He balances this commercial work with charity work for Boathouse Youth. The Boathouse Youth is a children’s charity based in Blackpool that provides positive recreational and educational activities for children and young people aged 5-17.
Joel explained that clients now often ask for a ‘firth’ project, and added: “I have been debating what this means and how I can provide this to our clients. I am inspired daily by this fantastic coastline we live on, we are blessed to be able to go on daily walks along the beach and respect for the environment is fundamental to my work. Current projects include zero carbon construction techniques and always improving properties to reduce energy consumption which is a seam through all of my work and my responsibility as an architect.”