HPA trip to Mary Arnold-Forster Architects | HPA | Team

Professional Engagement and Discovery: HPA trip to Mary Arnold-Forster Architects

Last week, some of the HPA team had the privilege of visiting MAFA, an architectural practice that stands as a beacon of inspiration in the world of rural residential design. This extraordinary experience allowed us to gain insight into the practice philosophy and witness first-hand the remarkable creations that have emerged from the studio.

Based in Dunkeld, a town in Perth and Kinross, Scotland, members of the MAFA team, Dug and Matt, extended a warm welcome to us on our arrival. Their passion and deep understanding of their work were evident as we delved into the practices design ethos. Wholeheartedly engaging with a profound understanding for location, the vernacular and tradition, in order to discern the essential elements and potential inherent in a design, with the ultimate goal of achieving a sense of simplicity and a seamless blend with the natural environment. This approach is characterized by its modesty and restraint, in stark contrast to the often imposing nature of contemporary design. It offered a refreshing perspective that underscored the core principles of architecture firmly rooted in the landscape, history, and local culture.

The creative hub of MAFA – the studio, fostered creativity and innovation. One of the highlights of our visit was the opportunity to witness the meticulous design process, precision and attention to detail undertaken, including model making and detailed drawings created for each project.

A key aspect that emerged from our discussions was the practice’s dedication to sourcing materials, trades and services locally, contributing to the establishment/continuation of self-sustaining rural communities. It’s inspiring to see how architecture can be a catalyst for positive change beyond and in addition to its aesthetic appeal.

During our visit, we were also invited to see Mary’s own residence, a tranquil haven nestled within the landscape. The home exuded a sense of calm, with a captivating courtyard garden, that seamlessly integrated with the natural surroundings. An exquisitely designed space, a vision of quiet, modest architecture.

Esme – HPA Design Studio Assistant said of the visit:

MAFA continues to shape the architectural landscape of Scotland, serving as a testament to the studio’s unwavering conviction in crafting spaces that harmonize with the surroundings and the rhythms of daily life.

MAFA team are not only architects, they are custodians of a design philosophy that intertwines architecture with the very essence of life.

Feeling inspired by MAFA and their practice, the HPA team are eager to bring their new knowledge and understanding of designing in harmony with the natural and cultural landscape into all their future projects.

Find out more about HPAs rural residential work: https://www.hpa.ltd/sectors/housing-hpa/

Images via and for more information on Mary Arnold-Forster Architects: http://maryarnold-forster.co.uk/

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