Cox Power Architects, Westport, Co Mayo

Cox Power Architects (CPA) is a leading architecture practice which undertakes a wide range of work in Ireland and internationally.  The practice was founded in 1988 in Westport, Co. Mayo and is registered with the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland (RIAI).  Owned by John Cox and David Power there are currently six people working in the practice. We spoke to David Power to find out what it’s like to run an architecture practice in the Western Region of Ireland.

 

What is unique about what you do?

We are driven by an awareness of individual client needs, the fundamentals of good design and continued technical expertise.  We have received national and international recognition for our work.  It has been exhibited and published widely, most notably at the RIAI Architecture Awards, the Irish Housing Conferences, RIBA London and the 2012 RIAI Showcase exhibition in Shanghai.

 

Is your location important to your creativity?

We’re based in Westport so of course our environment has a huge impact on our creativity.  Westport offers great inspiration with its high architectural quality, thriving arts festival and dynamic population.

What inspires you / do you have creative role models?

Good architecture based on modest means that is truly creative without excess and extravagance inspires us. Architecture in regional areas (where site costs and client budgets are often lower) challenges architects to look for true creativity by being innovative, responding to the client’s needs and maximising what the building’s location has to offer.

Creative role models include:

- Peter Zumthor who works out of a small studio in Haldenstein Switzerland (pop 1,000).
- The architecture of the Vorarlberg region in Austria. This region features contemporary architecture on its tourism website.
- Glenn Murcutt an architect based in Australia who produces work that is “highly economical and multi-functional”. He grew up in the Morobe Province of Papua New Guinea, where he developed an appreciation for simple, vernacular architecture.

How did you learn and acquire the skills you use to make your business successful? How do you continue to grow and learn?

Experience in the field of architecture is the most important way to learn the skills of an architect! Before graduation I worked for a year in Switzerland and took a further year out of my studies to work in an Irish architectural practice before graduating in 1988 from UCD. After graduation I spent 2 years in Dublin before moving to Paris for 5 years.  I continue to learn formally through the RIAI which provides Continuous Professional Development courses to its members.

I learn informally through people I work with in the field of architecture – colleagues, clients and contractors.  I have also learned through my role as a Council member and Officer of the RIAI since 2006.

To maintain growth during the economic recession we have increased the range of services we offer and sought to increase the amount of exported services.

 

 What is your biggest business challenge?

Managing the downturn in the construction industry.

 

What are your plans for the future?

To increase the level of work in the export market. We also plan to continue to develop and use new technologies.

 

If you had to do it over again, what, if anything, would you do differently?

Nothing.