Top architects tell all: Will Alsop

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The Independent Online

Will is one of the UK's most prominent architects. He runs an international practice, SMC Alsop.

What should I look for when buying a property?

Value for money. The most important thing to consider when buying a home is it has got to be in a place you like. If you can find something that has a nice view it's a real asset.

And what should I avoid?

Bad neighbours. Avoid buying something where there is no room for manoeuvre. The great thing about Victorian houses is that they are very forgiving you can change a lot. If you buy a modern home they have generally been built in a way that's difficult to change.

At what point should I consult an architect?

If you have no imagination at all then it's a good idea to get some advice and mine would be that if you buy a new home, before you change anything, live in it for a few months so that you can understand how the sunlight works.

How do I bring more light into my house?

Having a small yard can really improve the amount of light you get inside your home. You can get large mirrors that will reflect light into your flat. If you have a dark corridor or room fluorescent lights can give the impression of natural light during the day. You can also get light tubes that go through the roof that gather light and force it into your home.

What's popular at the moment?

People tend to try and knock out as many walls as they can and have as open a living space as possible, but people should remember that separate rooms can very beneficial, particularly if you have children over the age of 12, as they generally listen to music you don't like.

Will Alsop's golden rules:

*Don't underestimate the importance of a good floor. A well-finished floor or even a nicely fitted carpet can bring a great deal of joy to a home.