Artful – Architecture & Design
- May 4th, 2023
- in Lifestyle
The founders of boutique architecture practice M+T AD, Andrew Montgomery and Steven Townsend believe there is a similarity in skill, precision and freedom of thought required to design and construct a building as there is in sculpting a piece of art.
It was 2004 when Andrew and Steven became friends at the Virginia Tech School of Architecture and Design. It was there, studying under the same professors, that the duo found cohesion in their design styles, subsequently taking up Virginia Tech’s Architectural and Design residency programme at the Villa Maderni in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland. This gave Andrew and Steven the opportunity to hone their contemporary design ethos and core philosophies, influenced by a European aesthetic.
After heading off in their own directions with different firms – Andrew as an associate in a small boutique firm with a broad scale of works from furniture design to million square foot plus redevelopment projects.
Steven managed the design and execution of projects ranging from bespoke residences to mixed-use and hospitality developments upwards of one million square feet.
After a few years they founded their own practice, which seemed like a natural next step borne out of a long-standing friendship and meeting of the minds, not to mention their down-to-earth approach to life.
Getting to know Andrew and Steven, what comes across is their unflappable nature and strong core philosophies: that buildings should last, details matter, spaces create experiences, architecture is sculptural and the importance of building individual and lasting relationships.
Steven also adds that the pair’s ethos is about working within the typography and landscape, which is so important in the Territory, with its mountainous geography. “It takes a special understanding of that to create beautiful living spaces that go with the land, instead of against it,” he says.
This le ads into a discussion around sustainability which is woven into every aspect of M+T AD’s design considerations.
“It very much depends on balancing what the client wants and helping them to make smart decisions through a collaborative process. For example system choices being solar or mechanical or helping them consider where the sun and wind is coming from – we just want to get the best possible result,” Andrew says.
“What is exciting to us is the fact that architecture is also about understanding how our clients want to live in their space. The spaces and the experiences that architecture creates can actually improve their quality of life,” he continues.
M+T AD’s introduction to the BVI was an initial project in Trunk Bay, Tortola. This project was a springboard into the Territory that has now become an integral part of M+T AD’s business, with two current projects under construction in the Trunk Bay neighbourhood, in addition to recently completed projects on Virgin Gorda.
Over time, Andrew and Steven have built a reputation for their bespoke approach to architecture and design. As we tour the incredible villa, Toad Hall, one of the pair’s projects currently under construction in Trunk Bay, Andrew outlines that they enjoy providing relationship-oriented, individual service and guiding their clients from conception to final handover.
“It’s just the two of us working directly with our clients and the construction teams, which is how we like to work,” he says.
As well as their various projects and speculative designs in Tortola, the pair enjoy working with the Oil Nut Bay Sales team to provide speculative work wherever required, to support the sales process.
“Our designs are created to provide ideas and inspiration to potential buyers for what they are considering buying into,” says Andrew. “This has been a longstanding, fruitful relationship for both M+T AD and Oil Nut Bay over the last 6-years,” he adds.
Sometimes these inspirations turn into full project commissions such as Constellations Estate which was a 5-year architectural and design labour of love. Andrew and Steven also recently completed the extension and full renovation of Xela (previously known as Jewel Box) at Oil Nut Bay. This six bed, six bath villa is described by Oil Nut Bay as “a premier BVI villa with distinct European flair.”
Over the years, the pair have gradually cultivated relationships throughout the region; a strong network of connections with Caribbean-wide industry partners such as CSE Engineering and BCQS International.
As to what the future holds, some other Caribbean territories that have synergies with the BVI such as Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda and Barbados could be in the works. We look forward to seeing what comes next for this team.
To reach out to Andrew and Stephen about your architectural and design project: