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Martyn Pattie on his Ongar based architectural practice

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Decades in design

Absolutely shines the spotlight on Martyn Pattie and his Ongar based architectural practice

What inspired you to become an architect, and how has that initial passion evolved over your 38-year career?

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For me, the journey began with my young family life full of creativity and my own ability for sketching. While my career started as a surveyor, the architectural side of the business inspired my love for designing home extensions – a passion that would shape the landscape of my further education and career for decades to come.

From the beginnings of a small office above my garage, accompanied only by my cat, to owning a thriving medium-sized practice in central Ongar with over 14 talented staff, the evolution has been both personal and professional. Over the span of 38 years, I’ve witnessed the shaping and building of my career from crafting small home extensions to providing architectural design for large commercial buildings, all types and sizes of housing developments, listed buildings, new homes, and barn conversions in Essex.

In 38 years, you must have worked on numerous projects. Could you highlight one or two that you consider particularly impactful or memorable, and what made them stand out in your career?

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Pinpointing my most impactful project is a challenging task. However, The Orchard and the Kings Head Pub emerge as great success stories to me.

The Orchard is a testament to creative ingenuity. The challenge was to transform a modest bungalow into a stunning luxury family home. Confronted with a small structure and a sloping garden, the creative solution included the addition of sympathetic extensions and meticulous remodelling. The result is outstanding and a testament to the transformative power of architectural vision.

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The Kings Head holds a special place in the hearts of the Ongar community. The ‘old coaching inn’ stands as a timeless testament to the town’s rich history. However, the need for rejuvenation became evident. That’s when we stepped in, and is a project that the entire team takes immense pride in.

The addition of glazing across the original coaching inn arch doorway was a strategic move to create a warm and inviting reception area. The once-separate elements of the Inn now seamlessly flow together. To the rear of the Inn now stands a beautiful glass open-plan restaurant and kitchen with an abundance of natural light, this space is an example of the thoughtful design process. The warm interiors contribute to a comfortable dining room with panoramic views of the Ongar countryside. The goal was not just to renovate, but to celebrate the spirit of The Kings Head, ensuring that it continues to be a gathering place for the people of Ongar.

Architecture often mirrors societal changes. How have you seen the industry evolve over the years?

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The architectural landscape mirrors societal shifts, and my journey has been witness to a dynamic industry. Whilst it is true to say that home and building design will always change and evolve, the biggest transition has been the increased number of administrative obstacles that we now need to overcome. In the early years, achieving the ideal result and planning permission for a client seemed swift, unencumbered by the red tape and objectives that now define the planning process. This now emphasises the need for a qualified and knowledgeable team that is capable of navigating through changing restrictions, ensuring the best value for clients.

What is the most popular request by the local homeowners and developers of Essex and how have you adapted your design philosophy to stay current?


Due to the lack of land available in Essex, we see many buying homes in the best location, demolishing and building a new dwelling. We also have a big requirement to convert existing homes to have better open-plan living arrangements that connect with the garden. A place where families can interact within a nice space with a great aspect of the garden.

More and more homeowners are being empowered by social media, TV shows, and self-build magazines. These types of media show homeowners that they no longer need to live in a standard blueprint house and that possibilities for living styles are endless.

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In addition, moving costs in the UK are so high, that many homeowners prefer to improve their homes rather than move. This is achieved by building extensions, adding floors, and creating basements to maximise the homes they are in.

There are now so many amazing alternatives and high-quality products on the market that inspire homeowners to be more adventurous with their houses. Vaulted ceilings, exposed beams and super-sized glazing are no longer dreams but tangible possibilities, thanks to readily available and affordable materials.

It’s the job of the architect to be knowledgeable about the latest regulations, new architectural trends, and ideas whilst using the latest design technology. Collaboration with clients, turning their vision into reality, is the key to success. Some of our best jobs have been taking the client’s concept and applying our creative expertise. With trust and respect between both parties, this is often a winning formula.

You have always lived and had your business offices in Ongar, why is that? What is your favourite thing about Ongar life?


I see Ongar as the heartbeat and home of my life and business. Remaining firmly rooted where I was born, is a conscious choice. Ongar isn’t just a location; it’s a community. Through recessions, it’s the people of Ongar who kept my business alive.

It has been important to keep my practice here and offer our guidance and support where possible with local community projects. Having so much expertise in Essex and an understanding of local regulations makes our jobs slightly easier too.  

Living on the doorstep of the Essex countryside while having convenient links to London is a lifestyle I cherish. From a round of golf with friends at Blakes, to The Kings Head for a nice meal, and there is always a great pint to be had at The Forester’s pub in High Ongar. Ongar life is quite special for me and my family.

What advice would you give aspiring architects based on your experience in the field? 


Being an architect has been a wonderful and rewarding profession for me in so many ways. For those venturing into the world of architecture, I offer this advice: embrace ambition, seize every opportunity, and continually educate yourself. The industry evolves, but respecting its history and fundamentals is the key to great design. Let knowledgeable enthusiasm and passion be your guiding lights – they have the power to create not just buildings but legacies.

What legacy do you hope to leave behind as you celebrate 38 years in the business?


With 38 years in this profession, my hope is to leave a positive impact on Essex’s architectural landscape. Beyond bricks and blueprints, I hope to continue to have a thriving local business that supports the community and nurtures the next generation of architects and architectural designers. The journey has been rich with challenges and successes, and as I look ahead, I’m excited for the chapters yet to unfold in the ever-evolving world of architecture and for MP Chartered Architects.

For more information about MP Chartered Architects and their architectural services, visit 

Photo Credits: James Frid Photography @jamesfridphotography

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