Sophia Godfrey

I was brought up on building sites as my dad is a builder, and my mum often worked with him. Summers were spent putting up stages at festivals. As we would be some of the first and the last on site, we would see a whole town constructed, populated and taken down again. Re-use of materials, self build, different ways of living (in caravans, tipis, wooden buildings, converted trucks) alternative energy and low impact lifestyles were all around me in the Welsh alternative community. It was not until I started studying architecture years later that I learnt that many people felt they had to hand the process of designing and building their home over to others.

sophieAfter grafting in many physical and manual jobs in my rural area, wwoofing and living in other countries, I realised that a lot of my interests came under the heading of architecture (which surprised me, having inherited negative associations from my parents!)

I began to study architecture at UWE Bristol in my mid 20s, and was very excited about the subject, especially the environmental and social aspects of design. After a few years I felt the course was straying away from my beliefs, and decided to leave the city and return to rural West Wales. I then studied CAD in more detail, as it seemed a useful trade.

I volunteered in many natural building projects including Rachel Shiamh’s Strawbale house (winner of the Grand Designs 2009 eco house award) and through this was lucky enough to meet Barbara and become a CAD technician for Amazonails in 2006.

I have enjoyed working in the design team, explaining the technology of strawbale building at Exhibitions, CPD sessions and giving talks at conferences for Amazonails and Straw Works.

Through learning about natural building materials used in strawbale construction ( the only materials used until the beginning of last century) I have become increasingly interested in traditional building, especially those built by ordinary people. I am a member of the Yorkshire Vernacular Building Study Group and attend courses run by the group, York university, and talks by historical societies.

I live on a narrowboat in the amazing Calder valley.