While you might not know his name, Ben Cunliffe is behind some significant architectural designs and buildings in the county.

The award-winning architecture company has been designing properties in and around Cumbria since 2001.

They are based in the Lake District National Park and are no strangers to working on new builds, extensions and even commercial properties.

As a company, they describe themselves as “extremely environmentally conscious” which is reflected in their creations.

Ben embarked on his career path after developing a keen interest in arts and science at school.

(Facebook/Ben Cuncliffe Architects)

After two or three months working in the county he threw away his return ticket to London and has remained here ever since.

Since 2001, Ben and the rest of the Ben Cunliffe Architects team have been making dream properties.

One of Ben’s most memorable projects was the work done on Gilpin Lodge.

At the time, the work he was doing on Gilpin Lodge was revolutionary.

Times and Star: Gilpin Spa Lodges (Photo: Ben Cuncliffe Architects)Gilpin Spa Lodges (Photo: Ben Cuncliffe Architects)

He said: “They wanted 6 new suites and every one would have its own hot tub and private garden.

“At the time it was one of the most modern buildings at the Lake District National Park.”

However, some of Ben’s builds have been much more experimental.

As such, he went on to build Lake House Spa, which was one of the first pods in the woods.

Times and Star: Lake House Spa (Photo: Ben Cuncliffe Architects)Lake House Spa (Photo: Ben Cuncliffe Architects)

Ben added:“ At the time I said ‘I think we need a cube in the woods- something which had never been done before.”

Although modest in size, it manages to contain a reception area, bathroom, kitchenette and two treatment rooms which can be opened out into a single space with a sliding wall. The spa is accessed by a small bridge from the woodland path that leads to it.

The spa scooped the award for Best Innovative Design at the 2013 Northern Design Awards.

Another one of Ben’s proudest builds was Brigsteer Village Hall.

Times and Star: Brigsteer Village HallBrigsteer Village Hall

This build is designed with the environment in mind- the walls are fully insulated and the heating system is eco-friendly.

The village replaced a rarely used WW2 Nissen Hut that was donated to the village in the 1950s.

He said: “We were proud of that because it was a retirement village. We used lottery funding and worked with the community.

“Also, it’s a community building that is always fully booked.

“Everyone in Brigsteer says that building transformed it from a retirement village to one that attracts quite young people.”

Times and Star: Underbarrow pub (Photo: Ben Cuncliffe Architects)Underbarrow pub (Photo: Ben Cuncliffe Architects)

Other notable builds you might recognise across Cumbria include Underbarrow Pub (now recognised as The Black Labrador) in the heart of Underbarrow.

He fitted this pub with new kitchens, toilets and additional seating in the restaurant area.

This isn’t the only house Ben has worked on either.

While most projects take less than a year to complete others have taken longer.

Ben said the project that took the longest to complete was a private house in Oldswater. In total, it took three years to complete renovations on this property.

Internally, the home was quite impressive and has a million pound fit out with bespoke objects and furnishings.

When working on residential properties, Ben says architecture is more that just building work- it’s a “personal journey for the clients”.

Ben says that coming to the office and taking about their dream property is a “pleasant activity” for the clients.

He said: “Over the years, you do become quite emotionally attached to your clients- some of them even become friends.

“People ring up and tell us about their first Christmas in the house.”

Best of all, Ben’s homes are designed with comfort in mind.

While the properties are contemporary and “well designed”, what strikes the owners is how homely, relaxed and calm they feel.

Ben added: “When someone comes in to me and says- here is a million pounds build me a dream home they are instilling a lot of trust in you with a considerable amount of their life savings.

We design buildings not around how they look on the outside but how they can use that building.

“For instance we look at where the sun is going to be in the morning and where you are going to sit in the afternoon.

Coniston House is just one property in the company’s portfolio.

(Facebook/Ben Cuncliffe Architects)

It sits above the shores of Coniston in the Lake District.

It has an open plan design and balconies have been placed on both levels to make the most of the surrounding landscape and light.

This house stands out from the others as the main living room is on the upper floor and the vaulted ceilings and huge gable window maximise the atmosphere of airy space and light.

Ben added: “We love what we do- and It’s definitely less nerve racking now than when we first started out.

“It’s a stressful job- but incredibly rewarding at the same time.”

To learn more about the company's builds or to hire Ben Cuncliffe Architects for yourself, visit the company website.