Architectural Design. Q&A With Nicon Built Architect John Caporaso

At Nicon Built, we pride ourselves on building architecturally designed homes that exceed our client’s expectations. This is in part thanks to John Caparaso, our in-house principal architect and project manager.

John has worked in the design and construction industry for many years and has a wide range of experience in multi-level commercial buildings, high-end residential homes and everything in between. He joined the Nicon Built team after running his own design and build business in SA for nearly two decades.

We recently had a chat with John to talk all things architectural design and garner his top tips for building a successful architectural home. Keep reading to hear what he had to say.

Nicon Built: What’s trending in home design in 2021?

John Caporaso: It’s really hard to pinpoint at the moment as Covid has impacted the architecture industry greatly, with many firms currently not active. However, the construction industry has seen a boom in additions and renovations – especially with homeowners after contemporary designs, which work seamlessly with character or heritage homes.

Nicon Built: How do you think this will change as we enter a new year?

John Caporaso: I don’t think much will change until the industry regenerates itself and architects can meet face to face with clients. We’ve found that these one-on-one meetings help clients feel comfortable and that their project is in safe hands. It also helps normalise the process, with an architect explaining in layman’s terms how their ideas will translate into home designs.

Nicon Built: What’s the most common question you hear from clients when designing a home?

John Caporaso: Most clients are pretty attuned to their needs, and by the time they present these to us, they already have compiled a compendium of thoughts and wishes. Oftentimes clients are wanting to have it all – my usual response to this is “what is your budget?” before looking at what we can or cannot accommodate on their wish list. Sometimes it’s a difficult discussion, especially when a client has their mind set on a design but doesn’t necessarily have the budget to fulfil those wishes.

Nicon Built: Do you have any tips for people looking to design a heritage renovation?

John Caporaso: Generally heritage renovations require a client to decide on how far they want to go with restoration work, and the existing style of the home. Do they want to simply create a replication of the home’s original heritage style and features? Or do they want to add something new? 

My general advice is to focus on certain elements of the heritage typology, but don’t get caught up in the full reproductions, as this in most cases will be extremely expensive and generally look a little pastiche. I generally like to blend contemporary with heritage, while being sympathetic to the original character but bringing the home into the 21st century.

Nicon Built: For those embarking on a new architectural home build, what should they prioritise in the design?

John Caporaso: Their brief should focus primarily on two things – accommodation level and budget. The actual design usually evolves from these, so they needn’t be too focused on the home’s aesthetics just yet.

Nicon Built: What are some of the benefits of engaging a builder with an in-house architect?

John Caporaso: The greatest benefit is the ability to deal with both practitioners under the one roof. I find that the input from the builder during the design process is invaluable. They help ensure that the budget constraints are addressed and that any possible conflict at the

the building contract stage is eliminated.

Simply put, by working with both a builder and architect from the earliest stages will ensure that your home is designed to perfectly suit your needs and won’t blow your budget.


At Nicon Built, we take the hassle out of building your dream home. Working closely with our in-house architect John Caporaso and builder Nick Kafkalas, you’ll be able to create a truly custom home that reflects your modern lifestyle. Get in touch today to talk through your ideas.

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