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A significant portion of our work is with charitable bodies and local authorities. This work often requires us to understand and address complex briefs and the sensitive nature of the clients work at SERICC Crisis Centre is an example. Here creative consultation with counsellors and users ensured delivery of an appropriately designed centre which is both supportive and welcoming. Other community projects have benefited from similar consultative methods.
We are keen that our designs capture a sense of place and local identity. We see architecture as a process of place-making, so it's important to us to try and understand also the place that surrounds it and reflect this in the final design. As a result each of our buildings have distinctive qualities that respond both to a sense of place as well as our clients’ ethos and the people who use them.
As well as many award winning one-off houses, our practice has used what we have learnt to research new housing typologies that challenge the conventions of the British house building industry and set new standards in the residential mass market. As evidenced by a range of larger commissions, our approach is flexible, value driven and can respond to specific site constraints and local identity.
Buildings should be fun and there is always a sense of playfulness in our work. Changes in scale, volume, texture, light and colour create spaces that not only surprise and delight but also give a wider range of opportunities as to how they are inhabited and enjoyed.
We have worked with a range of institutions: from art colleges, universities and galleries through to individual artists and curators to provide gallery and exhibition spaces, studios, education facilities and exhibition design. Some of our clients are: South Bank Centre, University of the Arts London and Charity Providence Row.
We think the natural environment can act as inspiration as well as context. Buildings should sit in not on the landscape, which doesn’t mean they should hide away, just that they should respond to it. Buildings can also literally become the landscape either by being built into it or by creating surfaces and spaces that become a natural habitat – our Habitat House being a further exploration of this.
We think the different themes that inform our work – design to surprise and stimulate, a sense of place, a link to a shared history and narrative - are especially suited to creating inspiring learning and play environments. More so than many other sectors achieving this on tight budgets is the challenge we have risen to particularly for our work at Central St Martins and Thurrock Council.
Cities should be vibrant places with buildings, streets and neighborhoods able to accommodate a wide mix of activities and lifestyles. Likewise, places of work and commerce should be flexible and stimulating spaces not bland boxes. In our work we try to design for this, and always within a wider framework of good value user orientated design.
Architecture is not just for people, it is shaped by them. We are interested in how people inhabit and use buildings and the spaces around them, and what stories they have to tell. We work with the users and the wider community to understand the social context as well as undertaking thorough historical and topographical research in order to generate designs. Making these narratives apparent in our projects is important to us.
We have a wealth of experience working with buildings that are of historical or architectural importance, including work on existing Grade I, II, and II* listed buildings. We think that in many cases the option to imaginatively reuse and adapt buildings is not only more sustainable but also important in retaining a sense of place and the layering of history.