We take our enjoyment seriously

As a practice we’ve had more than two decades to hone our processes so that they combine depth of thinking with a fresh and enthusiastic consideration of each design problem.

Design Process

We begin each project from first principles, looking to establish what is most important for the client, the place and the people who will be affected by it.

Testing a range of possible solutions from the outset underpins our approach. This exploration extends to the organisation of the building through to the materials and components that the building is made from.

We also integrate thinking of how each project behaves in use. In particular, we develop designs that carefully minimise the use of energy and the release of carbon dioxide over the life of the building or neighbourhood.

The practice has devised a weekly design review that looks at all aspects, large and small, of each project and uses this critique to refine a design. We can be working, at the same time, on an entire building at 1:500 scale and a corner of it at 1:1 to make sure it is working on every level.

We explore options and test them using illustrations, sketches and models. Our in-house modelling workshop, with its 3D printing facility, allows us to quickly produce physical working models from concept stage onwards.

And while we are thinking about the aesthetics and space-planning of a project, our specialists are option-testing the best structural and servicing solutions, landscaping or determining any necessary proto-typing.

Because all aspects of a project are being considered together, the architecture that results is not only of a higher quality but can be delivered efficiently and at a lower cost.

Strategic Thinking

Not all our work is about designing buildings; our clients value us for our strategic thinking. For example, we often work with ambitious developers who are creating new communities rather than individual buildings. We work alongside these organisations to create a vision for what these places might be as well as providing the masterplan to build them.

Based on our extensive experience of making places and buildings, we can also offer guidance, on whether a development idea works. This has led to enduring relationships with clients such as universities and hospitals who have particularly complex estates to shape.

Under our own steam, we have developed proposals for cities that have been adopted by councils, notably our close working relationship with Birmingham City Council and with the London Boroughs of Newham and Southwark.

Our work on infrastructure planning and connectivity has led to commissions related to the HS2 rail connection from London to Birmingham and, also at a national level, with the Ministry of Justice on a strategy for court buildings across the country.