The way in which we design buildings is more a reflection of
the way in which we work with people, rather than an adherence to a particular
‘style’. Our key priorities are people, places and purpose.
At the start of each project we go out of our way to
engage with a broad range of people who will use the new building, as well as
the client. In the early stages we spend more time listening to the client and
end users than talking. We are convinced that good architecture can change
lives for the better, but only if we have understood from the outset how a
building will be used.
Our buildings are not isolated structures. We see a
new building as one element of an existing setting which is not simply
architectural but also spatial, cultural and historical. This can result in a
building which, although it responds sensitively to its context, is very
different from its neighbours.
We take a holistic approach to design. Often the
introduction of new buildings has thrown up the opportunity to reorganise and
consolidate sites, and to encourage clients to take a long-term approach to master
planning. The development of any site is as much about the spaces between the buildings,
as the buildings themselves.
Our buildings are a bespoke response to a
particular set of problems; a means to an end, not just an aesthetic exercise.
They are built to last and, because we are not interested in passing fashions
or trends, they don’t date; in fact they improve with age. We like our
buildings to have crafted, sculptural qualities that give them a certain
gravitas and presence, whatever the building’s function. Even if budgets are
cut and less expensive materials used, we ensure that detailing is at a high
level both inside and outside a building.
Legibility is important to us. In any of our buildings,
however large or complex, it is always possible to know where you are, due to
the clarity of the plan. We also concentrate on the acoustic qualities of
spaces, not just where acoustic separation is important as in a school or
performing venue. In our view acoustic design is as important as the
distribution of light and the circulation of air, in creating the most physically
and psychologically delightful environment.