Our Ethos

Designing: What's important to us

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.

People

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.

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Places

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.  

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Purpose

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.

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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.


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