Our Origins

From the kitchen table, to some 200+ buildings later

Building on success

Josh is passionate about maintaining the ethos that attracted him to vHH originally, focussed on quality, and keeping the practice reasonably small while expanding the range of clients and the complexity of the projects we take on.

‘As Directors we found a natural affinity with the ethos of the practice and each other, and it was wonderful to be working in an environment where we were free to create change and influence its direction.’James MCCOSH (josh), PARTNER




Family Values

vHH was set up by husband and wife Birkin Haward and Jo van Heyningen in 1977. They worked from the family home for 20 years, before moving to Burghley Yard in anticipation of expanding the practice. By then they had been joined by Meryl Townley, who was shortly followed by Chris Wilderspin and James McCosh (Josh). These three architects went on to become Partners in 2005, ultimately succeeding Jo and Birkin. This continuity has kept the core values of vHH firmly in our sights and makes us who we are as a practice.


‘The fact that Jo and Birkin always designed from the perspective of those who would be using the building was attractive to all of us when we joined vHH, and is something that we still passionately believe in.’niamh cronin, associate

At Burghley Yard, and now too in Harmood Street, our sense of community and collaborative working continues. We still appreciate the benefits of making time to stop in the middle of the day, to eat and to talk – not just about work.