We started off our collaboration, nearly twenty years ago, with a series of walks through the edges of London; since then, we have approached every project as an open-ended enquiry. We have no stock answers for how the change that our clients seek will translate into building; instead we find out through dialogue and adaptive design, helping progressive institutions realise their ambitions and reinforce their values. Whether adapting an old furniture factory for Amnesty or shaping the city plan for London’s Olympic quarter, we have always made the most of what is already there, adding judiciously to maintain the distinctiveness of each place but transform its capacity. We are now a small, skilled studio of seventeen, with Stephen, Chris and William still closely involved in the design and delivery of all projects.
Our best known building, Astley Castle for the Landmark Trust, won the 2013 RIBA Stirling Prize for its distinctive entwining of past and present. A minimal new structure salvages the historic remains of the castle, and makes rooms enriched by eight centuries of change. The project shows our inventiveness, our care and craft, and our ability to guide a client somewhere they wanted to go but weren’t sure how to get to.
The way we work – patiently, openly and collaboratively – equips us for a wide range of projects. We have built social housing, cultural buildings and public spaces, and prepared strategies for the renewal of large urban areas. We are currently designing for higher education, for small businesses, and for older people. We distil the complexities of contemporary collectives, of urban sites and public processes into durable, economical solutions that remain open to future change.