Haworth Tompkins wins AJ100 Practice of the Year 23.06.22

Haworth Tompkins has been named AJ100 Practice of the Year 2022, for the second time in three years. Read the full story here from AJ's Emily Booth:

"Judges were fulsome in their praise of the practice, the overwhelming winner of this year’s AJ100 Practice of the Year accolade. ‘It’s a forward-thinking, genuine practice and a well-deserving winner – impressive on all fronts,’ they enthused.

Accountability was mentioned time and again: ‘It is aligning with all its principles to create an authentic environment where people prosper and thrive – and it is holding itself to account with its move to an Employee Ownership Trust,’ said one judge. ‘It has a comprehensive and accountable approach,’ said another.

No stranger to the Practice of the Year award (the studio won in 2020, when it was also named New Member of the Year), Haworth Tompkins has proclaimed a ‘bumper’ 30th anniversary year, with turnover increasing from £7 million to £10 million and its headcount of qualified architects rising from 53 to 62.

It has implemented a successful hybrid working model and an important strategic change has been to improve its gender split at leadership level with the appointment of two new female directors (Lucy Picardo and Joanna Sutherland) and a new female associate director. Forty-two per cent of its architects are women. Nearly 10 per cent are from a black or minority ethnic background. As a founding signatory of Architects Declare, it plays an active role in the organisation.

Project-wise, Haworth Tompkins has diversified its international work, with new commissions in Perth in Western Australia and Bergen in Norway, in addition to work in New Zealand, the USA and Sweden. It has won work in its core sectors of performing arts, housing and education – and, importantly, also in new sectors of masterplanning (Queen Mary University), industrial densification (Albert Island in the Royal Docks) and workplace.

Completed project highlights range from its Theatre Royal Drury Lane refurbishment right down to the small Punchdrunk temporary theatre in Woolwich. Projects currently on site are diverse, including housing (Wood Street and Blackwall Reach) and work for Pembroke College and Barking Industria (a stacked industrial brownfield development).

Addressing the climate emergency is central to the practice’s thinking. Its approaches are significant and include: a sustainability and regenerative design working group which produces and reviews its in-house toolkit; all projects being designed to meet net zero by 2030; and publishing its post-occupancy evaluation reports on its website. It assesses the whole-life carbon in projects and guides clients to use this is as part of the services engineering scope of work. It advocates that all clients appoint an ecologist on projects.

Haworth Tompkins has also firmly embedded equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) into its business plan. Among myriad initiatives, it monitors the demographics of applicants so it can tailor job adverts as required, proactively advertises via diverse networks, and has developed a transparent recruitment process. The studio carries out an annual diversity report with recommendations and targets, has established EDI groups, and has signed up to the NLA Diverse Leaders Pledge and the RIBA Inclusion Charter. It is an active member of the Architecture Race Forum.

Quite simply, as our judges said: ‘It’s a comprehensive approach to practice management and excellence.’"

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