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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Today marks the release of The Deck Access Housing Design Guide by Rory Olcayto and Andrew Beharrell. Focusing on the contemporary use of deck access housing it shares practical guidance, provides in-depth case studies, and presents historical context on this evolving housing type. Silchester, our major urban regeneration for Peabody in west London, is featured amongst the selection of contemporary housing in the UK and throughout mainland Europe, along with projects by Pollard Thomas Edwards, Maccreanor Lavington, Levitt Bernstein and many more.

Plans for the transformation of Smithfield Birmingham have been submitted for planning approval, following an extensive consultation on the proposals. The regeneration of Smithfield, an area in Birmingham city centre known for its rich trading history, is a joint venture between Birmingham City Council and Lendlease and we have been working with them both on one of the plots within the Prior and Partners masterplan. A decision on the planning submission is expected in 2023 and, if approved, construction on site would begin later this year.

Our plans for Aylesbury Estate have been approved by Southwark Council. We have been working with lead architects and masterplanners Maccreanor Lavington, and alongside the other three plot architects Sergison Bates, East and Architecture Doing Place on Phase 2B providing 614 homes, including maisonettes and flats in courtyards, mansion houses and a tower. This complex scheme is now awaiting final approval by the Mayor of London, with projected completion in 2029.

Work is starting on site for the major redevelopment of Theatr Clwyd in north Wales. The theatre, built in 1976 and Grade II listed in 2019, will be reconfigured and updated by repurposing the existing fabric and demolishing and replacing only what is necessary to enable the organisation to expand its role as Wales’ biggest producing house. A temporary venue situated next to the building, complete with auditorium and bar, is allowing them to present a full programme throughout the works. Once complete, the theatre will provide multiple possibilities for performance, music and community support uses throughout the day and throughout the year.

The undisputed high point of 2022 has been welcoming everyone back to the studio after two years of pandemic induced disruption. Other highlights include winning the AJ100 Practice of the Year for the second time in three years and being named BD Higher Education Architect of the Year. We celebrated the completion and launch of five projects: the new auditorium @sohoplace, King’s House – a community church opened by King Charles earlier this month, Agile Workspace for Kingston University, One Cartridge Place for Punchdrunk in Woolwich, and the Trampery Workspace and final phase at Fish Island Village. We won another batch of awards including a Housing Design Award for Fish Island Village, NLA Masterplanning Award for Albert Island, the Theatre Building of the Year at the Stage Awards (our fifth in seven years) and a Chicago Athenaeum International Architecture Award for Theatre Royal Drury Lane,and a Planning Award for Gardner Close. 2023 will see a number of project completions including Malmo Stadsteater in Sweden, Barking Industria, Blackwall Reach, phase one of Pembroke College Cambridge, and the Lightroom for the London Theatre Company which opens with the new David Hockney exhibition early next year. We’re looking forward to 2023 and wish all our staff, clients and collaborators a very Happy New Year.

Haworth Tompkins is now working with the London Borough of Newham on its plans for Canning Town Old Library; to redevelop and refurbish the Grade II listed building as a new hub for heritage and digital learning, a process which involves close consultation with the local community. The Victorian library is historically significant having played an important role in the creation of the trade union movement in Britain. The library service was relocated to Custom House and Canning Town Community Neighbourhood Centre and Library in 2017, and HT will be leading a multi-disciplinary team to bring the building back into public use for the first time since then. A planning and listed building consent application will be submitted in summer 2023 with completion targeted for winter 2024.

@sohoplace has been shortlisted for Theatre Building of the Year at the 2023 Stage Awards. Held annually to celebrate achievements in West End, regional and fringe theatre, the ceremony takes place on January 30 at last year's winning venue, Theatre Royal Drury Lane. HT designed the auditorium in collaboration with Charcoalblue, Tait and Arup, while the rest of the building is by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris. Haworth Tompkins has also previously won this category with our work at Battersea Arts Centre, the Bridge Theatre, NT Future and the Liverpool Everyman. @sohoplace opened in September this year and their second production, As You Like It, is now playing.

We started monitoring our office carbon footprint in 2019 as part of our commitment to reducing our environmental impact. From April 2021 - April 2022 we estimate usage of 74 tonnes CO2e, or approximately 0.66 tonnes CO2e/person. This compares with 67 tonnes CO2e (0.65 tonnes per person) in the previous year, and 73 tonnes CO2e (0.9 tonnes per person) in 2019. The overall increase is due to a rise in staff numbers and more project related travel, while the carbon footprint per person is comparable to last year. Read the report here.