On Site: Written in Water
On Site: Written in Water
—Written in Water, the site-specific artwork by William Cobbing is being installed at Fish Island Village. Comprising of a constellation of twelve cast iron plates embedded in the ground, they are integrated into the paving of the new development’s public square and yards, and embossed with quotes or local stories, creating a portal to the area’s past

References, reflections and studies capture the thinking, making and design stages within the studio

On Site: Pembroke rose window  
—Restoration has commenced of the stained glass windows within the Grade II listed former Emmanuel United Reform Church as part of our Pembroke College, Cambridge project. Whilst the William Morris stained glass will stay in place, the prominent rose window facing Trumpington Street will be carefully removed, sensitively restored, cleaned and reinstated. Once reinstalled, the window will brighten the new performance and lecture space
In the Studio: Virtual collaboration  
—When meeting in person is not possible, teams are using collaborative online whiteboard software to recreate the feel of a studio design review. Here showing design development of auditorium wall panelling for Trafalgar Entertainment in Olympia
In Progress: Sectional model  
—Putting the finishing touches on the 1:50 sectional model of the Old Vic Annex, made from finnboard and paper, for a public consultation
In the Studio: Studio design review  
—Socially-distanced design reviews are taking place in the office now. Getting some height to review drawings always seems to help
On Site: Modular Methods of Construction  
—We continue exploring modular methods of construction; at Blackwall Reach, facade panels have been entirely constructed off-site including window installation at the factory. Employing these methods often can result in significantly reduced build programmes, ensure more uniform quality control, and minimise wastage
In the Studio: Pembroke public art commission  
—Workshop with Associate Director Beatie Blakemore and artist Alison Turnbull, who has undertaken a public art commission for our project with Pembroke College, Cambridge. The ceramic mosaic, within the new Tom Stuart-Smith designed courtyard garden, relates to Alison’s research into Alfred Waterhouse and his work with the College. The artwork will sit in the centre of York stone paving which has been designed to create a Voronoi pattern, contrasting the formal pathways around the site.
In the Studio: Malmö model  
—Foam board and plywood model with paper details, showing the auditorium for Malmö Stadsteater
Study Trip: Porto, Hamburg and Zurich  
—Every year, Haworth Tompkins runs study trips to three different locations with rich architectural history, and invites everyone in the studio to come along. After these trips, we put together booklets to share with the practice what we have seen. Here is our record of 2017, and the three trips to Porto, Hamburg and Zurich. Click on the link, or the arrow, to view (visit link)
From The Archive: Competition image  
—Competition image for a housing and estate regeneration scheme in London, seeking to retain existing podium play spaces at ground and their connection to the landscape beyond, whilst upgrading and extending the towers that define the edges of each open space. Ink drawing, coloured and textured in Photoshop
On Site: Fluted Glazed Bricks  
—These yellow bricks, laid on a curve, will form the parapet level of the final two blocks in Fish Island Village Phase 3
Report: Housing Book  
—A Haworth Tompkins publication focussing on our approach to housing. Illustrating our masterplanning, regeneration, heritage and mixed-use projects we also explore ideas around social value, sustainability and innovative ideas (visit link)
In Progress: Working model  
—Working 1:50 façade model to test options; bringing urbanity and depth to our 150m long warehouse elevations at Albert Island
On Site: Stencilling on site  
—Fox stencil graffiti, popping up all over Fish Island Village
On Site: Maydew House strip out  
—Base of the Maydew House tower in Southwark, stripped out and ready for refurbishment
On Site: East London Metalwork  
—Powder coated aluminium metalwork detail from our Gardner Close project in Wanstead, due to complete later this month
On Site: Cast-in signage  
—Signage for Fish Island Village of board-marked concrete made from vertical rough sawn timbers. The indented lettering is cast-in using chamfered forms.
In the Studio: Cardboard testing  
—A contemporary interpretation of a rosary window for The Lighthouse. Testing out the modules of the design in cardboard
On Site: Precast facade panels  
—Precast facade panels in the factory. These are fully produced off-site, including brickwork and windows, at Decomo in Belgium. Installation started at Blackwall Reach in east London earlier this month
In Progress: Sketching for Theatr Clwyd  
—Theatr Clwyd ground floor sketches: Procreate over Lumion renders from the Revit model
Report: Disruptive Experimentation  
—This publication explores our process of retrofitting Kingston School of Art’s Mill Street Building. With its well preserved concrete and brick exterior, and fully functioning but inefficiently organised workshop spaces, this factory-like building proved the perfect starting point for a programme of adaptive re-use. (download report)
In the Studio: Photographing models  
—Photographing updates to our model for The Warburg Institute
On Site: Aerial auditorium  
—Work continues in the at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane ahead of the opening in the New Year
In Progress: Early massing for Kingswood  
—Early massing studies for our Legal and General Kingswood project. Clusters of 4-6 dwellings, pictured, establish a more informal, landscape-led northern boundary to the listed building, creating a sense of community
On Site: Fish Island arches  
—Beginning to get a sense of the double-height entrance space to one of our five buildings in Fish Island Phase 3. Arched openings will continue along the façade to form the windows of the adjacent gallery space
From The Archive: Everyman facade planning  
—Facade planning process for Liverpool Everyman Theatre, using Dan Kenyon's portraits of people from across the city. The images were then cut from aluminium plates using water jet technology to create a functional shutter screen to provide light and shade to the building
On Site: How can we gather?  
—The flexible auditorium at the Bridge Theatre lends itself to a new seating arrangement. This layout allows for 250 socially distanced seats in clusters of 1-3, allowing audiences to come back to live theatre. Shown here - a production of An Evening with an Immigrant about to begin
In the Studio: Pembroke College model  
—This 1/50 model of our scheme for Pembroke College, Cambridge is over one metre long. For ease of transportation, it is constructed using layers of ply and birch veneer with a foam board core.
On Site: Fish Island Phase 3  
—Work is progressing at Fish Island Village Ph3 in Hackney Wick, on the Hertford Union Canal. The brickwork is approaching roof level for two of the buildings, with the structure of the other blocks in this phase now almost complete
On Site: Auditorium Balcony  
—Construction is continuing at Theatre Royal Drury Lane. At balcony level, the timber structure to support the new seating is being installed, ahead of the opening early next year
On Site: Blackwall Reach  
—The structure of our two blocks at Blackwall Reach in Poplar topped out earlier this year. Looking north from the intersection of Cotton Street and Poplar High Street, the cranked massing and setbacks visually reduce the length and volume of the facades, while also allowing access to Millennium Green.
On Site: Staircases  
—Newly created lobby from the Wyatt stair at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane site, which is currently closed. These new routes improve access to the upper levels; patrons with tickets for balcony seats can now enter via the foyer rather than directly from the street
From The Archive: Royal Court model  
—1:25 model of the Royal Court auditorium from 1999
In the Studio: Team meeting  
—Theatr Clwyd team meeting at our studio in Kentish Town - Part I to Associate Director
On Site: Theatre Royal Drury Lane  
—Spotted in Covent Garden, a fox ambling round the Theatre Royal site
Study Trip: Bench Making  
—Elizabeth and Hannah from Haworth Tompkins went to a furniture making session in the Benchmark workshop. Taking part in every step of the process, from picking the wood, planing and sanding the timber, preparing and gluing the legs, to sealing the finished product, they created small, sturdy oak benches
In the Studio: Model making  
—Haworth Tompkins' model maker, Ellie Sampson, working on a 1/250 woodblock massing model of a project for Network Homes, for a public consultation
Study Trip: Ghent University Library  
—A delicate insertion wrapping the periphery of the existing Physics Hall, the perforated, powder-coated steel structure allows for connectivity between the bookstacks and the open reading hall below. All of the elements were prefabricated, and bolt together to form a three-storey perimeter which holds both the public and private collections
Study Trip: Exploring the Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux  
—Embedded into the landscape through its extensive use of columns, the stadium reflects the adjacent trees within the surrounding flat landscape, deliberately contrasting the homogeneity of Bordeaux’s historic centre and aspiring for a sense of openness and accessibility. The grand stair blurs the lines between the boundaries of interior and exterior
Study Trip: Sarajevo's eclectic communist era housing  
—Standing out in the otherwise muted historic cityscape of old Sarajevo, this postmodernist building was the home of refugees and squatters during the civil war. The dwellings at Papagajka are laid out around a tall and narrow atrium courtyard. The entire ground floor plan is taken up by dual aspect retail and cafes, which activate and connect the courtyard and street, while informal nooks with seating and planters built into the balustrades of the access decks create a feeling of inhabitation and encourage use of the communal space
Study Trip: Exploring Peter Salter’s Walmer Yard  
—The luxurious use of form and materiality gives rise to an exciting and unique space in this tight urban site
On Site: Knights Park moving image studio  
—One of the new moving image studios recently handed over at Kingston School of Art. A re-configured layout makes more efficient use of the existing double height volume at the centre of the building, enabling an expansion of studio provision. An infinity cove and technical grid complete a comprehensive upgrade to these facilities which, like all the workshops within the school, are held in common for all academic courses to access
In Progress: Offsite Fabrication  
—Production of our innovative family homes in Liverpool has started in the factory, based at HMP Hindley. The houses will be assembled on site in approximately 12 hours per unit from pre-fabricated externally finished cassette panels
In the Studio: Roger, Danny and Maria  
—Figuring out how the timber structure of the Den, at the Royal Exchange Manchester, will work with its fabric cover and seating
In Progress: Early Albert Island model  
—Early stage massing model of Albert Island, exploring industrial typologies and layout
On Site: Knights Park photography workshops  
—This recently completed darkroom houses the processing and print equipment at Kingston School of Art. It also includes a pass-through sink to make the transition between darkroom processing and review in the light less cumbersome. These new workshop facilities, largely for analogue processes, are retained as part of strong ethos that believes in a holistic approach to arts education
From The Archive: Testing rooflights under an artificial sky  
—Testing the effectiveness of our rooflight design on this 1:20 model of the Royal College of Art, Battersea. The Bartlett School of Architecture has a lighting simulator that can mimic any time of day
In the Studio: 1:25 Model  
—Testing proposals for a courtyard extension to the Warburg Institute Library. The roof structure has been designed to evoke an elliptical rooflight in the original Warburg Institute in Hamburg. The ellipse is symbolic of Aby Warburg’s intellectual theories behind cosmological freedoms of the mind
On Site: Theatre Royal Drury Lane strip out  
—Demolition progressing on the Grade I listed auditorium ahead of a new, improved geometry
Study Trip: Social Housing  
—Wohnpark Alterlaa, a flourishing social housing neighbourhood in Vienna, a city where 62% of the population live in state funded housing
On Site: Fish Island Village  
—Concrete and steel entry lobby at Fish Island Village
In the Studio: Auditoriums  
—Modelling flexible auditorium layouts
On Site: Creative demolition at Knights Park  
—Temporary props hold up the existing roof in advance of the new steel frame
From The Archive: Cambridge, Massachusetts  
—Early morning at the Carpenter Centre
In the Studio: Gingerbread Housing  
—Gingerbread tower assembly session for the Museum of Architecture at the V&A
On Site: Albert Island  
—A plane lands at London City Airport, seen from our Albert Island site. The relationship to the airport is a key consideration in the masterplan design.
In the Studio: Samples  
—Carpet discussions for Theatre Royal Drury Lane
On Site: Texture  
—Play of light and shadow, mornings at the Bristol Old Vic
Reference: Entrance for Elephants  
—Entrance to the Malmö Stadsteater. Formerly used by elephants
In the Studio: Sketching  
—Overlay sketching on the Warburg Institute visuals
Reference: Handrail  
—Walter Segal handrail, London, 1950, steel and sapele
On Site: Etching Press at Knights Park  
—The etching press is now in the printmaking workshop at the Knights Park campus, Kingston School of Art
On Site: Grand Hall  
—Finishing touches to the Grand Hall plywood lattice ceiling at Battersea Arts Centre
From The Archive: Bridge Theatre light  
—The Bridge Theatre light is a pendant fitting made of copper mesh, each one is unique due to its hand formed nature.
On Site: Precast concrete  
—On-site processing plant for precast concrete paving at Fish Island
Reference: Markings in Porto  
—Planned and unplanned, formal and informal, anarchy versus order.
On Site: Corten steel shutters for the Bristol Old Vic  
—Prototyping waterjet cut artwork based on two interwoven poems. First by David Garrick from the Theatre Royal prologue written in 1766, he also did a spoken work performance to announce the opening of the original theatre. And second by Miles Chambers, former Bristol City Poet.
Study Trip: Porto  
—Alvaro Siza's Bouca Casas Socials, an alternative to British Standards: narrow entrance doors, stepped planting, stepped access and visible clothes drying opportunities.
In the Studio: Sarah and Safa  
—Placements for school leavers and students are well supported in the office and add to the culture and experience of the whole office.
In Progress: Working 'yard' spaces  
—This typology appears in a lot of our work at the moment. This is in response to the need to keep work places within the city, endeavouring to provide truly integrated city culture.
On Site: Concrete Testing  
—Thinking by doing: Exploring the range of interesting work undertaken by the labs at Kingston University, including these concrete stress tests.
On Site: NT Deck  
—The timber diagrid for the National Theatre’s new rooftop events pavilion is craned into place. The timber structure was pre-fabricated in workshops in York, assembled on the Southbank over three hours and then craned onto the third floor roof deck in under six minutes.
In Progress: 'Use-less' building research  
—Graham Haworth has personally led some research into multi functional buildings, including a mix of uses ranging from maker spaces, workshops and studio spaces. This is brought into live projects such as Fish Island, where the project is being developed in collaboration with the Trampery.
On Site: Colour options  
—A selection of painted sample boards tested on site in order to be developed into large scale mock-ups. The colours match historic precedents and some are made using traditional methods.
In the Studio: Design Review  
—Battersea Arts Centre: In-house design review exploring options for lattice ceiling perforation pattern. Using 1:25 large scale models allows us to ‘get into’ the space and test each configuration.
In Progress: Facades  
—In-house laser cut models, veneered, exploring facade depth and materiality on the corner gateway building to Phase 3. Full balconies, Juliette balconies, brick and metal spandrel panels with variable depth piers.
From The Archive: Working with Artists  
—Grenville Davey sculpture at Cobbs Lane. We enjoy collaborating with visual artists, and have built a number of fruitful ongoing relationships over successive projects. Artists bring a fresh, questioning energy to the design conversation, challenging linear thinking and opening up unexpected avenues of investigation.
On Site: View across Battersea  
—View from the Battersea Arts Centre Grand Hall scaffolding towards the Battersea Power Station redevelopment.
In Progress: Colour study  
—Prior to the current brick horizontal banded design for Network Housing in Wembley, we explored a very different material approach to the facades. Inspired by 1930's Metro Land architecture, smooth matt GRC panels with curved corner profiles contrasted with glossy concave terracotta vertical panels between the windows. Subtle terracotta colour variations created visual movement across the facade.
Study Trip: Porto  
—Our trip to Porto was a small ‘homage’ to Siza. We were all fascinated with Siza’s choreography of the arrival experience. The sequence from entrance, to threshold, to entry, and in this case, descent, is always masterfully accomplished and relevant across the studio.
In the Studio: Corner study  
—General investigation into facades with depth on Fish Island Phase 3 and Archway. Architectural language developed to create buildings of scale with a detail quality that takes the expression beyond a surface treatment.
From The Archive: Bespoke light fitting  
—We design bespoke fittings for many of our cultural buildings. This light fitting was designed for the North Wall Arts Centre in Oxford. Rusted mild steel was used for door fittings, handrails and light fittings throughout the public spaces.
Study Trip: Housing trip to Copenhagen  
—An intense study of housing in Copenhagen and particularly Kay Fisker's work, on bicycles! Fisker was of particular interest as research on contextual, but bold repetitive facades, made of beautiful materials and simply detailed in urban blocks forming a natural extension of the city.
On Site: Public consultation event at Battersea Arts Centre  
—This was held in the ruined Grand Hall and was the first time following the fire six months previously that members of the public were invited into the space to experience at first hand the damage caused and our design proposals for the rebuild project.
Reference: Door Handles  
—On visiting several buildings designed by Alvar Aalto in Helsinki, we were struck by how many architectural elements were repeated across different projects. Fixtures such as these door handles were used frequently, with subtle adaptations in the design according to context.
In the Studio: Project review  
—The studio design process - communication, talking, listening, learning and testing; our approach to the ‘making of buildings’ in order to achieve the user’s aspirations in physical and pragmatic terms, but also spiritually and emotionally.
In Progress: Ufford Street  
—Illustration of the West Mews and the renewed connectivity achieved in the new urban plan. An old street, Marlborough Street, was re introduced to create a finer grain, with more intimate scaled streets re- connecting The Cut with Ufford Street.