Find out more about our studio’s


Reputation We are first and foremost a creative design studio. Since 1991 our reputation has grown on the back of thoughtful, intelligent and well-crafted buildings across a range of sectors - buildings that have delighted their users and won design awards in equal measure. The quality of our work continues to drive the calibre of the clients that want to work with us, motivates existing members of our team to invest their time and energy in the studio and attracts talented individuals to join us.

Creative Leadership Our studio was founded by two highly individual designers with a shared vision. Since then that vision has been enhanced by new directors and senior members of the team, bringing us to a point of strength both reputationally and financially. Now, as an Employee Ownership Trust, we seek a balance between empowered, democratic decision making and continued strong creative leadership. We currently have thirteen directors and associate directors in our senior leadership team along with fourteen associates.

Open Communication We have never equated strong creative leadership with a rigid hierarchy or uncritical obedience. Rather, the studio is founded on mutual respect, clear communication and good humour - qualities that have played a significant part in our success, both for our team and for our relationships with our clients and collaborators. As our team has grown, this has become a more complex project to maintain and has needed us to place these crucial qualities more formally at the heart of the studio’s ethos through developing management procedures and working groups. We see this task as a shared ‘top down/bottom up’ responsibility for all studio members, at whatever stage of our careers.

Financial Stability The measures of our studio’s success are creative, social, environmental and financial. Our team has grown slowly and steadily - with a commensurate increase in turnover and profit - and we want to be in a financial position to continue taking on small, interesting projects and research programmes, awarding good salaries, supporting good causes and sharing our profit fairly. Alongside our creative, social and environmental aspirations, a key role for our leadership team is to ensure that the studio is financially stable in an increasingly unpredictable business climate.

Innovation We have built our success on a mindset of creative curiosity and continuous innovation, whether in regenerative environmental design, building typologies, working methods, building systems, materials, construction components, fine details or one-off products. Under the evolving leadership of a new generation of designers, creative risk taking continues to drive the studio’s thinking and we build in research and development projects wherever feasible in addition to our contracted design work.

Social Purpose From the outset, our work has been underpinned by a desire to make socially purposeful architecture that contributes to the collective wellbeing of our society and can be judged not only on standards of aesthetics but on ethics. We actively seek out commissions and clients on that basis, rejecting commissions that clearly go against those values. We contribute our time and financial support to a number of charities, schools and socially directed bodies and have established a highly impactful social added value methodology as part of our scope of services. We have become a certified B Corporation to hold ourselves publicly accountable to these principles.

Regenerative Practice We are facing a climate emergency of unprecedented seriousness. To meet the needs of our society without breaching planetary boundaries, we have committed to the principles of regenerative design as the underpinning foundation of all our work. This requires that we recognise the construction of buildings, cities and infrastructure as an indivisible component of a larger, constantly regenerating and self-sustaining system of planetary processes. Our aim is to contribute to the healing of living systems rather than merely mitigate damage. We have committed to the Architects Declare manifesto (which we co-founded in 2019), the RIBA 2030 Challenge and Race to Zero.

Creative Diversity Our success has been driven equally by our ability to develop specialist expertise and by our willingness to diversify by exploring projects in new areas. Each part of our portfolio informs and strengthens the others and we take the opportunity to expand our range of work types wherever possible, within the framework of our other guiding principles. Recent examples include higher education, rural master planning, creative workspace and dense urban industrial buildings. Within the discipline of maintaining our core design mission, we encourage and accommodate teaching, research, writing, public speaking, joining of design review panels and external advocacy, recognising that these activities connect us with wider constituencies and strengthen the social and creative core of the studio.

Fairness and Equal Opportunities We want our team to be a true cross section of the society we design for, both because it makes us better designers and because we aspire to be a model of fairness in all our dealings with our colleagues, our clients, our collaborators and our supply chains. To achieve this, we seek to become more informed in our understanding of difference and discrimination and more rigorous in our development of recruitment, employment, promotion, pay and dignity at work policies. This is an ongoing, shared project for everyone in our studio.

Employees Voices Our Employee Ownership Trust was established to allow every studio member’s voice to be heard and taken into account. We have an active Employees’ Forum, the chair of which is part of our Board of Trustees, providing an opportunity for team members to debate the day to day operation and strategic direction of the studio and make suggestions for improvement.

Work Life Balance We want our team to achieve a healthy work life balance throughout their working careers, but the pressures on this have only increased as digital access expands, when families grow and as the population ages. We seek to be at the forefront of best practice for employee welfare, exploring flexible hours, sabbaticals, study leave and home working, discouraging habitual long hours, 24/7 email availability and weekend work, developing more progressive parental leave policies and accommodating caring responsibilities.

Sharing the Rewards of Success The Trust is designed so that everyone has a stake in maintaining the productivity and profitability of the studio, and a share in its financial success. Salary levels are set so that every member of the employee team will continue to share proportionally in whatever financial success we achieve. A tax-free bonus pot equivalent to at least 15% of our pre-tax profits is shared throughout the studio each year.