Piers Gough – Episode 40

Our guest this week is the architect Piers Gough CBE.

Piers was born in Brighton in the south of England and in 1965 began his studies at the Architectural Association in London – studying under Peter Cook (of Archigram frame) and Elia Zenghelis (who when on to co-found the Office of Metropolitan Architecture).

Piers Gough. Image courtesy of the practice

It was at the AA that Piers studied with Nick Campbell, Roger Zogolovitch and Rex Wilkinson – and from where the four started their practice in the university’s basement studio space.

In 1975 they formalised the practice as Campbell Zogolovitch Wilkinson Gough Architects – now known as CZWG Architects. The practice has made a name for themselves through a huge range of bold, often playful postmodernist work. Indeed in 2018 six of CZWG’s early works from the 1980s were listed by Historic England for their significance to the UK’s postmodernist movement.

In the episode we talk about these buildings including the Aztec West Business Park near Bristol, the Janet Street-Porter House in Clerkenwell, China Wharf in Southwark, Bryanston School in Dorset, The Circle in Shad Thames, and Cascades in the Isle of Dogs

We also speak about the firm’s work at Mile End Park – bridging the park over a busy road – and the inverted pyramid of Canada Water Library in Southwark.

Peter Clegg and Keith Bradley – Episode 39

On the programme this week we speak to Peter Clegg and Keith Bradley, Partners at Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios.

In 1978 Peter Clegg and Richard Feilden founded their practice as Feilden Clegg Design in Bath in the west of England. Keith Bradley subsequently joined the practice in 1987.

It wasn’t until 1998 – some 20 years after their founding – that the practice opened a London office – where the they now employ around 80 people. More recently the practice has opened studios in Belfast and Manchester, but remains headquartered in Bath.

In 2000 the practice changed name to Feilden Clegg Bradley Architects – in recognition of Keith Bradley’s contribution – later going on to become Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios or FCB Studios

The practice’s co-founder Richard Feilden died in a tragic accident in 2005 aged just 54. FCB Studios helped setup the Richard Feilden Foundation in his honour.

The practice has long been recognised for its environmental commitment and specialism in low carbon design with projects including Greenpeace’s UK Headquarters, finished in 1991 and the National Trust’s HQ in 2006.

The practice won the RIBA Stirling Prize in 2008 for Acordia a housing development just outside Cambridge, won with Alison Brooks and Maccreanor Lavington. It was the first housing project to win the Stirling Prize.

As well as their commitment to low carbon design the practice has long been commended for their wider social and ethical commitments.

Del Hossain – Episode 39

Our guest this week is the managing director of the architectural recruitment firm Adrem.

Del Hossain was born and grew up in Manchester before moving to London to study architecture – first at London South Bank University and then at the Bartlett School of Architecture.

After working at a number of practices including Orms and Foster + Partners he left to briefly setup his own architecture firm with his wife. The work quickly came in – but so too did the realisation that practicing as an architect wasn’t for him.

From there, in 1998, he joined Adrem, the UK’s first specialist architectural recruitment firm, where he remains managing director.

Adrem now has offices in London, Dubai and Shanghai – helping many of the world’s leading architectural practices to find the right talent.

We joined Del in Adrem’s new London offices – in a buzzing office managed by the co-working giant WeWork.

Kirsten Lees – Episode 38

Our guest this week is the architect Kirsten Lees, Managing Partner at Grimshaw Architects.

Kirsten was elected as the London studio’s first female Managing Partner in May 2018. In a somewhat unique arrangement Grimshaw’s Managing Partner is elected by the studio’s nine Partners for a three year term, renewable once, helping to balance renewal and stability in the practice’s senior leadership.

Kirsten was born in Scotland and studied architecture at the University of Glasgow before taking a year out to work in Spain. She later worked for the Practice Bach y Mora Arquitectos before returning to the UK to work for Michael Wilford and Associates, and then going on to join Grimshaw in 1997.

Grimshaw was founded in 1980 by Sir Nicholas Grimshaw and the practice has gone on to build a huge range of iconic buildings including the Eden Project, the National Space centre in Leicester and the former Eurostar Terminal at Waterloo in London. Indeed the practice maintains a strong reputation for its legacy of transport and infrastructure buildings.

As well as her Managing Partner role, Kirsten continues to work on a number of projects across the arts, sports and masterplanning – areas of work the practice are keen to expand on.

The practice has undergone a huge internationalisation – with projects and offices in New York, Doha, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, Melbourne, Sydney and of course in London.

For this week’s episode we joined Kirsten in the practice’s Clerkenwell studio.

Jonathan Darke – Episode 37

Our guest this week is the architect Jonathan Darke.

Jonathan was born to British Parents in Pennsylvania in the USA. His father’s work as a Civil Engineer led him and the family to move extensively throughout his childhood, living amongst other places in Iran and Pakistan.

Later, back in the UK, Jonathan studied architecture at the University of Brighton and then at London Metropolitan University.

He worked for a while under the highly influential architect Florian Beigel then going on to work for Nicholas Lacey Jobst & Hyett. He later moved to to Stillman & Eastwick-Field, a practice with a strong reputation for their work on schools and hospitals.

During his 18 years at the practice he went on to become Managing Partner, before the then 25-strong practice merged in 2004 with the architecture practice TP Bennett to become their health and education team.

TP Bennett was founded in 1921 by Sir Thomas Bennett and is now one of the ten largest architecture practices in the UK. Sir Thomas rose to prominence for his work on the New Towns of Crawley and Stevenage, and later the vast Grade II listed Smithfield Market. But the practice’s more recent work includes a complete redesign of Sir Giles Gilbert Scott’s Guildhall North Wing for the City of London Corporation, as well as extensive renovation work on the iconic Sea Containers House on the River Thames.

For this week’s episode I joined Jonathan in TP Bennett’s offices in Southwark.

Pooja Agrawal – Episode 36

Our guest this week is the architect Pooja Agrawal.

In 2017 Pooja co-founded the social enterprise Public Practice along with Finn Williams. Public Practice places architects and other built environment experts within local authorities on year-long placements – providing much needed skills and experience for the public sector.

In the 1970s almost half of all UK architects leaving university went on to work for the public sector. But throughout the 1980s Central Government effectively stifled Local Government’s ability to build, and that architectural expertise began to drain away. Today, the proportion of architects working for the public sector in London is, according to Public Practice, well under 1 per cent of the profession.

Perhaps Public Practice can make public service – and working for the public sector – an attractive option again for ambitious architects? The signs are positive: pioneering London Boroughs like Croydon, Barking and Dagenham and Harrow are starting to build again.

Pooja was born in Ohio in the United States before moving with her family back to their home Mumbai in India.

It was from Mumbai that she later moved to the UK to continue her education, studying for a degree in Architecture at the University of Cambridge before going on to do her MA at the Bartlett School of Architecture in London.

She went on to work for a number of practices that put public sector work front and centre. Working initially for Publica and then We Made That – where she worked on projects including the regeneration of Black Horse Lane in Walthamstow. Pooja currently works at the Regeneration Team at the Greater London Authority, and alongside Public Practice, has delivered regeneration projects in the North West of London and overseen strategic policy and programmes on small sites, culture, design quality and social integration.

Larry Malcic – Episode 35

Our guest this week is the architect Larry Malcic. Larry was born in St Louis in the American mid west. He later went on to study architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, being taught for a time by the hugely influential architect Louis Khan.

After University it was in St Louis that Larry started his own practice – just over the road from HOK the practice formed by George Hellmuth, Gyo Obata and George Kassabaum.

Alongside his practice, Larry taught for a time at Washington University in St Louis – teaching for a while alongside his good friend Neave Brown.

Larry Malcic. Image courtesy of the practice

In 1988 Larry joined HOK – the office across the street – and then moved across the Atlantic to start HOK’s European practice, based in London.

Under his leadership the office has grown to over 130 people, partly growing organically and in 1995 by incorporating the practice Cecil Denny Highton.

HOK now has 24 studios across the US and Canada as well as offices in Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Mumbai, Dubai and of course London – making it comfortably one of the world’s ten largest architecture firms.

In this week’s episode we talk about many of the practice’s most notable buildings in London including the Francis Crick Institute, the world headquarters for Barclays Bank in Canary Wharf, and an early but influential project, St Barnabas Church in Dulwich.

Clare Richards – Episode 34

On the programme this week we speak to the architect Clare Richards.

Clare took an unusual route into architecture. Clare started her career as a researcher for BBC television before joining commercial broadcaster TV-am for its launch in 1983. TV-am was hugely influential as the UK’s first nationwide commercial breakfast television programme. It left a huge legacy on the UK media landscape. Its bold ambition as a television programme was matched architecturally with an iconic modernist building designed by Sir Terry Farrell.

Following a successful television career as a documentary filmmaker, focusing on difficult social and societal problems, she took the bold decision to change direction – enrolling at the Bartlett School of Architecture in London.

She went on to develop her experience of working in collaboration with local communities. Indeed, in 2010 she won the RIBA President’s Medal for her dissertation Happy Communities.

Since qualifying as an architect in 2012 she has chosen an equally unusual path working on a range of projects, often in close collaboration with residents.

She recently founded ft’work, a not-for-profit company with an ambitious aim – to ensure that clear social principles underpin all new development and regeneration.

Chris Wilkinson and Jim Eyre – Episode 33

On the programme this week we speak to Chris Wilkinson and Jim Eyre, directors of WilkinsonEyre.

Chris founded Chris Wilkinson Architects in 1983 with Jim joining the practice – now WilkinsonEyre – in 1987. The practice now employs more than 200 people in London, Hong Kong and Sydney.

Chris originally studied architecture at the Regent Street Polytechnic – now part of the University of Westminster – before working for Denys Lasdun, Norman Foster, Michael Hopkins and Richard Rogers, before starting his own practice.

Jim studied at Liverpool University and at the Architectural Association before working at Hopkins Architects where the two met.

The practice has won numerous awards, including the RIBA Stirling Prize – two years running – in 2001 for the Magna Centre in Rotherham; and in 2002 for the Gateshead Millennium Bridge.

They won the RIBA’s International Lubetkin award for the Guangzhou International Finance Centre in China and continue to gain a significant amount of work from overseas.

The practice is currently on site overseeing the plans for the renovation of Sir Giles Gilbert Scott’s iconic Battersea Powers Station in London.

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Active Social Architecture – Kigali – Episode 31

On the programme this week we speak to Francesco Stassi and Alice Tasca, principals of Active Social Architecture in Kigali.

This week’s programme was recorded in Rwanda as part of a series of episodes we’re bringing you from East Africa to explore identity and architecture. Identity is the theme of this year’s London Festival of Architecture.

Active Social Architecture – or ASA studio was founded in 2012 by Nerea Amòros Elorduy and Tomà Berlanda following their extensive work on projects for PLAN INTERNATIONAL and UNICEF, but when the two moved on the firm was taken on by Francesco and Alice along with Zeno Riondato. Together they now lead the firm’s work on a range of projects from healthcare to schools and education facilities.

Alongside the practice Alice continues to teach at the Department of Architecture at the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology, now part of the University of Rwanda. The University of Rwanda is still the only architecture school in the country.

In the warm breeze in the garden of their studio, amongst some rather loud birds in the trees, I started by asking Francesco about the history of the practice.

University of Nairobi – Episode 30

On the programme this week we speak to Professor Tom Anyamba, Dean of the University of Nairobi’s School of the Built and Environment.

This week’s episode was recorded in Nairobi as part of a series of episodes we’re bringing you from East Africa to explore identity and architecture. Identity is the theme of this year’s London Festival of Architecture.

The University of Nairobi started life as the Royal Technical College in 1956 – before Kenyan Independence (in 1963) issuing degrees backed by the University of London.

Tom originally studied architecture at the University of Nairobi before working for Richard Hughes and Partners in Nairobi. He subsequently left Nairobi to take his Masters Degree at the Helsinki University of Technology – now Alvar Aalto University – then going on to complete his PhD in Olso.

He now leads the University of Nairobi’s school of Architecture, the oldest of just four universities teaching architecture in Kenya, where he’s taught for over 30 years.

I joined Tom in his office in Nairobi where I started by asking about the history of the University.

Raas Architects – Addis Ababa – Episode 29

On the programme this week is Rahel Shawl, Founder and Director of Raas Architects, one of the leading architecture practices in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.

Rahel originally studied architecture at the Southern Campus of Addis Ababa University.

Soon after graduating, Rahel established ABBA architects in partnership with a friend before going on to form Raas Architects some 14 years ago

She’s gone on to win numerous awards including the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2007 and was shortlisted this year for the Royal Academy’s inaugural Dorfman Award.

Her practice has developed a track record of impressive work on embassies and cultural institutes in Ethiopia – including designing the British Council’s office in Addis, along with the Council’s in house design team.

I joined Rahel over coffee – wonderful Ethiopian coffee – in her practice in Addis where I started by asking about the current size of the practice.

Orkid Studio – Nairobi – Episode 28

On the programme this week we speak to James Mitchell and Carolina Larrazabal from Orkid Studio in Nairobi.

This week’s episode was recorded in Nairobi as part of a series of programmes we’re bringing you from East Africa to explore identity and architecture. Identity is the theme of this year’s LFA.

Orkid Studio was founded in 2008 by James Mitchel and Julissa Kiyenje in Cardiff where the pair studied. James was just 19 at the time. Their aim was to establish a practice interested in providing architectural services to a wider section of society.

Much of their early work was conducted during holidays and time away from study and teaching – where James taught at the Mackintosh School of Architecture. The practice made the decision relocated the practice from Glasgow to Nairobi in 2016 . The practice has gone on to win much praise from across the profession.

We joined James and Carolina on the terrace of their studio in Nairobi earlier on this year, where I started by asking about their move to Nairobi

MASS Design Group – Kigali – Episode 27

In this week’s episode we speak to Theophile Uwayezu, architect and associate at MASS Design Group in Kigali, Rwanda.

This week’s episode was recorded in Kigali as part of a series of episodes we’re bring you from East Africa, exploring identity and architecture. Identity is the theme of this year’s LFA.

MASS Design Group was established in Massachusetts in 2008 as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organisation.

In the words of the practices “Architecture is never neutral. It either heals or hurts.” MASS say that their “mission is to research, build, and advocate for architecture that promotes justice and human dignity.”

MASS Design Group began in 2008 as an idea for a different way of practice by a group of students at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

The practice’s first project in Rwanda was to design and build the Butaro District Hospital in partnership with the Rwandan Ministry of Health and the NGO Partners In Health.

The practice went on to open an office in Kigali where it’s now one of the largest firms in the country.

Theophile studied architecture at the University of Rwanda – the country’s only architecture school – where some of MASS Design Group’s partners still teach.

I joined Theophile in the firms office in the Kigali Heights Development, close to the Kigali Convention Centre, where I started by asking about the founding of MASS in Kigali.

Music from this episode was from Peter Logono and Raw Music International: Kisumu Mixtape via the Free Music Archive, released under a creative commons licence.

Nairobi Design Week – Episode 26

For this week’s episode we talk to Adrian Jankowiak and Julita Bhagat, Co-Directors of Nairobi Design Week – an organisation with a mission close to our own hearts, promoting design – in all its disciplines – to a wide public audience.

This episode was recorded in Nairobi, the first in a series of episodes we’re bringing you from East Africa to explore identity and architecture. Identity is the theme of this year’s London Festival of Architecture.

Originally from Poland, Adrian studied Industrial Design at Loughborough University before going on to work for as an industrian designer for various multinationals. He worked in many developing countries before going to Kenya.

Kenyan national Julita meanwhile is currently studying Human Centred Design at the Nairobi Design Institute.

We spoke a little before this year’s Nairobi Design Week, which took place in March. In a busy café in the Kilimani neighbourhood of Nairobi I started by asking Adrian about the founding of Nairobi Design Week.

Association of Ethiopian Architects – Addis Ababa – Episode 25

On the programme this week we speak to Meskerem Tamiru, President of the Association of Ethiopian Architects.

This episode was recorded in Addis Ababa as part of a series of episodes we’re bringing you from East Africa to explore identity and architecture. Identity is the theme of this year’s London Festival of Architecture.

Meskerem studied architecture and town planning at the Addis Ababa University School of architecture where she graduated as an architect in 1993. After graduation Meskerem initially worked as an architect on the expansion of the country’s University sector. In 2008 she established her own practice, Meskerem Tamiru Consulting Architects which now specialises in project management.

The Association of Ethiopian Architects was founded in 1991 and now has close to 2000 members.

Meskerem was elected in August 2017 at the organisation’s General Assembly to serve a three-year term. The association has a small staff based in Addis Ababa.

For this week’s episode I joined Meskerem in her office in Addis Ababa’s Bole neighbourhood.

Cave Bureau – Nairobi – Episode 24

On the programme this week we speak to the architects Kabage Karanje and Stella Mutegi, two of the three founding directors of Cave Bureau in Nairobi.

This episode was recorded in Nairobi as part of a series of episodes we’re bringing you from East Africa to explore identity and architecture. Identity is the theme of this year’s London Festival of Architecture.

Kabage Karanje (right) Stella Mutegi (centre) and Owen Wainhouse (left)

Kabage was born in Nairobi and later studied in the UK in Loughborough, in Brighton then at the University of Westminster. He subsequently spent six years working for 3D Reid in London before returning to Nairobi where he worked for a number of practices before going on co-founding Cave.

Stella studied architecture at the University of Newcastle, near Sydney in Australia before returning to Kenya where she worked for a number of practices before ending up working in the same firm at Kagabe – some years later they were both made redundant which spurred their founding of Cave.

The practice they founded, with long-time friend Balmoi Abe in 2014 and draws much of its reference from the cave – mankind’s earliest architectural environment. Much of their work too references region’s status as the cradle of humanity.

The city, they say, like the caves are dynamic and complex, both having changed over time, albeit with varying geological time times.

I joined Stella and Kabage in a shared meeting room just above their office – the office’s beautiful polished concrete walls proved too acoustically taxing for this podcast’s array of microphones.

Triad Architects – Nairobi – Episode 23

On the programme this week we speak to the architects James Gitoho and Charles Ndungu, directors at the Kenyan architecture firm Triad Architects.

This episode was recorded in Nairobi as part of a series of episodes we’re bringing you from East Africa to explore identity and architecture. Identity is the theme of this year’s London Festival of Architecture.

Triad Architects was founded by New Zealander Amyas Connell with Scotsman Graham McCullough in 1963.

Amyas Connell travelled to England in 1924 and later studied at the British School at Rome. He subsequently established one of the most influential but short-lived modernist British architecture practices of the 20th Century, Connell, Ward & Lucas.

James (left) and Charles (right) with photo of Amyas Connell on the wall.

After the war, in 1946 Connell moved to Tanganyika, now Tanzania, and later to Nairobi. Connell was invited to design the iconic Kenyan Parliament building in 1963; and won the RIBA Bronze Medallist in 1964 for the Aga Kahn Hospital.

The practice now has a wide portfolio of work across Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda.

James trained at Nairobi University and joined Triad in 1981, going on to become a Director 1988. Whilst Charles joined in 1995 after also studying at Nairobi University, going on to become a director in 2003.

The practice has worked with many foreign firms including with John McAslan + Partners on the Kericho Cathedral and Squire & Partners on the British Council’s Nairobi offices.

Following the retirement of the last non-native Director, Tim Vaulkhard 2013, the practice is now run entirely by Kenyan directors.

I joined James and Charles at the office where the practice has been based since 1965, where I started by asking about the size of Triad Architects today.

Jennifer Dixon – Episode 22

Our guest this week is the architect Jennifer Dixon, Architecture Leader for the global architecture and engineering firm AECOM in the firm’s EMIA region – Europe, Middle East, India and Africa, where she leads a multi-national team of over 500 architects.

AECOM provides design, consulting, construction, and management services to a wide range of clients around the world. The firm traces its roots back to the 1920s in Kentucky as the Ashland Oil and Refining Company. From where the company grew into one of America’s largest road construction firms – using the by-products of oil refining to produce bitumen. The company went on to become one of the pioneering integrated construction, engineering and architectural firms in the US.

In the late 1980s a change in corporate strategy led to the spinoff of the of the non-oil side of the business that would become AECOM. In 1990 the company changed its name to the AECOM Technology Corporation – with the acronym standing for Architecture, Engineering, Consulting, Operations and Maintenance. AECOM became a publicly traded company in 2007 and now has annual revenues of over $18 billion and nearly 90,000 employees around the world. More recently the firm acquired consulting engineers Faber Maunsel and quantity surveyors Davis Langdon.

Jennifer joined AECOM in 2013 to grow the organisation’s architecture business in Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa which was then relatively small – at least compared with the firm’s architecture businesses in its other regions.

Jennifer originally studied architecture at the Mackintosh School of Architecture in Glasgow and at the University of Westminster in London. She subsequently founded Dixon Hughes architects with her partner David Hughes, with the practice later merging with Austin-Smith:Lord where she worked extensively in the Middle East.

I joined Jennifer in AECOM’s London offices near Aldgate, where I started by asking about the origins of the architecture business within AECOM.

Steven Charlton – Episode 21

Our guest this week is the designer Steven Charlton. In 2008 – in the midst of the global financial crisis – Steven launched the Middle East office of Pringle Brandon, the architecture and corporate interiors firm founded in London by Chris Brandon and former RIBA President Jack Pringle.

Pringle Brandon subsequently merged with America’s third-largest architecture firm Perkins+Will in 2012 – with the London and Dubai offices becoming known initially as Pringle Brandon Perkins+Will, and later simply Perkins+Will. Steven grew the Dubai office from two people to over 100 members of staff.

In November 2017 Steven returned to London to become Managing Principal of Perkins+Will’s now 130-strong London office with the clear aim of repeating his success in Dubai and growing the architecture side of the business.

In this week’s episode we about talk the names of architecture firms and the legacy of their founders. We talk about how things change when you double the size of your office, then double again.

We talk about corporate interiors and large scale architecture. And we also hear about Perkins+Will’s latest acquisition of the Danish architecture firm Schmidt Hammer Lassen.

I joined Steven at Perkins+Will’s London office in Aldgate, where I started by asking about his move back to London.