2021 has been another eventful year for Hutchinson & Partners, both in terms of our practice, our projects, our team and our approach. Whilst the world has responded to the challenges presented by the ever-changing dynamic of the pandemic, we have also seen a welcome and indeed crucial maturation of attitudes towards the environment, and a greater focus on social issues. This has allowed discussions across projects and practice to come to the fore with like-minded Clients and Collaborators keen to engage to see how we can all play our part. We feel this is a time for hope and optimism on these matters, and we have seen a turning point within the industry that we believe marks the start of the more responsible and responsive outlook, that is already starting to resonate throughout the design, development and construction worlds.
The past year has seen us strengthen and evolve our approach to practice. We have continued to develop our approach to sustainability, in its many forms, and seeing this approach influence how we think, how we communicate, how we operate, how we consume, how we practice, how we design and how we can help influence. We are also building on our long practiced employ of equality, diversity and inclusion through new initiatives, communication and champions. In addition we have created a practice community outreach team with the aim of connecting to our local community and providing opportunities for work experience and school leavers. We have also developed new in-house residential design quality and technical design primers for the practice that consolidate the practice’s extensive project knowledge into a central resource. Lastly, we have a series of research studies underway that look at how buildings of different types can be approached more holistically that we look forward to publishing next year. These developments have put us in an ever stronger position to tackle the many challenges and explore the many opportunities that we, as an industry, will experience in the coming years.
On a different note, the practice has been proud to see our work recognised by the industry at large, with several projects being shortlisted for prestigious awards throughout the year. These include the Office Architect of the Year Award, in recognition of our work on both Victoria House and the design of new workplace building in Ealing. We were pleased to see Victoria House also nominated in the AJ Architecture Awards for Heritage Project of the Year and our landmark mixed use project, ‘Silk Park’, for St.George, named as a finalist in the World Architecture Festival’s Future Residential category. Our work has also been published in two NLA research studies ‘Office Revolution’ and ‘Resilient London’ and we have seen the completion of Victoria House covered by a multitude of titles including Wallpaper & Dezeen. In a different field, our Berlin Director Jörn Rabach and Principal Director, Ross Hutchinson followed up their podcast from last year by featuring in the seminal new publication ‘Coaches On The Couch Learning From Lockdown’ that records their thoughts on courage and resilience in leadership during and after the height of the pandemic.
The year has seen our London and Berlin offices design and deliver a great number of schemes across a range of scales, sectors and typologies.
Highlights for the London office have included the completion of the principal phases of Victoria House, a 200,000 sq.ft refurbishment of a Grade II Listed office building on Bloomsbury Square for LABS Group; planning consent for a 235,000 sq.ft new build workplace building in Ealing; the planning submission for a nine storey residential building in Brixton; the design of six terraced houses in Highgate on a pub car park; the design for the residential re-development of an MOT centre in Stockwell; and the design for the redevelopment of a car dealership in Barnet into a new residential community in Edgware. We have also progressed our ‘Death of the High Street’ research case study project in Letchworth into a robust proposal that shows how new life can be breathed into the original Garden City. One of the largest and most transformative projects we have worked on throughout the year has been the first phase of Ballymore’s redevelopment of the former Kensal Gasworks. We have designed six buildings of varying scales and uses arranged around a raised public park that, subject to planning, will form the first buildings to be delivered on the site. We look forward to revealing more on submitting the planning application early in the New Year.
Our Berlin office has made significant and exciting progress over the past year. In addition to continuing to work on our ever expanding Berlin research project ‘Twelve Sites’, we are pleased to report that we are now progressing with three live projects. This includes the residential redevelopment of a site in the heart of Kreuzberg, commenced last year, as well as two new mixed-use projects in Pankow and Reinickendorf that seek to reintegrate complex brownfield sites back into the urban fabric of the city. We look forward to seeing how all three projects progress in the year ahead and to furthering our understanding of this unique city through ‘Twelve Sites’ in what promises be a formative year for the Berlin office.
In other news, our senior team grew to include our new Associate, Guadalupe Ferrera-Valle, a long-standing member of the practice, who brings to the team her considerable experience of technical design and delivery. In March, Ross was invited to appear on the BBC Radio 4 programme, ‘The Bottom Line’, hosted by Evan Davis, to discuss the subject of setting up a subsidiary business in the European Union. We have also continued to support the University of Sheffield’s Collaborative Practice course, both sponsoring their end of year show, and through having the considerable pleasure of providing a placement to their student Isaac Gatley. We were also pleased to see our links with Bath University and Newcastle University continued by both and Lynsey Hogarth and Karishma Dayalji who joined us as part of their degree and diploma courses. Continuing with education, the practice has been pleased to support nine of our Part II Architectural Assistants in their Part III studies over the past two years and this year we have been pleased to see, Laura Barnes, Jennifer Macfadyen and Josh Higginbottom, pass their RIBA Part III professional qualifications and join our team of architects. One of last year’s Part III graduates, Maria Ramos has taken on the role of the practice Sustainability Champion, which builds on her experience and her passion for the subject, with Undine & Rachel from our Berlin office joining Maria, Laura and Olly in the Sustainability Team to bring together learnings and knowledge from both offices and both cities. Lastly, we are celebrating our Director Dieo Weeranarawat who was the first person to join Ross in 2007 and who is now entering his 15th year with the practice.
We have been cheered to have the opportunity to meet in person again across both our London and Berlin offices, whether for work or play. And whilst, this week we have again moved back to home based working, we did enjoy the time that we had to spend with each other, and the opportunity to reinvigorate the studio culture in person.
We are looking forward seeing our practice develop and mature in all aspects in the year ahead and to seeing our ongoing projects progress as well as seeing potential new opportunities arise. As ever, we would like to thank our team for another year of fantastic work, creativity, insight, rigour and dedication. We’d also like to thank our clients for their support, vision and commitment. Finally, we would also like to thank our many collaborators and mentors, for their knowledge, help and support. We wish you all the very best for 2022 and look forward to seeing you again in the New Year.