2022 has seen a very welcome return to a more sociable, connected world and it has been fantastic to spend more time in person with colleagues, collaborators and clients, with us even meeting some for the first time in person. On a more sombre note, the war and subsequent humanitarian crisis in Ukraine has touched us all and our thoughts are with those who continue to suffer from this unnecessary conflict. We have already seen the effects of the turbulent world affairs on the industry but we remain cautiously optimistic in London and Berlin about the opportunities in the year ahead and in finding the opportunities that we can bring to others.
The past year has seen us achieve our aim to optimise and refine how we practice. This has included the formalisation of our management processes, with us successfully gaining ISO 9001 certification for Quality Management in July and ISO 14001 Certification for our Environmental Management processes in October.
Through our Sustainability Team and newly created Equality, Diversity, Inclusion & Community Team, we have developed how we actively and meaningfully fulfil our environmental and social responsibilities.
In October, following extensive analysis of our carbon consumption and measures to reduce our carbon usage, we were very proud to become a Carbon Zero business, with goals in place to further improve in the year ahead.
Our EDI&C team, set up at the beginning of 2022, have been focused on how to find ways of making architecture and the profession more accessible to the communities we design for with a view to helping to create a broader and more diverse profession for the future. Most recently, our journey has included working with the charity Making the Leap who help support young people from under privileged backgrounds to find pathways into careers and the workplace. We have also collaborated with local schools to introduce their pupils to architecture and the profession through providing talks and work experience placements throughout their summer term.
Our support for university education has seen us participate in the University of Suffolk’s Professional Practice module, led by our long-term collaborator Ben Powell. We have also continued our long term support for Sheffield University’s School of Architecture through our participation in their innovative Collaborative Practice scheme led by Satwinder Samra and through our sponsorship of their End of Year Show. Our involvement in university education has continued into Germany, with our Berlin office lecturing at the Berlin International University of Applied Sciences on the subject of our Twelve Sites urban research project.
Staying in Berlin, it has been great to see the Berlin office grow in number and projects over the course of the past year. Reflecting the continued development and growth of the practice in Germany, we added a dual language function to our website in September to help us communicate our news, projects, research and approach to our German speaking visitors.
In terms of awards, we were very grateful to see our work recognised this year when, in May, we received an RIBA London Award for Victoria House, our extensive workspace retrofit of the Grade II Listed building on Bloomsbury Square for the flexible workspace provider LABS Group.
Outside of our project work, we continue to develop our approach and thoughts on design, architecture, urbanism and sustainability through a series of evolving research pieces that will be published throughout next year. This will include further work on our research piece ‘Opportunities of the Car Free City’ which we published in September as well as our long term research project ‘Twelve Sites’, in which we continue to explore, familiarise, analyse and document our expanding knowledge of the city of Berlin.
In London, the year has seen us continue to work on a number of schemes, large, medium and small, across a range of different project types, including mixed-use, residential, BTR, PBSA and workplace projects. The year started with the planning submission of a residential scheme for 44 homes on the site of a former public house in Brixton. Following this we were appointed to develop a 2,400 square metres work place fit-out for Outpost in their new mixed-use development in Camden, which is now on site and due to complete in February 2023. We have seen a number of schemes in the London Borough of Barnet progress well, with the continuing construction of Silkstream, our mixed-use scheme for St. George which when complete will provide 1,309 residential apartments and almost 25,000 square metres of commercial space as well as a new public park. We have also been working on the final phase of the West Hendon masterplan, a scheme of over 300 new homes with Barratt London, which is due for submission early in the New Year. Our proposals for Colindale Gardens, in which we developed the scheme for circa 480 homes within the initial detail phases of the masterplan, have now completed and are starting to be occupied. Meanwhile, our mixed-use tower in the heart of Ilford, containing a restaurant, conference facilities, a hotel and around 120 residential apartments continues, with the planning submission expected early to mid next year. We are also continuing to work on the design of the first phase of a major regeneration for Ballymore and Sainsbury’s Property Investments which, all being well will be submitted in the summer. Other projects have included a large number of small site developments across the capital, primarily focussed on the redevelopment of complex and highly constrained ex-retail and industrial sites for residential development as well as urban infill sites. Lastly, we are very pleased to be helping Making The Leap with the early stage analysis of options for improving their existing facilities on their site in Kensal Green.
In Berlin, the year started with us securing a Vorbescheid for a residential scheme on a prominent corner site on Zossener Strasse in Kreuzberg, completing the first key step before progressing to a planning submission. We were also appointed to work on the regeneration of a site on Herman Hesse Strasse, in the district of Pankow, with the aim to submit a planning application for a mixed-use scheme in early 2023. We are also pleased to be in the early stages of working on another mixed-use scheme for Trei on a site in the district of Reinickendorf. This year has seen us participate in a number of competitions and we hope to hear in the New Year whether our bid, in collaboration with Buro Happold and KHBT, for a major project in Dusseldorf has been successful.
We continued to build on the success of our Part III programme, and are happy to say that this year has seen two of our team, Rachel Braude and Oliver Millett, pass their Part III exams, and register with the ARB to become Architects. Lynsey Hogarth joined us again from the University of Bath, where she has recently won the Foster + Partners Research Prize, and was nominated for the RIBA President’s Silver Medal for her dissertation entitled ‘Ruin in Reverse: A Sociological Approach to Investigating the Museum Preservation of Robin Hood Gardens’. As a team we celebrated Earth Day, setting out a series of individual pledges to reduce our impact on the world, which saw commitments to everything from train travel to Berlin to tree planting in Islington. Thanks to our effervescent Social team we enjoyed a full programme of socials and events that bought us all together throughout the year. The summer party was a great success, with the team organising a London-based, fun fuelled day of revelry, good food, building visits and Tik-Tok dance battles. Most recently our Christmas party saw us journey through the streets of London on a curated walk and talk from Lincoln’s Inn Fields to Piccadilly to enjoy the sights and sounds of the city at night, before settling down to a dinner, followed by pub, with the Berlin Team narrowly escaping the country before the snow fell.
As with the past year 2023 will undoubtedly have its challenges for us, as it will for others. We are thankful that we know it will include the continuation of some great projects and the beginnings of new projects in cities across the UK and Europe.
We would like to thank the team, our clients, and our collaborators for their continued, support, creativity and enthusiasm. We hope you all have an enjoyable and relaxing break, and wish you all the very best for 2023.