Ben Derbyshire was elected by the Institute’s 44,000 strong membership in August 2016 on a platform calling for change – both in the institute and across the profession. After a year serving as president-elect, he succeeded Jane Duncan as President in September 2017.
Ben’s career in practice started in 1973 when he joined Hunt Thompson Associates as a year out student. After returning to university to complete his Masters Degree, he came back to the practice permanently in 1976 and stayed ever since, rising to become managing director and now chair of the practice.
The practice, now known as HTA Design is perhaps best known for its award-winning housing, residential and regeneration work.
Our guest this week made a name for himself working under someone else’s name. For nearly 30 years Ken Shuttleworth worked at Foster & Partners where he led on the design and delivery of such acclaimed buildings as the HSBC Bank in Hong Kong, as well as both 30 St Mary’s Axe – better known as the Gherkin – and City Hall in London.
In 2004 he decided to make a break and leave Foster & Partners. After mulling over a flurry of other job offers he eventually decided to start his own practice. Or rather to start his employees’ own practice. The practice he founded was setup as an employee-owned business – similar to the John Lewis Partnership chain of department stores in the UK – where the shares are held in trust for the benefit of the employees.
Ken continues to make a name for himself – though again still not under his own name. Make Architects, the practice he founded, now employs over 160 people from their offices in London as well as Hong Kong and Sydney. They have produced a huge legacy of buildings ranging for the Copper Box arena for the London 2012 Olympics – to Rathbone Square a vast new development of residential, office, retail and public space in the heart of Fitzrovia.
Our guest this week has led something of a peripatetic life. Born to an Austrian father and a German mother, Christina Seilern grew up in Switzerland before moving to the United States with the intention of studying biology at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. But she soon dropped biology and switched direction to study architecture at MIT and then at Columbia University in New York.
After working for a number of smaller practices, in 1997 she took on a junior job in the model shop at Rafael Vinoly Architects where she rose quickly through the ranks, going on to become a Director – working on major projects including Princeton University.
In 2000 she relocated to London where she was charged with opening Vinoly’s new European Office, steadily growing the office over five years from just her, to a staff of more than 50.
Christina won and oversaw a number of major jobs for the practice including the Curve Theatre in Leicester and 20 Fenchurch Street – better known as the Walkie Talkie – in London.
In 2005 Christina left Rafael Vinoly to setup her own practice as Studio Seilern Architects. For this week’s episode we join Christina in her practice’s light filled offices in West London.
On the programme this week is the architect Tatiana von Preussen. Tatiana originally studied architecture at Cambridge University in the UK. After a year out working for the architecture firm Stanton Williams, she moved to New York to attend Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture to complete her Masters.
In 2009, amongst the turmoil of the Global Financial Crisis that was decimating the construction industry, Tatiana returned to the UK with Catherine Pease and Jessica Reynolds to setup their own practice vPPR architects.
The practice shot to public attention for one of their first building the multi-awarding winning housing project Ott’s Yard in Tufnell Park, north London – a complex and overlooked infill site where the practice also acted as developer.
Tatiana and her two co-directors have gone on to win numerous awards, including the RIBA London Emerging Architect of the Year Award in 2015 – and were shortlisted the same year for the RIBA House of the Year.
On the programme this week is the architect Annalie Riches – one half of the multi-award winning architecture firm Mikhail Riches.
The practice, founded by Annalie and her partner David Mikhail – are known for their considerable track record of beautifully considered housing developments.
Annalie originally studied architecture at Sheffield University before moving to Paris where she found work at RFR, the architecture and engineering practice founded by Peter Rice, Martin Francis and Ian Richie.
In 1998 Annalie and two friends Silvia Ullmayer and Barti Garibaldo bought a plot of land and designed and largely self-built their own housing development at Whatcott’s Yard – the site of former garages in North London. The scheme went on to win an RIBA Award and the Architects’ Journal First Building Award.
In 2013, Mikhail Riches won the RIBA’s Award for London Building of the Year for Church Walk in London, where the practice had also acted as client and developer.
In this week’s episode, we talk about learning and working in a foreign language. We find out the challenges and rewards of architects working as developers. And we hear about the practice’s plans for the renovation of the Brutalist Park Hill estate in Sheffield.
Our guest this week is the architect Eric Parry. Eric was born in Kuwait in 1952 where his father was the country’s Chief Medical Officer, helping establish its health service. When Eric was ten, the family returned to the UK and settled in Liverpool.
Eric later studied architecture at Newcastle University in the early 1970s before going on to spend a year in Iran studying nomadic settlements.
Eric began his professional career as a lecturer at Cambridge University – where he taught for 14 years. Alongside his teaching, in 1983 he founded Eric Parry Architects. But in 1997 he made a decision to focus principally on the business – which is now a 90 person strong practice based just off Old Street in East London. The practice has developed a huge body of critically acclaimed work, especially in the cultural and conservation sectors, and mainly in London. Much of his work has a strong focus on the materials used with a strong artistic influence.
In this week’s episode we talk about Eric’s early influences in Athens and Rome – as well as his interest in nomadic settlements. We talk about his work teaching and the move from academia to practice. And we touch on some of the practice’s most notable projects including the renovation – or renewal – of St Martin in the Fields church just off Trafalgar Square in London, as well as Pembroke College in Cambridge and One Eagle Place, just of Piccadilly.
And finally we hear about the practice’s recent plans for 1 Underschaft, which is set to become one of the tallest buildings in the City of London
On the programme this week is the architect Patty Hopkins.
Patty studied architecture at the Architectural Association where she met her future husband Michael Hopkins. After graduating from the AA Patty ran her own practice whilst Michael worked in partnership with Norman Foster. But in 1976 the couple decided to start their own firm together – which went on to become the firm now known as Hopkins Architects.
In 1994 Patty and her husband Michael were jointly awarded the RIBA Royal Gold Medal for Architecture, the profession’s highest personal award
Of their early work, their own multi-award-winning home in Hampstead, which they built for themselves in 1976, with its lightweight steel structure and glass façade is an early example of the modern and high-tech style for which they would become known.
Another of the practice’s early work was Fleet Infant School, in Hampshire. The practice was commissioned by Colin Stansfield Smith, then Chief Architect at Hampshire County Council. Stansfield Smith, Sir Colin as he later became, was largely responsible for turning Hampshire into a beacon of exemplary-designed state schools.
A few weeks before our interview, and quite by chance, Fleet Infant’s School was given a Grade II listing by Historic England. The school also happens to be where your interviewer first went to school.
For this week’s episode we spoke to Patty in her home in Hampstead, where they founded the practice, and where the couple still live.
On the programme this week is the architect Alison Brooks.
Alison was born in Canada and studied architecture at the University of Waterloo in Ontario. As part of Canada’s co-op system, during her studies she alternated between university and practice, gaining experience with many of Canada’s top architecture firms.
After university Alison left Canada and moved to London, initially on a working holiday visa. Her big break came when she found a job with Israeli designer Ron Arad, first on the competition – and later the delivery – for the Tel Aviv Opera House. Ron had previously made a name for himself with his design and production company One-Off, and later the One-Off Showroom in Covent Garden.
Alison went on to become a partner in the practice, Ron Arad Associates, where she stayed for seven years. But in 1996 she left to start her own firm, Alison Brooks Architects, which quickly earned a reputation for delivering award-winning housing schemes.
She was shortlisted again for Stirling in 2013, for Newhall Be, a housing development in Harlow in Essex. The practice has also won the two other big RIBA architecture prizes, the Manser Medal for Salt House and the Stephen Lawrence prize for Wrap House.
In this week’s episode we talk about drawing the straight lines for petrol station canopies and, perhaps more rewardingly, the complex non-orthogonal curves for the Tel Aviv Opera House. We talk about Alison’s early experience measuring every detail of her childhood house and detailing every measure of a project by hand.
We talk about Canadian education and British housing. And we consider the benefits of winning work through competitions.
The practice has had an extraordinary few years, having been shortlisted three times for the prestigious RIBA Stirling prize, in 2010 for Clapham Manor Primary School, 2016 for Trafalgar Place, Elephant and Castle, and most recently in 2017 for Hastings Pier. I joined Sadie a few days after their third nomination, Hastings Pier, had just been named the winner of this year’s Prize.
Sadie studied Interior Architecture at Kingston Polytechnic where she met her future colleagues, before going on to the Royal College of Art.
The practice’s first built project was at One Centaur Street in London for Solidspace, the developer led by architect Roger Zogolovitch (previously the Z in practice CZWG).
In addition to her role as Founding Director of the practice, Sadie has taken on a wide range of other roles including Professor of Professional Practice at the University of Westminster; Design Panel Chair for High Speed Two; Commissioner on the National Infrastructure Commission; one of the Mayor of London’s Design Advocates, and many other roles.
In this week’s episode we talk about climbing mountains and cycling across countries; about starting practices, sailing boats and surviving cancer.
We joined Sadie in the practice’s offices near City Hall in London.
Many architects start their career dreaming of their perfect commission – perhaps the chance of creating an iconic building that defines a city.
Few architects though get the opportunity to totally redefine and reshape whole swathes of a city.
Our guest this week is not an architect but a developer, having made his name at Argent through his acclaimed urban regeneration work, initially at Brindleyplace in Birmingham and then through the vast transformation of Kings Cross in London. Kings Cross has become a defining example of bold well-managed urban regeneration.
In the early 1980s Roger studied Building Management and Engineering at university before entering world of work in the midst of a deep recession.
In 1987 he joined the fledgling developer Argent. Two years later he became a director, and went on to become Chief Executive in 1997.
He was awarded a CBE for services to sustainable development in the 2007 Queen’s Honours List. In 2010 he became an Honorary Fellow of the RIBA