Episode Twenty-One – Steven Charlton

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.

Steven Charlton. Image courtesy of the practice.

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.

Listen Now

Episode Twenty – John McAslan

Our guest this week is the architect John McAslan.

John was born Glasgow and later studied architecture at Edinburgh University before following his father to the United States where he worked for architecture firms in Baltimore, Maryland and Cambridge, Massachusetts.

He returned to London in 1980 to take up a job at Richard Rogers’ practice.  Four years later he and then colleague Jamie Troughton left to start their own firm, Troughton McAslan.  Following Jamie’s return to Scotland, in 1996 John went on to found John McAslan and Partners – as the practice is known today

John McAslan (c) John McAslan + Partners

The practice has delivered a huge body of critically acclaimed work around the world. And was recently longlisted with Triad Architects for the RIBA’s International Prize for Kericho Cathedral in Kenya.

But the practice has also delivered a large body of award-winning work in London, including the Roundhouse, Friends Meeting House and the new Western Concourse at Kings Cross Station to name just a few.

John McAslan + Partners was named World Architect of the Year in 2009 by Building Design magazine and John was awarded the CBE for services to architecture in the 2012 Queens New Year’s Honours list.

Listen Now

Episode Nineteen – Rashid Ali

Our guest this week is the architect Rashid Ali.  Rashid grew up in Hargeisa in Northern Somalia and then in Manchester in Northern England. He went on to study architecture at Greenwich University and Bartlett School of Architecture, as well as City Design at the LSE. He subsequently worked for Karakusevic Carson Architects – and then at Adjaye Associates – the practice which had been recently founded by David Adjaye – where he worked on a number of high profile projects including the Stirling Prize nominated Idea Store Library in London and the Museum of Contemporary Arts in Denver.

After five years at Adjaye Associates he left to pursue a number of other projects including teaching, research, architecture and urbanism – all encompassed by his practice, RA Projects.

Rashid Ali (c) Hanan Bihi

The practice – now know as Rashid Ali Archiects – works on a range of scales and typologies, from one-off houses to cultural centres and exhibition design – and also research work in London, Somalia and across Africa.

Rashid was shortlisted for the Young Architect of the Year Award in 2008 and again 2011.  In this week’s episode we discuss the practice’s work on Fin House in London for fashion designer Roksanda Ilincic; we talk about the difficulties and benefits of balancing teaching with practice,  as well as the practice’s increasing range of work back in Hergesia in Somalia and across Africa.

Listen Now

Episode Eighteen – Ben Derbyshire

Our guest this week is the 76th President of the Royal Institute of British Architects.

Ben Derbyshire (c) Tom Campbell

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.

Listen Now

Episode Seventeen – Ken Shuttleworth

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.

Ken Shuttleworth (c) Make Architects

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.

Listen Now

Episode Sixteen – Christina Seilern

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.

Christina Seilern (c) Emma Hardy

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.

Listen Now

Episode Fifteen – Tatiana von Preussen

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.

After graduating in 2007 she stayed on in New York, landing a job at James Corner Field Operations, the landscape architecture firm and project lead for the New York Highline – along with the architecture practice Diller Scofidio + Renfro.

Tatiana Von Preussen (c) Charlie Chatfield.

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.

Listen Now

Episode Fourteen – Annalie Riches

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.

After two years Annalie returned to London to continue her studies at North London University, now The Cass School of Architecture, where she studied under Peter St John of Caruso St John Architects (who won the 2016 Stirling Prize).

Annalie Richies
Annalie Riches (c) Mark Haddon

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.

Continue reading “Episode Fourteen – Annalie Riches”

Episode Thirteen – Eric Parry

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 Parry. Image courtesy Eric Parry Architects

Returning again to the UK, Eric studied at Hornsey College of Art, before going on to gain his MA at the Royal College of Art, and then on to the Architectural Association.

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

Listen Now

Episode Twelve – Patty Hopkins

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.

The practice has gone on to design hugely iconic buildings such as the 2012 Olympic Velodrome, Portcullis House providing offices for Members of Parliament, to Lords Cricket Ground and Glyndebourne Opera House, to name but a few.

Patty Hopkins (c) Tom Miller

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.

Listen Now