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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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Episode Eleven – Alison Brooks

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.

Alison Brooks. Image credit: Mark Hadden

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.

Alison shot to prominence in 2008 for her work on Accordia, a housing scheme in Cambridge, with Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and Maccreanor Lavington. The project went on to jointly win them the RIBA Stirling Prize that year.

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.

We joined Alison in her bustling office early one evening . Continue reading “Episode Eleven – Alison Brooks”

Episode Ten – Sadie Morgan

On the programme  this week is Sadie Morgan.

In 1995, Alex de Rijke, Philip Marsh and Sadie Morgan founded the architecture practice dRMM.

Sadie Morgan (c) Andy Matthews

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.

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Episode Nine – Roger Madelin

Roger Madelin. Image courtesy of British Land

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

Last year he left Argent to join the FTSE 100 developer British Land, where he’s leading the exciting transformation of 46 acres of land in Canada Water in South East London.

For this week’s episode we join Roger at British Land’s offices in Mayfair.

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Episode Eight – Kate Goodwin

Kate Goodwin
Kate Goodwin (c) Ruth Schocken Katz

On the programme this week is Kate Goodwin. Kate studied architecture at the University of Sydney and also as an exchange student at McGill University in Montreal.

After finishing University, in 2003 Kate left her native Australia and moved to London. Following a brief stint temping in various roles including at the BBC, she started work as Architecture Programme Coordinator at the Royal Academy of Arts.

Over the intervening 14 years Kate rose steadily through the ranks going on to become both the Academy’s Drue Heinz Curator of Architecture, and Head of the Architecture programme.

In this week’s episode we talk about conceiving and curating the widely acclaimed Sensing Spaces exhibition. We talk about the Royal Academy’s 250th anniversary and David Chipperfield’s plans for the new architecture centre. We also find out about the upcoming Renzo Piano exhibition.

We consider what London has gained from Sydney and what Sydney has learned from Melbourne. And we talk about the interplay between art and architecture.

Finally we discuss gender in the field of architecture. We consider how a better built environment requires a better gender balance, not just amongst those who  create architecture but also amongst those who are responsible for its commissioning, financing and planning.

We speak to Kate in the imposing and slightly intimidating General Assembly Room at the Royal Academy.

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Episode Seven – Hugh Broughton

Hugh Broughton (c) Jane Airey
Hugh Broughton (c) Jane Airey

On the programme this week is Hugh Broughton.  Hugh is perhaps best known for his practice’s work designing the British Antarctic Survey’s Halley VI Research Station. Its bright red and blue modules set atop large hydraulic stilts loom large over the glistening white Antarctic landscape.

The research station’s iconic outline has entered the popular imagination, having featured both on the front of a Royal Mail Stamp and the back of a Two Pound coin. More recently the station featured on a BBC Horizon documentary, which covered the extraordinary process of moving the building.

After university in Edinburgh and a brief spell working with John McAslan, Hugh founded his own practice in 1996. Following their successful work for the British Antarctic Survey, the practice went on to forge an enviable track record for their other work in remote and polar regions – as well as work closer to home on a string of cultural and heritage projects.

In this week’s episode we talk about the chilly task of designing for the Antarctic, about working for NASA and the architects’ role as a marriage councillor.

We discuss the joy of winning competitions and the pain of losing them. And we consider the benefits and necessity of having many strings to your bow.

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