On top of ‘starchitects’ like Norman Foster and the late Zaha Hadid, London is brimming with up-and-coming designers, whose creations include pop-up theatres, rooftop bars and pavilions. Here’s our round-up of the best young architects in the capital.
This pioneering collective in south London remains the only architecture practice to win the Turner Prize, which it bagged in 2015 for regenerating the dilapidated Granby Four Streets estate in Liverpool in Liverpool. As part of the Art on the Underground programme, the group recently covered a small building outside Seven Sisters Underground Station in more than 1,000 handmade tiles in collaboration with artist Matthew Shaw – it had previously used colourful tiling in the design of its former east London workspace, The Yardhouse, which has since been dismantled. Assemble is currently designing a new public art gallery for Goldsmith’s University, which is set to open this later year and involves converting a former Victorian bathhouse at Laurie Grove in south London.
Set up in 2014, IF_DO came to the fore last year when it was chosen to design the Dulwich Pavilion for the Dulwich Picture Gallery as part of the museum’s 200th anniversary celebrations. The pop-up structure, which has now been dismantled and will be donated to a nearby school, was made from timber and translucent, mirrored screens, a design inspired by the gallery’s architect Sir John Soane. The pavilion proved a hit and was even opened with a music set from local resident Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine. The up-and-coming studio – founded by Edinburgh University graduates Al Scott, Sarah Castle and Thomas Bryans – is now designing a number of private homes in the capital and is also working on a top-secret project to transform part of a major building in central London (details will be revealed soon).
Founded in 2006 by Carl Turner, this architectural studio is well-known for its innovative designs. In December the practice unveiled its latest scheme, called Peckham Levels – a conversion of a disused multi-storey car park into bars, restaurants and affordable workspace for locals, complete with an Instagram-friendly, UV-painted stairwell. Two years ago the firm transformed a disused space in south London to create Pop Brixton – a ‘mini city’ of bars, food stalls and office space created primarily using wood and old shipping containers stacked on top of each other. Perhaps controversially, the firm is working on plans to redevelop a square in Peckham, which is being protested by some locals.
Thank you, Practice Architecture, for designing every south Londoner’s favourite summer bar, Frank’s Cafe, which sits on the roof of Carl Turner Architects’ Peckham Levels. The funky hangout in Peckham – only open in the summer – was pieced together in 2008 using second-hand scaffolding boards and scrap wood with a red tarpaulin roof. Since then, the firm has worked on The Yard Theatre in east London, which involved converting a former warehouse using salvaged materials, and a pop-up theatre in the car park space below Frank’s Cafe made from brass, gold and straw bales.
This emerging practice is mainly based in east London’s trendy Brick Lane, but also has a studio in Amsterdam. The firm has a diverse portfolio ranging from one-off new-build homes – like its award-winning three-bedroom house, called No. 49, in south-east London – to designing a hotel in Shoreditch and refurbishing conference facilities at the Barbican. The architects at 31/44 say their buildings are ‘characterized by a thoughtful response to context – they are not conceived in isolation, but instead grow out of the particular conditions of each setting’.
Tokyo-educated Takeshi Hayatsu previously worked for award-winning 6a architects before establishing south-London-based Hayatsu Architects in 2016. Although it’s still early days, Hayatsu works in the same studios as Assemble and has already turned heads when he created a teahouse, in collaboration with historian and architect Terunobu Fujimori, for the Japanese House exhibition at the Barbican Centre last year. He was also a finalist in the competition to design the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2018. Hayatsu says his approach to design is ‘crafted, thoughtful, sensitive and playful’, and that he tailors his work to ‘unique situations and requirements of users’.
TDO architecture + design studio was set up in 2010 by three graduates – Tom Lewith, Doug Hodgson and Owen Jones – from the Barlett, the UK’s leading architecture school. The architects designed their own timber-suspended studio in a disused railway arch in Southwark. Previous projects include a highly acclaimed house in Old Church Street, largely made from bronze and brick, which was shortlisted for a RIBA London Award and a New London Architecture Award in 2015.
Founding directors Rachel Coll and David Tigg | Courtesy of Tigg Coll Architects
Founded in 2008 by David Tigg and Rachel Coll, this west London practice specialises in housing. These include a number of well-executed private homes, such as its ‘House for Agnes’, which involved transforming a depilated building into a habitable space for a young family. The firm also works to create new communities through housing schemes, like its recently finished Battersea Square Mews, which fronts a public square, and has completed a number of co-living projects, too.
Mary Duggan, formerly at the north-London practice Duggan Morris, set up her new firm Mary Duggan Architects just last year. Still, the architect already has a number of exciting schemes under her belt, including designing a new event space at the Science Museum, which is set to open in January 2019, and extending a Victorian warehouse in Bermondsey to create a new home for a composer.
This award-winning architecture and interior design studio was set up in 2011. The practice is known for its stylish dwellings, including its black-brick Shadow House in north London, which became the first home of the practice’s founders David Liddicoat and Sophie Goldhill. Outside London, the architects have worked on a number of interesting schemes like a barn-conversion in Kent (called the ‘Ancient Party Barn’), which involved transforming some historical agricultural buildings.