Before they were famous

What the first New Architects book had to say about five now famous practices when they were starting out.

In the late 1990s the Architecture Foundation published its first book examining a new generation of practices which, though all small at the time, demonstated the promise that a new era was about to unfold for British design. The book proved a huge boost for clients seeking emerging talent and many of the firms featured went on to become the industry equivalent of household names. Collected here are a clutch of prophetic extracts from the first New Architects book describing five little-known firms that have gone on to lead the industry.

Now the Architecture Foundation is publishing a third edition of New Architects celebrating the best practices that have set up in the UK during the past decade. There are just two days left to enter. For more information on how to submit your work vist the project homepage.

Adjaye and Russell Architecture and Design

‘David Adjaye and William Russell formed the practice when the two collaborated on a series of sets for the televised concert ‘Live at the Lighthouse’. Adjaye and Russell are in their formative years as a practice, and the energy and enthusiasm displayed by the partners and their young talented staff is infectious. They are expending all the energy and effort required in the early years of practice and very soon a courageous client will seek out their services and be well rewarded.’

* David Adjaye Associates is now a world renowned firm. Its largest project to date is the £160 million Moscow School of Management in Skolkovo and it is in the running to design Barak Obama’s presidential library. Pictured: Soba Noodle Bar, Soho. (1995)



‘Formed in 1988 after the two partners had worked together at Rock Townsend. While developing a reputation for innovative commercial work they have designed a series of popular community arts and education buildings that have led them to work on university projects. They have a very hands-on, busy feel and currently all jobs are directed by either Roger Hawkins or Russell Brown. They have the potential to expand further; what they do at present is many types of refurbishment for a whole range of new users.’ 

* Now the 23rd largest practice in the country Hawkins\Brown (note the reserved slash after an audacious rebranding) have over 100 competed or in contruction projects  under their belt. Pictured: St Mary's Square, Bury St Edmunds.

Allford Hall Monaghan Morris Architects

‘This practice has quickly established a solid reputation via a series of widely-published competition wins and the completion of intelligent and stylish buildings in a wide range of building types. They are a hands-on competent practice who believe in an architecture which is informed by the contemporary scene but whose primary purpose is to create comfortable, exciting environments for its users – an architecture which describes without dictating. Ready for bigger commissions.’

* According to the AJ120 Allford Hall Monaghan Morris is now the third largest architecture practice in the country with clients including Google, the BBC and Cathedral. Pictured: Pool House, Wiltshire.


MUF Architects

‘They attempt to make architecture less shallow in its concern; often difficult to express in buildings and urban design, but absolutely necessary. Interest in their work – which includes the design of Sir Denys Lasdun’s recent show at the Royal Academy and a scheme to improve Southwark Street as part of the Architecture Foundation’s Future Southwark design initiative — is growing and their ideas have won, and deserved, a wide audience. They probably need to consolidate their theoretical approach with more built examples of it. They have just been given the chance with their appointment to design one of the interiors in the Millennium Dome in Greenwich.’

* Muf Architect/Art has gone on to have a profound impact on the design and consultation methods of many of the most sensitive and successful public space and community projects. Pictured: Purity and Tolerance exhibition at the Architecture Foundation (1992).


Niall McLaughlin Architects

‘Niall McLaughlin Architects is a small practice with experience in cultural, community and residential buildings. Every project is an attempt to reinvent the way in which buildings are changed by natural and artificial light. The ambition of the practice is to remain small, working on projects up to £1 million in value, designing public buildings and community projects which are carefully detailed using a wide range of materials.’

Niall McLaughlin Architects is now hugely respected within and beyond the industry racking up awards across the world. Its chapel in Ripon narrowly missed out on the Stirling Prize in 2013. Pictured: Bird Hide in Foxhall. (1995)

If you have set up a practice any time in the last ten years the Architecture Foundation would like to include your work in the New Architects 3 book. Submit your work for publication today by sending a simple 8-page PDF.