If this year’s circumstances have proven to be a previously unimaginable and, in many ways, tragic disruptor, then one positive consequence has been the acceleration of our collective thinking on many pressing issues, including how we design for health and wellbeing; how we limit operational energy and carbon for future generations; how we move our industry towards being ever more inclusive and accessible; and how our places of work might evolve in response to flexible working and other models of best practice.
While flexible working will undoubtedly feature more regularly in our working lives, the idea and strength of Allford Hall Monaghan Morris remains that we work better when we work together, and that we work best together when we come together. So we look forward to 2021, when we hope to see a return to full strength in our offices in London, Bristol, Oklahoma City, where we will continue to deliver ambitious architecture.
Despite many construction programmes being disrupted, a total of eleven projects have completed this year, spread across London, Bristol, Salford and Oklahoma City.
2 New Bailey Square completed on site in November, joining its neighbour Riverside House within the New Bailey masterplan in Salford; and in Bristol, later living residential scheme The Vincent opened to its first residents. In London we revisited White Collar Factory to create a second London studio for the practice, originally intended to complement our nearby studio in Morelands by providing 25% additional capacity, but in the event enabling us to occupy both spaces less densely.
In Oklahoma we returned to LEVEL, one of our first built US projects, to design the fit out of Bar Cicchetti, and completed an office fit-out for Flywheel Energy Management. The Bower OKC, a residential development in downtown Oklahoma City, also completed this year along with Classen 16 in the city’s Plaza district.
Flywheel Energy Management
2 New Bailey
EH SMITH Showroom
The Bower OKC
The Tea Building
Many awards programmes and celebrations have been postponed this year, but nonetheless several recently completed projects have received recognition in the UK and the US.
We were especially pleased to receive two category awards in this year’s BCI Awards, with 1 Finsbury Avenue named Commercial Property Project of the Year and West Grove North at Elephant Park Housing Project of the Year; 1 Finsbury Avenue also won New London Architecture’s Conserving Prize. Four projects were shortlisted for RIBA London Awards and three were named Civic Trust Awards Regional Finalists. In Oklahoma, Central Exchange and Oso on Paseo won several AIA regional awards.
Riverside House North West Property Design Excellence Award
1 Finsbury Avenue BCIA Commercial Property Project of the Year NLA CONSERVING PRIZE
West Grove North BCIA Housing Project of the year
Central Exchange ULI Oklahoma Impact Award for Large Scale Rehabilitation and Restoration AIA Central States Merit Award for Adaptive Reuse/Preservation AIA Central Oklahoma Design Award for Adaptive Reuse; People’s Choice Award for Adaptive Reuse; Award for Sustainability
Oso on Paseo AIA Central Oklahoma Merit Award for Interiors
The Ray Farringdon Building London Planning Awards - Best new Place to work
Social Capital ULI Oklahoma Impact Award for Small Scale Development
While the public arena of the Planning Committee is somewhat different online, local authorities have adapted to the circumstances and a total of 15 AHMM projects across the UK were granted planning permission during the year.
In October consent for the proposed refurbishment and extension of the Birmingham Hippodrome was granted, while in Bristol, the City Council approved a new academic and research building for the University of Bristol. Elsewhere in the city, the newly consented Assembly Plots B&C will complete the Assembly campus, the first part of which is currently on site; while AHMM’s residential masterplan at Bonnington Walk in Lockleaze was also approved.
Significant among consented schemes across London, Westminster City Council approved plans for Lansdowne House, a new office building which will address the historic Berkeley Square in Mayfair.
Assembly Plot B
Knowle Sixth Form College
2 Ruskin Square
As work completed at AHMM’s new studio space in London, construction began at One Portwall Square, the future home of AHMM Bristol; and not far away the first phase of Assembly Bristol topped out in August.
In central London, both buildings at Soho Place, one of the practice’s longest running projects, reached their highest points with Site B topping out in May and site A in November. At Aldgate in east London, work began on Central House, the refurbishment and extension of the former Cass School of Art and Architecture. We invited Visual Communication students from London Metropolitan University to develop proposals for the site hoarding, and the selected work was installed in October.
In Oklahoma, Wheeler Block 13 topped out, and work began on the Ice House masterplan and Red Solo Pup restaurant and dog park. Construction also started on Tiny Homes, three small houses designed pro-bono for Pivot Foundation, an organisation supporting disadvantaged youth in Oklahoma.
Assembly Plot A
Central House hoarding artwork
Central House artwork designed by students at London Metropolitan University School of Art Architecture and Design
Arthur Stanley House
This year’s changes to our usual living, working and travelling patterns – and their respective impacts – have brought an additional perspective to our role in addressing the climate crisis.
The Sustainability and Building Performance team has continued to work with architects to develop strategies, test performance and collaborate with project teams, using our updated Sustainability Toolkit to track life cycle carbon emissions. In September we began a two year research project with UCL’s Institute of Environmental Design and Engineering; jointly funded by AHMM and Innovate UK, it will investigate the opportunities and implications of Net Zero Carbon building standards on large scale mixed use urban projects. Our annual Sustainability Report was published in November, detailing our practice’s operational carbon footprint and resource use.
In work with wider industry, our Head of Sustainability Dr Craig Robertson contributed to the RIBA’s updated Plan of Work; led the draft of the Sustainability Strategy; and contributed to the 2030 Challenge and Sustainability Outcomes guidance.
RIBA Plan of work
Example of solar analysis - Solar gain per exposure
Example of Embodied Carbon Study
Example of Solar modelling environment study
Sustainability Report - building performance analysis
Our Partnerships work adapted to new circumstances and found different ways to engage with community, humanitarian, education and climate action charities and initiatives, through collective fundraising and virtual volunteering. Our Charity of the Year has been FCV Dorcas, which supports isolated older people in Islington; as well as fundraising for the charity, volunteers supported their befriending service by phone. We donated to food banks, mental health and anti-racism charities and to long-time charity partners including The Magpie Project, the Social Mobility Foundation and Open City’s Accelerate into University programme. Our OKC office joined the Partnerships group and donated to charities supporting communities in the city.
We took education activity online with 370 school students joining an Open Studio week, and 22 young people attended our virtual Summer School, receiving 20 hours of mentoring and learning about different aspects of architecture; working virtually for the first time allowed us to welcome students from around the world. Digital workshops were also run with the Bristol Architecture Centre and with Accumulate, the art school for the homeless, while work experience with the Creative Dimensions Trust went ahead in person in the model shop.
Paul Monaghan hosted a virtual Bartlett alumni event with students presenting their work, including Sharon Tam, winner of this year’s Victor Kite Award for Design Technology.
Creative Dimension Trust
Sandwiches with love
Harris family cycle challenge
shape my city bristol
Partnerships Travel Prize winner – Jordan Green
This year was the fifth for AHMM’s in-house publishing project, FifthMan. In October it published Chronicle, a catalogue of all of AHMM's completed works to date. Designed by BOB Design and with images selected by photographer Tim Soar, the book charts the evolution of our work, client collaborations and architectural approach across 30 years of practice. The book is available for purchase on the FifthMan website along with selected titles from the catalogue. Work continues on a more detailed monograph, created in collaboration with designers Cartlidge Levene, and the latest minigraph - a daybook charting the inspirations behind the redevelopment of The Post Building in central London.
Alongside project work, people across AHMM have contributed to the life of our practice, and to our wider profession and world, collectively and individually. Eighteen members of staff have passed their Part III qualifications over the last 12 months, becoming fully qualified architects. In August Simon Allford was elected as the Royal Institute of British Architects’ next President, beginning his two-year term in the role in September 2021. Paul Monaghan has been an advisor to the UK government’s Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission, which published its final report ‘Living with Beauty’, and has joined a new MHCLG steering group as part of planning reform proposals.
In lieu of our annual conference we held a series of presentations: Paul Monaghan gave a talk on the development of the work of the practice; from Dr Craig Robertson we learned about the work of the Building Performance Team and the changing world context; there was an update on the Partnerships Group’s latest projects; and presentations were given by year’s entrants to the AHMM Travel Prize with trips to Japan and Kenya voted this year’s winners.
Many of AHMM’s usual social activities have had to adapt, but new ones have been created too. Pilates and cooking classes moved onto Zoom; we held a series of drawing and sketching challenges; the AHMM book club was initiated; and the 3030 Challenge was set for staff to collectively walk, cycle or run 30,000 km, raising £4000 for charities focused on pandemic relief.
Launched within the practice during Black History Month, _The Space is a self-initiated group that creates and promotes open discussion, exploration, enjoyment and celebration of different cultures and varied perspectives from across AHMM. A rich programme of talks, discussions, screenings and classes has already had a positive impact and made a significant contribution to the practice’s journey towards Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.
part iii success
AHMM at white collar factory
_the space reading list
Migrateful Gambian cooking class
_the space who do you think you are?
Inktober - ceri davies
Travel prize winner louise payne
Inktober - Giuseppe Conzo