Review of 2017

Completed projects

Awards

Planning 

Work in progress

FifthMan

Events and  exhibitions

Practice and people

 

 



AHMM has continued to focus on the long-term throughout 2017, designing and constructing buildings of many types and sizes for clients, both long-standing and new, while making important changes to the practice’s ownership structure to secure its long-term future.
 

In a world which seems to be increasingly consumed by short-term political expediency and all the uncertainty which that brings, we believe in the importance of taking the long view and concentrating our collective wit and energy on those areas where we can exert some control and influence. The following provides a glimpse of what this has meant for the practice over the past 12 months.

 

A kaleidoscopic view of the atrium at Quadrant 4
 

Completed projects

This year has seen 15 projects completed in the UK and the US, including the culmination of an extended journey of research, development, prototyping and invention in the completion of White Collar Factory with Derwent London, a mixed-use development at Old Street roundabout. Originally conceived in 2008 in the context of world-wide economic upheaval and eight years in the making, this low cost, low energy and low carbon campus development offers a new blueprint for workplace design.


2017 also saw the final chapter in an 11-year odyssey to reinvent the University of Amsterdam’s Roeterseiland campus originally designed in the 1960s by Dutch-Polish architect Norbert Gawronski, and the much swifter, but technically complex reworking of Curtis Green’s 1930s building on the Thames Embankment to provide a new home for the Metropolitan Police in the latest incarnation of that globally-recognised address, New Scotland Yard.
 

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Awards

A different kind of recognition came for New Scotland Yard this year in the form of an RIBA National Award, the AJ Retrofit Award for Best Office over 10,000sqm, Building magazine’s Project of the Year and the Prime Minister’s Better Public Building Award. Meanwhile, at the other end of Westminster Bridge, the aptly named Westminster Bridge Road project for Urbanest, a ‘city sandwich’ including a sixth form college and student accommodation, affordable workplaces and a health club, won the World Architecture Festival’s award for Best Mixed Use Building. Finally, in their inaugural year, we were delighted to be awarded the AJ Architecture Awards Refurbishment Project of the Year for our first major commercial project in the City of London, King William Street.
 

These projects and others picked up a total of 25 awards in the UK, including five RIBA Awards, while the OKC studio collected no fewer than five American Institute of Architecture Oklahoma Awards for the Grand Lake Poolhouse, Bob Moore Campus, Jesus Saves and the Plow Building.
 

 


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Planning

Of the 13 projects granted planning consent this year many have involved the integration of new development with the historic fabric of the city. In Whitechapel the proposed Tower Hamlets Civic Centre combines a new council chamber and administrative offices with the refurbishment of the grade II listed 18th century Royal London Hospital while, further east in Woolwich, the Royal Arsenal’s grade II listed Officers’ House and Royal Carriage Factory will be reworked to provide housing.

 

Staying east but closer to home, other planning consents included 225 City Road, which will join White Collar Factory and The Bower as AHMM’s third building on ‘Silicon Roundabout’, and Shoreditch Village Phase 2 which will face the Tea Building across Shoreditch High Street.

 
 

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Work in progress

Structural forms beginning to take shape include the chamfered geometry of The Vincent in Bristol and the cascading concrete frame of 119 Farringdon Road, while elsewhere in London the post-war structural frames of The Post Building and The Bower continue to be extended upwards and outwards. In the meantime, working within the grade II listed 1 Finsbury Avenue, the first and still the best of the 1980s Broadgate masterplan, redundant finishes are being stripped off to expose and enjoy the original steel construction.
 

Over in White City, the former Television Centre begins to emerge in its new, mixed-use guise as offices, hotel, private members’ club and apartments, with a trio of BBC production studios on retained and refurbished for good measure.
 

Meanwhile, an altogether different approach to re-using redundant structures and at a very different scale is almost complete in Squirrel Park, Oklahoma City, where shipping containers are being sliced, spliced, stacked and staggered to create a community of four dwellings set around a communal landscape.

 

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FifthMan

In its second year of operation, FifthMan, AHMM’s in-house publishing initiative, produced three new books with the New Scotland Yard and White Collar Factory projects each featuring in their own ‘minigraph’ volume while A Promise of Living brought together a selection of Tim Soar’s photographs of the practice’s work in Oklahoma City. Coming soon will be Collected Volumes, the story of Weston Street told in collaboration with developer Solidspace.

 

 

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Events and exhibitions

This year AHMM was invited to exhibit at the British School at Rome, with a show exploring ‘Architecture and the Art of the Extra Ordinary’. The exhibition focused on the development of the idea of the Universal Building and how this approach to design has been manifested in six projects across the UK, Europe and the US. The exhibition was launched with a talk by Simon Allford in July. AHMM was also invited to take part in the RIBA International Week: Competitions exhibition and the NLA London: Design Capital show. A technical drawing of Number One Oxford Street (Soho Place) also featured in this year’s Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.
 

 


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Practice and People

Alongside all of the project work described above, the practice has continued to develop its cultural and partnerships programmes, both within the practice and beyond.

 

The AHMM Spring Conference was held at the RIBA, where we were lucky enough to get the inside track on development from long-term collaborators Simon Silver and Paul Williams of Derwent London, while James O’Callaghan of Eckersley O’Callaghan reprised his IoSE Milne Medal Lecture and the evolution of structural glass technologies, including the creation of the world’s largest autoclave.

 

Our summer research trip took us to the city of Birmingham where we visited AHMM projects old and new, including CASPAR, Walsall Bus Station and Waverley School, followed by afternoon tea hosted by Glenn Howells Architects at their office/gallery.

 

 

The practice continues to build on its culture of partnerships and outreach, with 205 AHMM volunteers spending 1,224 hours on good causes, and over 30 charities supported. Education initiatives included working with Swanlea School in Whitechapel, the Architectural Association’s Little Architect programme and Oliver Goldsmith primary school in Peckham and, as part of the London Festival of Architecture in June, AHMM joined forces with NLA’s City Centre to create Miniplex, an architectural installation in Paternoster Square.

 


 

Sporting endeavours included a 100km cycle ride raising money for Sue Ryder, the Bristol 10k, Dig Deeper and Tough Mudder, as well as the Club Peloton Cycle to MIPIM in aid of Coram. We are also extremely proud that Jazmin Rogers, an architect in our Bristol studio, won a bronze medal representing Team GB at the grand final of the ITU Age Group World Triathlon Championships.
 


 

The biggest change for the practice itself in 2017 has undoubtedly been the transition to becoming an Employee Ownership Trust announced in late September - an important stepping-stone for AHMM, and completely aligned with the practice’s prevailing spirit and culture of engagement and collaboration.
 

  

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Planning 

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