This year the practice has leapt eight places up the ranking, with the addition of 28 architects, putting it firmly on the shortlist for fastest-growing practice. It is almost entirely UK-based. Fees have also grown, reaching £22.8 million, compared with £17.1 million last year. More than half of the work comes from existing clients.
The practice has a research partnership with the University College London engineering doctorate programme, looking at life-cycle analysis of buildings. The aim of the four- year programme is to develop a toolkit to enable designers to take informed design decisions at an early stage and communicate the reasoning behind these decisions back to clients and planners visually.
Probably still best known for its Park Hill makeover in Sheffield, last year the practice tackled another milestone in British housing, recreating the first phase of an indifferent Peabody Estate on the railway lands of Wandsworth, south London, to create what the AJ described as ‘a new type of London vernacular reminiscent of Victorian and Edwardian streets’.
In September the practice won the competition to design the £60 million student centre and central square for the University of Lancaster in Preston. But its highest-profile educational building was the refurbishment and remodelling for University College London of 22 Gordon Street, home to The Bartlett School of Architecture (pictured). The practice pushed the original brief, which simply asked for a modest two-storey extension, to end up with a doubling of teaching and research space within the existing structure.