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New Practices #4: AU Studio

The fourth in a series of practice profiles looking at architects who have recently decided to go it alone either through choice or redundancy

Architecture + Urbanism Studio, Clerkenwell, London

Founded: October 2009

Main people: Emmet O’Sullivan and Marko Neskovic. Recently joined by Richard Roberts, Patrick Skingley, Peter McMahon, Eva Jimenez, Clark Denman and Natalie Simmons.

Where have you come from? I [Emmet] met Marko at University in Brighton. We worked together at MJP Architects and, along with five colleagues, founded Metropolitan Workshop in 2005. We remained associates there until establishing Architecture + Urbanism Studio (aka AU Studio) last month.Richard Roberts is a past colleague at Metropolitan Workshop and Patrick Skingley was tutored by Emmet at The University of Sheffield

What work do you have and what kind of projects are you looking for? We’re working on two high-end residential schemes in London and have been invited to compete for a 600m2 visitor centre in a North London park. We are also working on a large park in Tripoli, Libya with a number of buildings within it, including a health and fitness centre, café, restaurant and library (pictured).

What are your ambitions? We want to create buildings that our clients are delighted with and our peers admire and respect. There are eight of us already in our studio and we have capacity to grow. The critical thing is getting the right people on board. We’ve looked at more than a thousand CVs and interview every day. It’s been difficult saying no to so many talented people, particularly those who’ve just finished their degree.

How optimistic are you as a start-up practice? We have to be lean, spend money wisely and give our clients architecture that is innovative, creative and good value. Hopefully when the economic climate improves these habits will stay with us. All our friends and colleagues seem genuinely excited about us setting up, which is reassuring.

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