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New practice #66: Paul Testa Architecture

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

Paul Testa Architecture, Sheffield

Founded: September 2010

Main people: Paul Testa

Where have you come from? I worked on community projects for Allen Tod in Sheffield before their demise and then BDP and Bond Bryan, mainly in education work. After redundancy last summer, it made sense to change direction.

What work do you have? I have ongoing work for Barnsley Council and I’ve just finished a project for a local community arts organisation. I have an interesting domestic scheme on the go, and I’m getting excited about a project for an organic pig farmer in Shropshire.

What are your ambitions? I’m not very ambitious. I am keen to collaborate with other designers. I’m keeping an open mind, but definitely want to continue working with community organisations, social enterprises and interesting domestic clients. I want to be known for making places that people enjoy living and working in and that are truly sustainable.

How optimistic are you? I’m pretty optimistic; I teach at Sheffield University and, with low costs, I don’t need lots to sustain myself. I can be very flexible and turn quite unlikely projects to profit. I also have great support from my wife, family and friends, which has made the whole thing much less daunting.

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