New practice #76: Alma-nac Collaborative Architecture
The latest in a series of practice profiles looking at architects who have recently decided to go it alone either through choice or circumstances
Alma-nac Collaborative Architecture, Waterloo, London
Founded: March 2010
Main people: Christopher Bryant, Caspar Rodgers, Tristan Wigfall
Where have you come from? We met studying the Diploma at the Bartlett. Between us we have worked for a range of practices including: Arup, Cottrell & Vermeulen, Edward Cullinan Architects, Foster + Partners, Ian Simpson Architects, and Make.
What work do you have and what kind of projects are you looking for? We are working on a boarding house in Tanzania, an eco-retreat in Suffolk, a spire, a house overlooking the sea near Hastings, and a collection of smaller projects. We’ve also recently completed a Giant Edible Gingerbread House for Great Ormond Street Hospital, which was devoured by 2000 people over three days.
For new work we tend to pitch speculative projects rather than enter competitions. This allows us to work on projects we like, and avoids the lottery of open competitions. When we first started we set up market stalls offering ‘free architecture’; free consultations to be precise. This is how we gained much of our early work, but it was also an interesting place to hear what people thought about architecture and architects.
What are your ambitions? We want to be good, and New York is a nice city.
How optimistic are you as a start-up practice? We’re optimistic. Recessions are good, they are part of the natural economic cycle and tend to be the breeding ground for new ideas and change.
When we started we were sent a postcard with this quote from the German polymath Johan Goethe ‘Whatever you do, or dream, begin it now.. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.’ Quotes tend to be tedious, but this seemed well timed and maybe encompassed a little of what we were thinking.