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New practice: AQUA

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

AQUA architecture|design, Kensington, London

Main people: Alia Beyg Javed

Founded: October 2012

Where have you come from? After graduating from the Bartlett, Javed established her career in London. She moved to Dubai in 2007, joining Atkins Global to work on projects in the Middle East before returning to London in 2012.

What work do you have? We take a fresh and fluid approach to architecture; bringing together highly skilled, sector-specific, UK-based firms to create multidisciplinary collaborations to bid for projects which focus largely on international locations and emerging markets. Teams vary according to need; from economists to golf course designers. The key is local partnership to add relevance and context to the design and delivery. The firm is bidding for masterplanning projects in the Middle East, while in the UK the focus is on residential and commercial developments.

Scale is not an issue.

What are your ambitions? To evolve and create a brand which emphasises healthy and vibrant places – to think and work sustainably. Other strands include research projects looking at environmental apps and development projects in distressed communities.

What are the biggest challenges facing you as a start-up? The biggest concern is to not drift into extensions and refurbishments. Establishing a good UK reputation is challenging as clients go with names and people that they know.

How are you marketing yourselves? Networking internationally with RIBA and UKTI events. Personal contacts, social networks and researching property linked websites are our main source of marketing,


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