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New practices: Kirkwood McLean Architects

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

Kirkwood McLean Architects, Spitalfields, London

Main people: Dean Kirkwood and John McLean

Founded: August 2012

Where have you come from?
We met at the Bartlett School of Architecture. Dean Kirkwood was an associate at John McAslan + Partners, while John McLean was project architect at Foreign Office Architects and Allford Hall Monaghan Morris.

What work do you have?
Our projects include restoring a Grade II-listed school in Greenwich and a 30-unit mixed-use development in south-west London. We also undertake smaller portions of larger commissions for other architects, which keeps us involved in larger public works that might otherwise be beyond our reach.

What are your ambitions?
Our initial ambition is relatively simple; to enjoy our work and evolve an attitude towards architecture which is specific to us. We do have ambitions to grow so that we can take on larger more complex projects, and set no bar on scale as each increment of growth offers new challenges and opportunities. It’s too early to say definitively what kind of practice we’ll be, or what work we’ll be doing, other than we’re convinced it will be worthwhile and interesting.

How optimistic are you as a start-up practice?
You have to be optimistic to start your own practice and our first year has proven very positive. Our former practices, friends and colleagues have provided both practical advice and also helped us secure work.

How do you market yourself?
We market ourself primarily face-to-face. We regularly attend events, lectures and exhibitions. We enjoy meeting new people and looking for new opportunities.


Mixed-use development, Kirkwood McLean Architects

Mixed-use development, Kirkwood McLean Architects

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