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New practices: Stonewood Design

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

Stonewood Design, Castle Combe, near Bath

Founded: 2010 by du Pisanie; Vaudin joined 2012

Main people: Matt Vaudin, Nicola du Pisanie

Where have you come from? Matt flew the nest from Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, where he was a partner but we met at Arup Associates. Nicola had previously worked at Rodney Harber Associates in South Africa.

What work do you have? It’s mainly residential. We want to move into other sectors – schools, public realm – but this will mean getting more strategic, bid-based work.

What are your ambitions? We’re trying to grow but we would rein things in if it no longer becomes fun and gets too large and serious. We do not want to change the world; we want to be involved in meaningful, environment-led projects that make a small difference.

What are the biggest challenges you are facing as a start-up? Economic uncertainty. We are lucky to have a healthy workload and, by 2014, hope to have ridden the storm for another year.

Which scheme from the past five years has inspired you most? My final project at Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, a neonatal unit for premature babies at the Royal United Hospital in Bath. It was a community-led project, which constantly challenged assumptions about designing for an acute healthcare environment.

How do you market yourselves? Through our website and networking groups. It has surprised us how much work has come through the website; we’re also speaking at Ecobuild this year.


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