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New practices: Studio AR

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

Studio AR, Tower of St Mary Woolnoth Church, Bank, London

Founded: September 2011

Main people: Alex Scott-Whitby, Rory Pennant-Rea

Where have you come from? We met studying architecture at Newcastle. Rory has worked for WestonWilliamson and RyderHKS, Alex worked for Ad agency AMV.BBDO and filmmakers Squint/Opera, finally returning to architecture working for Graeme Massie Architects and Benson+Forsyth.

What work do you have? We’re currently working with the Diocese of London to turn unused spaces in the City of London’s churches into low-rent studios and we’re looking to further research with Wandsworth Prison on a project to aid prisoner reintegration. We are also partnering with larger firms to broaden our experience and collaborate with some great designers.

What are your ambitions? We want to be the best we can possibly be. In the future, it would be great to be known for delivering imaginative responses to a variety of briefs, whether client-led or self-driven. We hope we’ll always be able to use our studio in the spire, but there is a chance that we will outgrow it and move to a less revered space.

How optimistic are you? We wouldn’t be starting up if weren’t optimistic. The first three months of the year have been really busy and there are no signs of it quieting down. The recession is going to be with us for quite some time, but we have had a tremendous amount of encouragement from members of the industry, and are lucky to be able to count on their wisdom.



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