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New practices: twelve architects & masterplanners

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

twelve architects & masterplanners, London, EC1

Founded: 12.12.2012. London studio opened on 1 January 2013.

Main people: Matt Cartwright, a British architect and Dmitry Reutt, a Russian structural engineer and real estate developer.

Where have you come from? Matt and Dmitry worked on a number of projects together prior to forming the practice -  Matt was a design director for RMJM and Dmitry a real estate developer. It all started in 2008 with an email invitation.

What work do you have and what kind of projects are you looking for? We’ve a focused strategy to securing work and are building our core portfolio around the contacts we have. In our first month we landed some exciting projects both in the UK and overseas.

What are your ambitions? We’ve a short, mid and long term vision for the practice to establish ourselves as a design-led practice that invests in our staff, fellow consultants and client relationships. Our design process will question what is black and white to inspire the unexpected.

What are the biggest challenges facing yourself as a start-up and the profession generally? We secured funding to support the set-up of the practice, enabling us to speed up the process of establishing the practice’s infrastructure and allowing us to secure larger scale projects and associated fees. There’s a fine balance between facilitating existing work and securing new work and with growth there is also increased risk.  To make it happen we need to be focused, hungry and to invest in people. 

Which scheme, completed in the last five years, has inspired you most?
Members of our practice spent the last 10 years travelling to Sheffield, most recently to lead the design of The University of Sheffield’s New Engineering Building. The walk from the train station to the University has changed during this time with the redevelopment of some fantastic buildings and urban spaces. The Charles Street car park scheme by Allies & Morrison Architects is, for us, a great addition and a clever piece of architecture. Website address: www.twelvearchitects.com 

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