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New practices: ZCD 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

ZCD Architects, Hackney, East London

Main people: Zoe Smith, Cordula Weisser, Dinah Bornat

Founded: June 2013

Where have you come from?
Zoe Smith was a co-founding director of Block Architecture (1998-2010), and more recently set up ZS Architects (New practice #75). Cordula Weisser started as a principal member of FAT and subsequently was a co-founding director of Working Architecture Group (2001-2013). Dinah Bornat was a member of Edward Cullinan Architects until 2004, when she left to set up her own practice, Bornat Architects.

What work do you have and what are you looking for?
We are about to start phase one of a five-storey new-build residential block in East London. Phase two includes the conversion of a Grade II-listed building into artists’ studios, a gallery and a café. Other projects that are pending include a mixed use development in Hackney Wick and we have been shortlisted for an exhibition project in Berlin.

What are your ambitions?
Creating opportunities for projects and extending the boundaries of what is possible. We’re building a practice that aims to produce inventive projects, achieved through an open and critical design process.

What are the biggest challenges facing yourself as a start-up?
The biggest challenge is obviously to maintain a steady workflow in the business while making sure that the nature of the projects that come through the door are the ones that we would want to work on.


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