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New practices: MARK Architecture, Landscape & Urban Design

The latest in a series of practice profiles looking at architects who have recently decided to go it alone

MARK Architecture, Landscape & Urban Design, London

Founded April 2013

Main people Mark Smith

Where have you come from?
I have worked at Design for London and in regeneration at the Greater London Authority.

What work do you have?
We are working almost exclusively for local authorities and public bodies. We want to work with clients who are interested in place-shaping and working with the public. We are interested in all city-making projects. In my previous role, I became involved with local authorities which are taking a stronger hand in delivering housing within their boroughs.

What are the biggest challenges facing you as a start-up?
Procurement hurdles are always an issue, but we find that there are individuals within client bodies who are keen to work with smaller creative practices rather than procure the usual mega-consultancy. The best advice I got, and the advice I hope to give one day, was if you have the ambition to go it alone, do not erect constraints but just go for it. It is exciting and surprising how quickly issues like getting a salary work themselves out.

Which schemes in the last five years have inspired you most?
In general, I am inspired by the everyday madness of London’s edges. This year I spent my birthday in Park Royal – wow. It is getting on now, but the green grid is still inspiring for me. I love the co-operative nature of it as a project and its lack of authorship. It has delivered so many beautiful spaces.

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