The latest in a series of practice profiles looking at architects who have recently decided to go it alone, either through choice or redundancy
42 Architects, London N1
Founded: Full-time from August 2009
Main people: Johan Berglund
Where have you come from? I was an associate and project architect for a number of projects at Mangera Yvars Architects. I have taught BSc Unit 8 at the Bartlett since 2006, and at Chelsea College of Art and Design since 2009.
What work do you have? We have won planning for a 6,000m2 park in Sweden, to be completed in mid-2010. Last month, we completed a study for a mountain in Östersund in northern Sweden, which included buildings, landscape design and strategic planning. We are also looking at a private residential scheme and exhibition designs and. When we have time we do competitions, for instance the Kings’ Cross Gasholder no 8 competition for which we were longlisted. They are a lot of fun and we value them highly. But in the long run we cannot rely on competitions as the main means of getting work.
What are your ambitions? I think we would like to grow to the point where we can handle a few big projects at any one time. I like the size of Toyo Ito’s practice, with around 30-40 staff. The scale of its buildings is also nice, it hasn’t lost the human scale, which is sometimes the case with mega-projects. Our schemes have always strived to be rich and dense in regards to atmosphere, materiality and conceptual approach, which is something that we would hope to be acknowledged for.
How optimistic are you? We feel very upbeat as things are looking quite good at the moment. But it will be a long road uphill until we have managed to establish a strong track record.