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New practice: Jim Duffy Architects

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

Jim Duffy Architects, Farnham, Surrey

Founded: September 2010 

Main people:  Jim Duffy

Where have you come from? Group Director, HKR Architects, London. Before that an architect/director at BDP London.

What work do you have and what kind of projects are you looking for?
We’ve work across a range of scales from a new house for a well-known author in London up to a €75million mixed-use development in South Dublin. As well as our commercial work, our low cost -base means that we can afford to enter open competitions that interest us and work on much smaller projects, including one-off houses - where the quality of the details matters as much as the overall statement.

What are your ambitions?
There is a mini-revolution in architectural practice going on in the UK right now partly triggered by this recession. Current and emerging software, and the falling cost of hardware, means that is becoming possible for fewer highly-skilled architects and less-hierarchical  teams to be a lot more productive. With Skype and Dropbox they don’t even have to be in the same workspace.

We want to create a small core group of no more than twelve architects working in an inspiring environment, with a wider network of up to 50 people that we are in regular contact with, including other small firms with specialist skills or local knowledge.
We’ve sold up in London in order to build a house and studio to do this in Farnham.

How optimistic are you as a start-up practice?
Recessions always seem terrible at the time but they can be the most creative periods where new ideas emerge and there is time to think about what happens next. The early nineties for instance killed off the ‘anything-goes free-for-all’ eighties and when the world re-emerged there was the start of a real concern for urban regeneration and sustainability. What will the end of this recession bring? 

How are you marketing yourselves? Existing clients and contacts, just-launched web-site, linked-in and networking. Small practices have always had the advantage that projects are genuinely led by experienced and talented practice leaders.

Website address : www.jimduffyarchitects.co.uk

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