The latest in a series of practice profiles looking at architects who have recently decided to go it alone either through choice or redundancy
East West Architecture Studio, Hackney, London
Founded: Summer 2011
Main people: Dean Smith
Where have you come from?
I made film sets before studying architecture, then worked on urban refurbishment and new-build housing at Prime Meridian Architects for five years.
What work do you have?
I am building my portfolio across a range of building types through competitions and by approaching clients, and have recently been appointed by a large developer for a project in Chinatown, London. I’ve also collaborated on different competitions and was shortlisted for a small project in New York below the High Line (pictured above - designed with Vahagn Mkrtchyan, Kin Ho and musician Ross Bicknell).
What are your ambitions?
I operate from a desk space, so have low overheads. It’s made me realise that you can do an awful lot with limited means. My intention is to grow the practice, focusing on international and housing work. Having live projects allows me to think about what area of the practice I want to develop next, but I have to be careful where I put my energy.
How optimistic are you?
I’ve found it useful to mould my business model to clients, rather than take a one-size-fits-all approach. I put myself into as many diverse situations as possible to network. Having an established network within academia gives opportunities to discuss, design and develop research material. There are many benefits for clients working with smaller firms, one of them being that they get to work closely with the architect.