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New practices: Hoffice

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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

Hoffice, London

Founded:  April 2011

Main people: Stephane Hof

Where have you come from? I came to London in 1997 to learn English, intending to move to New York. It did not happen. I started working for Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) and stayed there for 14 years. Initially the office had less than 10 people. It was a very interesting experience to see it grow to 400 people. During my time at there I was the project architect for the design and realisation of the Terminus and Car Park Hoenheim North in Strasbourg (2002) and the recently completed Pierres Vives Archive and Library building in Montpellier.

What work do you have and what kind of projects are you looking for? We’ve been commissioned recently to design our first large residential project in London to replace an existing seven-storey building in Camden. There are also smaller residential projects such as a beach house in Garopaba, Brazil. In Los Angeles, we are inserting  a “Japanese garden” made of concrete in a form of a half-pipe through the middle of an existing house in the Hollywood Hills to create two courtyards linking the front and back of the house. We’ve just completed the Alphabet Library within the Pierres Vives building in Montpellier to serve as a reading room for the Archive of the Department of Herault (pictured).

Hopefully people will appreciate our work and it will become viral

This year we are planning to enter competitions for public work abroad, since we have a very good knowledge of that type of work and we are also very interested in cultural facilities, mixed used programmes, towers but also in typologies that are not really explored very often with new angles like car parks.

What are your ambitions?
We would like to grow to a medium size practice, allowing us to work on very large scale structures but not grow too. We want to keep control of the design. With today’s technology you do not need a very large team on a project to produce the required results.
We would like to develop a portfolio of work which is either small or large in the UK and abroad, work on new typologies and create a reputation for well-design and well-built buildings with our vision to shape a better environment.
We would love to explore projects in different regions, we are keen in Africa, Asia and South America.

How optimistic are you as a start-up practice? We’ve been very lucky for work, since we have started. Clients are approaching us because they know my work. The recession is always a great time to start a practice, it gives you the opportunity to be prepared for the next wave.

How are you marketing yourselves? We are not at the moment apart from the website. Hopefully people will appreciate our work and it will become viral.

Website address (or contact detailswww.hoffice.net

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