Paul Archer grew up in Bristol and studied at Liverpool University before working for Architecton in Bristol and Tom Mellor & Partners in Preston. He left for Hong Kong in 1994, where he worked for Tonkin Design prior to returning to the UK to set up its offshoot, Tonkin Architects. In 1999 he set up Paul Archer Design. Its initial focus was on bespoke domestic architecture - enjoying the small scale and working with creative clients.
Rob Sterry and Chloe Van Der Kindere became associates in 2004 and there are now 11 in the team. In 2003 the practice won the competition for New Ashgate Gallery in Farnham. It is currently designing a number of schools alongside its core domestic work, including a 'flat-pack' garden pavilion, an underground hamam in Kensington, and a 'stealth' studio in Harrow.
Archer has taught in Liverpool, Hong Kong, Greenwich and Cardiff.