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AOC loses co-founders Froud and Lacovara

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London-based design collective AOC has parted company with practice co-founders Daisy Froud and Vincent Lacovara

Froud, who was shortlisted for the 2014 AJ Emerging Woman Architect Award, has left after eleven years at the practice to set up her own consultancy focusing on brief-development, community engagement and participatory design.  

Her departure follows that of Lacovara, who stepped away from the outfit this summer to lead the placemaking team at Croydon Council’s Spatial Planning Service.

The moves leave just two of AOC’s original four co-founders at the practice which was founded in 2003 by Froud, Lacovara, Tom Coward and Geoff Shearcroft.

Froud said she was ‘proud of everything’ AOC had achieved and its reputation for ‘participative’ design.

Explaining her decision to go it alone, she said: ‘I’m still driven by the same questions that led us to set up AOC. How do we, as practitioners, generate the most productive discussions between professionals and non-professionals in the design of the built environment? How do we, as society, find ways to take decisions together about the way in which we plan and produce the spaces around us?

I’m keen to operate in a more fleet-of-foot way

‘But, a decade on, I’m keen to operate in a more strategic and fleet-of-foot way, and to focus on earlier stages in the development process.’

She added: ‘In the past couple of years, I’ve increasingly collaborated with other practices, disciplines and individuals. I can’t wait to do more of this through my new consultancy.’

Speaking about his future plans, Lacovara said: ‘As well having been a co-founder of AOC, I have been working in the planning team at Croydon Council for the past 11 years. As my responsibilities and workload have increased at Croydon….I became gradually less involved with AOC’s work.

‘I decided it was time to clearly and confidently close one chapter of my career in order to give my important work at Croydon all the attention it deserves.’

He added: ‘I am immensely proud of the work that AOC produced with me as part of the team and am excited about the brilliant work that I am sure AOC will produce in the future without me involved. I am sure AOC will go from strength to strength.’

The remaining founders Shearcroft and Coward said the practice would continue, adding that they hoped to collaborate with both Froud and Lacovara in the future.

Shearcroft said: ‘Daisy Froud has made a significant contribution to AOC’s public and community projects over the past decade and the practice’s commitment to a particular, participative and valuable architecture has greatly benefitted from her direction.

‘We have also profoundly gained from Vincent Lacovara’s unique voice, design approach and urban expertise, until his full-time appointment as Place-making Team Leader at Croydon Council reduced his input from 2010.’

He added: ‘We wish them both well for their future adventures and have every confidence they will continue to help change the way things get done. We hope to collaborate with them both again in the future.’

The practice, which featured in the AJ’s 40 under 40 back in 2005, is currently working on a low carbon community centre in Nunhead Green, Southwark, the redevelopment of a listed school in south London, and a new exhibition space for the Wellcome Trust’s central London headquarters.

AOC’s 40 under 40 citation (AJ 16.06.05)


AOC was established in 2003 by a group of London-based designers who ‘decided they wanted to ask the same questions’. Not exclusively concerned with architecture, they claim to be able to ‘design you a home, write you a book or build you a city – or design you a book, build you a home and write you a city’. Current projects include housing, live/work studios, schools, roofscapes, follies, urban board games, and a book on pigeons. AOC was included in The Observer’s ‘Best and Brightest 2005’. The practice took third place in the competition to design a new London home for the Architecture Foundation and was recently selected for the Elephant and Castle architects housing panel.

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