The latest in a series of practice profiles looking at architects who have recently decided to go it alone
Main people Fiona Petch and Dan Andrew
Based London and the South-West
Where have you come from?
Fiona previously worked at IBI Nightingale and is an associate lecturer at the Univeristy of West England. Dan previously worked at Hawkins\Brown.
What work do you have and what are you looking for?
This year we entered and won our first competition – Postbridge Visitor Centre for the Dartmoor National Park Authority. We also work in the residential sector and have experience in healthcare, education, masterplanning and infrastructure.
What are your ambitions?
We are keen to remain co-located in London and the South-West and would like to expand gradually and sustainably. We are convinced of the value of a multidisciplinary approach.
What are the biggest challenges ou face?
One of the biggest challenges is developing a strong practice ethos alongside a portfolio of work. We’ve been lucky to work and collaborate with some excellent clients and consultants whose approach aligns with ours. For our generation of practitioners, the recession and resulting austerity have been a constant; to an extent it’s our ‘normal’. This has arguably driven innovation in design and working practices – very often the most satisfying project is the one with the most constraints.
Which scheme, completed in the past five years, has inspired you most?
A study trip to Barcelona last year featured a surprise discovery of the new Els Encants Vells (‘Old Charms’) market by b720 Arquitectos (2013), which is inspiring for its egalitarian social spaces and quality of finish.
How are you marketing yourselves?
We find that personal recommendations and word of mouth are the most effective form of marketing – this pushes us to deliver excellent results for our clients. We are planning to enter further competitions and we are also developing concepts for some unconventional sites in London.