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Grimshaw’s folding roof scoops AJ100 Architectural Collaboration of the Year

Awards aj100 201711
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A prototype folding canopy system by Grimshaw and manufacturer MDT-tex has been named best architectural collaboration in this year’s AJ100 awards

This outstanding collaboration between architect and manufacturer resulted in a successful tessellating roof structure – but it was the nature of the process that the judges particularly admired. 

Grimshaw and MDT-tex were introduced through a personal contact, and were inspired to collaborate on a product. Through a series of exploratory workshops they identified the potential for a new canopy that would not only be significantly lighter than any of MDT-tex’s existing range, but which would also be easy to erect and could be configured into different spatial arrangements. MDT-tex invited Grimshaw to its factory to learn about its manufacturing capabilities and to help produce a series of test samples. 

The folding canopy system became a prototype pavilion at Clerkenwell Design Week last year. Grimshaw and MDT-tex are now working on a new collaboration on a mixed-use development in Switzerland and the pair continue to pursue new products and ideas. 

‘The winning entry highlights a successful, proactive relationship between a designer and a manufacturer that goes above and beyond the standard day job,’ said the panel. ‘It was about wanting to explore something. There was an excitement there that was truly collaborative.’


  • Allies and Morrison with OMA and Arup, West 8 and John Pawson, The Design Museum
  • Avanti Architects with Max Fordham, Mossbourne Riverside Academy 
  • HOK with PLP Architecture, Francis Crick Institute
  • PLP Architecture with the Centre for Natural Materials Innovation at Cambridge University, Timber skyscraper
  • Purcell with OPEN (Optimised Environments) Landscape Architects, Dorchester and Shepton Mallet prison conversions
  • Scott Brownrigg with UP Projects and Nicky Hirst, Vista Chelsea Bridge public art
  • tp bennett with Make Architects, UBS office


  • Emily Booth, editor (maternity cover), AJ
  • Rob Partridge, director, AKT II
  • Roger Zogolovitch, chairman and creative director, Solidspace
  • Sarah Gaventa, director, Made Public
  • Steve Sanham, managing director, HUB
  • Wolfgang Buttress, artist, Wolfgang Buttress Studio 
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