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New Practice John Allsopp: ‘Working client-side was one of my greatest educational experiences’

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The latest in a series of practice profiles looking at architects who have recently decided to go it alone

Practice name John Allsopp Studio 
Based Hampstead, London
Founded March 2018
Main people John Allsopp

Where have you come from?
My most recent role was as a project director at Kelly Hoppen Interiors and before that senior architect at Argent Design. I have been a qualified architect since 2001, so I have worked in a number of other roles both as architect and on the client side.

What work do you have and what kind of projects are you looking for?
The way I summarise my background is ‘half residential, half everything else’ – though since starting on my own this year my work has mostly been residential. Incidentally, my last employer Kelly Hoppen was my first client for a refurbishment of a chalet in the Alps. I am also working on a project in Barbados for a British-based couple – eight holiday-let cottages with a vernacular flavour.

Barbados cottages - long (south) site elevation

Barbados cottages - long (south) site elevation

Barbados cottages - long (south) site elevation

Generally though, my typical brief asks for a contemporary approach. In London, I am working on a number of such residential projects including extensions, refurbishments and a potential new-build property. Lastly, with my experience in the interiors world I have been building relationships with interior designers, to give architectural and interior architectural input. I have just started one project along these lines. All of my early projects were through referral, though more recently some have been via networking.

What are your ambitions?
My most rewarding professional experiences have been in studios with a maximum of 30 people and ideally fewer. This is my structural goal. I am based in London and would be keen to stay while taking on projects in the wider UK and internationally.

I came into architecture via a passion for building, initiated by my father (a hobbyist joiner) and through skate ramp construction with my friends. Both endeavours celebrated craft but with a strong social element. These are themes I’d like to continue.

What are the biggest challenges you face as a start-up?
The main challenges in starting up revolve around the management of and balance between business development and project development. Fortunately, I’ve had years of experience observing and developing different ways of working, including a previous period working on my own, so I had a headstart.

One of my greatest educational experiences was working for a developer and seeing (and hiring) architects from the client side. I have brought many of the lessons learned through to my own business.

How are you marketing yourself?
I have a presence online via my website and Instagram. However, these just serve as a backdrop to my other activities, including reaching out directly to interiors designers, developers and contractors, from which I have had a great response.

I also recently chaired a panel discussion at Decorex on the relationship between the architect and interior designer.

Website address: john-allsopp.com

Instagram: instagram.com/johnallsoppstudio 

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