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New practices: Holland Harvey Architects

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

Holland Harvey Architects, Hackney, East London

Main people Richard Holland and Jonathan Harvey

Founded April 2014

Where have you come from?
Richard previously worked at Studio Egret West, Jonathan was at Squire & Partners. Jonathan is also a tutor at Canterbury School of Architecture.

What work do you have and what kind of projects are you looking for?
We have been fortunate to develop a varied list of projects and clients. Our work to date has been largely residential, but we recently have been commissioned for several exciting hotel projects, as well as a growing portfolio of retail and interiors. We are interested in innovative construction methods and materials - we just received planning consent for an extension in Clapham using structural glass and perforated GRC panels. 

What are your ambitions?
We are happy working in a small team as it is nice to have a level of focus and agility towards our work. We maintain very close working relationships with our clients, contractors and consultants, and this is something that we enjoy. Ultimately, we don’t yet have an extensive back catalogue of work and so our relationships, processes and values are our most important tools. 

We would like to grow, but at a pace that feels sustainable. We both survived the recession working for larger practices and are completely aware of the fragility of the profession. 

Currently our studio is located in an old church that has been converted into a co-working space, and we enjoy the energy of being surrounded by other new companies – often we find opportunities arise from being part of a wider creative and business community. However, we would like our own space, and this is something we will be pursuing in the new year.

What are the biggest challenges facing yourself as a start-up?  
Our biggest challenge is maintaining the momentum. We feel a great responsibility as new employers and never appreciated how difficult it would be to find good people and are fortunate to have such talented studio members – at the moment we are focused on building a strong portfolio of work, and then hope to use our experience to win larger projects.

What advice have you been given? 
My most memorable piece of advice was that ‘the best idea should always win’, and having a degree of humility in our attitude towards our work is an important part of what we do. We hope this is why people enjoy working with us, and long may it continue!

Which scheme, completed in the last five years, has inspired you most?
We posed this to the studio and received mixed results, but it would be awful if everybody agreed! For me Park Hill  (I was lucky enough to work on it during my time at SEW), as an example of how developers can still be visionaries, and that persistence can still win out in the face of adversity.


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