Among our projects completed in 2018 are the new Opera Theatre and Recital Hall for the Royal Academy of Music in London. They were officially opened this month to acclaim in the musical world for their excellent aesthetic and outstanding acoustic qualities. We are redesigning and rebuilding the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine from the inside out, and are engaged on other projects in the U.K. and Europe. Twisted, sometimes grotesque fantasy shapes for very tall buildings seem to be fashionable, which I don’t quite understand! Our practice does not follow architectural fashions or trends in the buildings we design, so we pay little attention to them. Each of our projects is unique and is approached without preconceived ideas. And we aim to produce very well constructed, economic and elegant architecture. I can’t answer the question “Where is architecture going?”. Because each project is unique, I personally never know what I am going to do next in terms of design. I do think architects will show more social responsibility in the future. Perhaps they may begin by living for a while with the communities, and in the buildings they design.
There seems to have been an increasing focus on good design for social housing, especially in Asia and South America, which is a good thing. Sainsbury Wellcome Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour, which is an award-winning neuroscience research centre, was designed to enhance interaction between the theoretical and experimental scientists who work there, and their support staff. The result is an adaptable facility with reconfigurable spaces to meet the evolving demands of research. The building’s envelope is made entirely of translucent, structural, cast glass, using prefabricated large multiple channel modules for on-site installation. This is a world first, for which we have submitted an international patent. We have been told the building functions as was intended and that the scientists love to work in it. This is an important part of how we measure the architectural success of our practice.