Operating from a small Pimlico basement, Michael Squire founded Squire and Partners in 1976 undertaking small residential projects in and around London. Paul Harrison joined shortly afterwards, and the pair quickly established a reputation for creating architecture with sensitivity to place and context, and concern for careful detail.
Following a series of successfully executed small to medium-scale projects in the late 1980's, the growing practice, now housed in a South Kensington townhouse, was commissioned to design two landmark residential developments - Vogan's Mill, the Civic Trust Award winning regeneration of an industrial grain silo in Bermondsey to luxury apartments, became a symbol of regeneration, whilst The Anchorage at Sufferance Wharf established a new vernacular for housing in the reviving Docklands, and set the standard for further high-end developments in the area.
The success of the practice's work in Docklands led to a commission from the London Docklands Development Corporation to design a new youth club. Squire and Partners' response (completed in 1995) was a clearly articulated proposal and was described by The Architects' Journal as ''community architecture of the highest order''.
The practice is best known for its work in central London, particularly Westminster, where many of its most high profile projects have been built. Following on from the practice's roots in residential architecture, Squire and Partners designed and built the first new building on London's Park Lane for many years, the highly prestigious Brook House. Later the practice employed an evolved and refined residential language for The Knightsbridge, completed in 2005, providing 204 luxury apartments centred on a landscaped garden.
The commercial side of the practice began with a series of small scale office fitout projects, including several for the emerging design-led Derwent London. In subsequent years, larger award-winning commercial projects such as Belgrave House for Grosvenor, 30 Warwick Street for the Crown Estate/City Offices and 74 St James's Street for HSBC Private Bank firmly established the practice as confident in both the residential and commercial sectors.
The practice began to attract a number of public commissions, including a series of developments for The British Council. Beginning with some refurbishments of existing premises in Kolkata and New Delhi, the team went on to design and build a new education facility for the Council in Nairobi, Kenya. The project was awarded the Gold Medal by the Architectural Association of Kenya and was widely praised in the UK architectural press. Public commissions at home included a substantial new leisure facility for The Hurlingham Club in London and a boutique hotel, The Rockwell, one of only three London hotels in the prestigious Condé Nast Traveller Hot List in 2007.
The practice has designed several tall buildings in the UK and abroad, including City Pride and The Landmark in the Docklands, Southbank Place in Waterloo and One The Elephant in Southwark. Elegantly proportioned forms are clad with facades taking their cue from inherent structural and environmental issues. The practice spends considerable time researching and developing construction materials which are capable of responding to and working with the environment. The conceptual Leaf Tower experiments with photo-voltaic panels across the facade, their position being informed by available sunlight and orientation, with the idea that the tower could generate enough power to support the activities within.
77 Wicklow Street - the practice’s award-winning office in King’s Cross - is designed to enhance the Squire and Partners collaborative and inclusive working ethos, with a cafe, informal meeting areas and a double height space for the weekly project reviews. The office also has in-house departments for interior design, computer visualisations, illustration and modelmaking.
The current office structure utilises the skills of a new generation. Three young partners, Tim Gledstone, Murray Levinson and Henry Squire, head teams that take individual projects from conception through to completion. Senior Partner, Michael Squire and senior consultant Paul Harrison continue to oversee all projects from the fields of design and construction respectively. The partners share an approach to design which assumes that every site has its own history, character and needs. Derived from their context, buildings respond to underlying themes of materiality, scale and proportion whilst revealing a commitment to contemporary design and detailing.
Projects range from small bespoke commissions to large scale urban masterplans, and from schools, art galleries and private homes to high rise apartment buildings, but are all driven by a desire to craft buildings which are unique to their location, and often innovative in their construction. The practice strives to create pieces of the city rather than standalone design statements. The emphasis is always focussed on responding to context, sourcing the finest building materials and delivering a meticulously detailed product.
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