Phil Coffey on Wellbeing in the Workplace at The Watercooler Event

Last week director Phil Coffey had the honour of speaking at The Watercooler Event about wellbeing in the workplace.

About the event: ‘The world of work is changing at an exponential rate. With Workplace Wellbeing high on the board agenda it’s crucial that professionals understand the challenges, the trends and the solutions that are immediately available to them and their organisations. The Watercooler (25 & 26 May 2022 at Olympia, London) is a brand new event from @MakeADifferenceSummits and @Evening-Standard.’

(Photo credit: Posturite Ltd)

The thought-provoking panel included ‘The Key Elements of Healthy Working Environments’, included James Laramy CMIOSH, Group Director of Safety, Health, Environment, Quality and Wellbeing, Cappagh Group of CompaniesRohan Kallicharan, Director of People & Talent, Carbon Clean and Susannah Burock, MSc. WELL AP, Global Workplace Experience Manager, Vice President, Corporate Real Estate & Services, Swiss Re, and was chaired by Chevy Rough, Health and Wellbeing Lead for PGL Travel.

Coffey shortlisted for Henry Moore Foundation learning hub

Photo via Henry Moore Foundation, credit: Martin Bond

We are please to announce we have been shortlisted to redevelop the
Sheep Field Barn Gallery at the Henry Moore Foundation in Perry Green, Hertfordshire. A £2.5 million interpretation centre will redevelop and extend the 20+ year old Hawkins\Brown complex to deliver new learning and engagement facilities for the Foundation.

Henry Moore Foundation chief operating officer Lesley Wake said: ‘This project will enable us to provide sustainable interpretation and education facilities for our visitors, school groups and participants of all ages.

‘We are delighted at the response we received from architectural teams. The six shortlisted practices were able to demonstrate the skills, experience and vision we are looking for. We’re excited to hear their creative concepts and how they can work with us to deliver this vital project.’ The shortlist also includes: Asif Khan Studio, DSDHA, HAT Projects, MICA Architects and Nissen Richards Studio

Colm Lacey joins Coffey Architects

Colm Lacey, former chief executive and managing director of Brick by Brick and Common Ground Architecture, is joining Coffey Architects as a senior consultant at an exciting time of growth for the practice.

Lacey, an economist and urban designer by background, has held director level positions at multiple local and regional authorities leading on regeneration, development and planning activities.  Following six years at the helm of Brick By Brick, a socially responsible development company and architecture practice, Lacey has recently set up his own consultancy practice with a focus on housing delivery and design stewardship in the public sector. He will take the lead on the development of Coffey’s public housing and urban research functions.

Director Phil Coffey said, ‘I have known Colm for over 10 years and long admired his commitment to responsible housing development and considered urbanism. Colm’s long-standing development expertise and positivity perfectly match our own desire to design and deliver high quality housing and regeneration schemes across the UK. We are absolutely delighted to add his experience and knowledge to our team.’

Lacey said, ‘I’m very much looking forward to working with Coffey as they expand their work programme in multiple areas. As a client I really enjoyed working with Phil and the team and was impressed with the thoroughness of their approach and quality of their output. I’m particularly excited about leading the work of the team on public housing and urban research/development at a time when cities are adapting to seismic shifts in land use patterns and urban economics.’

Lacey’s appointment follows the practice’s completion of large scale projects such as 22 Handyside Street for Argent, a 44,000 sqft headquarters for owner-occupier Nexus Infrastructure in Braintree, Essex and over 100,000 sqft of residential development in Bermondsey for developer London Square.

Coffey has recently been awarded a significant project of over 300 PRS homes at Wembley for developer Quintain and is currently working on 200 homes for Ballymore in Brentford and for Camden Council in West Kentish Town alongside AHMM and others on a masterplan of over 800 homes. Earlier this month Guildford Council also approved Coffey Architects’ plans for over 300 co-living homes for Tiger Developments.

The practice has also announced that it will be moving from is current home in Clerkenwell to King’s Cross, where it will take over the ground floor retail space of their 22 Handyside Street development. The new space will function as a flexible workspace for staff, a co-working offering for industry colleagues and a community coffee shop that will engage a weekly cultural programme.

Now on ICON: Coffey Architects designs Digi-Tech Factory in Norwich

Icon has featured Coffey Architects’ Digi-Tech Factory, calling it “striking” for it’s “external screen of white powder-coated aluminium mesh.”

“This – along with off-the-shelf components such as a steel frame grid, lightweight composite panels and glass – ensures the architecture reflects the spirit of industrial design. The exterior screen carefully manages light: during the day, natural sunlight is diffused through the mesh to the interior, and by night, light from within the building shines out, illuminating the facade.”

Read the rest of the article on ICON here.

AJ covers our ‘factory-style digital learning centre in Norwich’

The Architects’ Journal coverage features praise from our client, City College Norwich:

“The completed building has exceeded the outcomes and expectations we set out in the client’s brief. Coffey Architects has produced a landmark building for the college, city and Eastern Region, which provides industry equivalent digital facilities in a modern, light and airy building. More importantly, our students and staff are delighted with the new Digi-Tech Factory and we have received some excellent feedback:

It’s got everything, all the technology, all the computers, you need. The actual building itself is an inviting building to be in. It’s light and it’s airy. I quite like all the exposed elements of it, especially with civil engineering, because that’s what we learn about. Leanne, civil engineering apprentice

This building feels like a professional environment. You feel like you are in an actual business, with rooms where you can co-operate with other people better. Mantas, t-level digital production, design and development

“The Coffey team were a pleasure to work with and I congratulate and thank them for delivering a unique building which the college can be truly proud of.”

Jon Bonham, director of estates and facilities, City College Norwich

The Digi-Tech Factory is featured on Dezeen

Coffey Architects’ Digi-Tech Factory is live on Dezeen. Read the article here.

“Light manipulation is a central principle of our design practice, often explored, as here, through the use of an external screen to provide light, texture, variation and environmental control. In this case the building’s panels play with both nature and artificial light depending on the time of day. By day, natural light is diffused through the panels into the interior, and by night, light from the spaces within the building activates the facade.”

Cove Ridge wins Blueprint Best Non-Public Residential Award

We are very pleased to have won an award at the prestigious Blueprint Awards. Cove Ridge our new build home in Devon received the Best Non-Public Residential Award against some tough international competition. Congratulations to our client and to our team.

Cove Ridge features in Architecture Today

Cove Ridge our recently completed home in Morthoe, Devon has been featured in Architecture Today. Text by Richard Weston and imagery by Tim Soar and Phil Coffey. Phil is incredibly happy that one of his photographs made the front cover!

Front Cover

AJ SPECIFICATION CASE STUDY: 22 Handyside Street by Coffey Architects


Check out AJ Specification for a case study of our project 22 Handyside Street.

Project architect Christopher McHale discusses the robust palette of materials chosen for the scheme, each decision contributing to the scheme’s efficiency, budget, aesthetic and effect. Designed around the position of the sun, the site perimeter, and the site’s structural grid, 22 Handyside Street explores how the mass and skin of a building can create shadow and light. McHale notes,

Interest is added by the depth and perforation of the metalwork within the cladding, which provide physical and visual texture, in particular when the sunlight penetrates through them and creates light patterns on the aluminium façade behind. Significant attention was paid to the resolution of the highly complex roof and façade interface geometry to ensure it was co-ordinated to achieve the unique parapet profile for each section of façade.

Read more here.

Coffey Architects’ 22 Handyside Street featured on RIBA Journal

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‘Architecture should be about circadian rhythms and the way people respond to time and light,’ director Phil Coffey told Pamela Buxton for RIBA J.

In this piece Coffey and Buxton discuss the importance of light to our designs for Argent’s new commercial building in King’s Cross and to architecture as a whole. Factors such as health and wellbeing, longevity and flexibility all come into play. Read more here.


Phil Coffey on the Kimbell Art Museum for Building Design


Coffey Architects’ founder and director Phil Coffey introduces the latest in Building Design’s 50 Wonders  series: Kimbell Art Museum

Exhausted, driving in a sun-soaked cabriolet into the Kimbell Art Museum as a 22-year-old part I student, I knew little of the building. The car parked in the dark bowels of the structure; I climbed the simple, straight steps into a series of daylit spaces. To this day, this is the moment I discovered the power of architecture to affect one’s spirit.

Read more here.

Coffey Architects in leading U.S. design press

London’s-Coffey-Architects-opens-a-luminous-lightweight-office-building-at-King’s-CrossThe Architect’s Newspaper has covered the launch of 22 Handyside street, announcing: London’s Coffey Architects opens a luminous, lightweight office building at King’s Cross:

With its soaring ceilings, spacious floor plates, and sculptural black Valchromat central staircase, the interior of 22 Handyside appears to be more akin to a buzzy contemporary art venue than a commercial workspace. Topped by a skewed, skylight-punctuated pitched roof (a nod to the industrial heritage of the area according to Coffey Architects) and clad in intricately patterned anodized aluminum panels over the glazing, the building’s exterior assumes a decidedly conspicuous pose from the street.

Read more here.

Coffey Architects’ latest project featured on Dezeen

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Coffey Architect’s latest completed project, a 36,000+ sq ft commercial building in London’s King’s Cross, has been featured on Dezeen.

Coffey Architects recalls industrial “found spaces” for King’s Cross office block

UK studio Coffey Architects has created an office block at 22 Handyside Street that aims to recreate the feel of the former industrial spaces in King’s Cross, London.

Built as part of the development of the King’s Cross area of London, the office block completes a row of buildings that contains the pink R7 building designed by Morris + Company and Fumihiko Maki’s Aga Khan Centre.

Coffey Architects derived the form of the three-storey office block from the grade II-listed mainline and underground railway tunnels that lead to the nearby station, which the building stands directly above.

The structural grid, combined with a desire to allow daylight into the building, lead the studio to align the building diagonally with a series of pitched roofs running between the two streets on the corner site.

These pitched roofs create distinctive rooflines on the block’s two street-facing facades and help mark the office as a landmark building at the edge of the King’s Cross development.

Read more here.

PRESS RELEASE: Form and façade shine in Coffey Architects’ new office building at King’s Cross

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Coffey Architects has completed its largest UK project to date, 22 Handyside Street for King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership (KCCLP). The latest completion at the 67-acre King’s Cross estate, 22 Handyside Street is a luminous, 36,000+ sqft office building.

A study in making a unique, commercial building that considers the health of its users, the building targets BREEAM Outstanding. The architects have taken a holistic approach to explore how the mass and skin of architecture can create shadow and light, and how those elements affect and engage the building’s users, ultimately improving their everyday lives.

Director Phil Coffey said, “Being conscious of the movement of the sun improves our health and concentration; it reconnects us to our circadian rhythms. 22 Handyside Street is a building designed around form and façade. Its orientation, cleave, percolation and shine quite literally reflect our approach to making a bright building that is striking in its form but also considered carefully in terms of tenant wellbeing. With the creation of a building that is both good to work in and expressive to the city, we continue to explore connecting users viscerally to their environment through the manipulation of light.”

The building’s form is determined by three factors: the position of the sun, the site perimeter and the site’s structural grid. Like its neighbouring building, the King’s Cross Sports Hall, 22 Handyside Street sits above Grade II-listed mainline and underground railway tunnels, meaning it needed to be super lightweight. Responding to these elements, Coffey Architects shifted the three-storey building diagonally. This helped balance the weight of the building whilst improving the orientation for heat gain, directional flow and outward views. The composition creates civic elevations to York Way and Handyside Street and effortlessly generates an expressive corner between.

22 Handyside Street is built of lightweight concrete and steel, with a façade composed of glazed curtain walling and embossed and perforated anodised aluminium panels. These silver sections enliven the building both inside and out, artfully reflecting the trees of Handyside Gardens and adding depth to the elevation. The material maximises ambient light levels and reflects the rhythmic colours of the London sky throughout the day. The main east/west axis along Handyside Street creates filigree moments of light at sunrise and sunset.

Behind the patterned façade, its interior spaces are lit with naturally dappled light, enhancing wellbeing for those working in the building. The CNC cut panels are sandwiched with either a solid, transparent or translucent skin. Respectively, the cut light and accompanying shadows are blocked out, cast shadows on the floor, or, extraordinarily, throw shadows onto the opaque vertical glass. These efforts create a moving wallpaper of light within the office floor.

The ground, first and second floors have very different feelings thanks to scale and dynamic light. Naturally lit by a triangular rooflight, the sculptural, central stair connects the three different levels. The stair is clad in black Valchromat that, with its light absorbing properties, creates a contrasting, compressing experience for the users before they enter the generous, light-filled office spaces. The deeply inset south-facing terraces at first and second floor level provide unique long-distance views over Handyside Gardens back across the King’s Cross Estate and the London skyline beyond.

The building’s pitched roofline carries the light industrial aesthetic of the fringe King’s Cross buildings to create a generous double height space on the top floor. Soaring to a remarkable 22 ft, together with the informal diagonal voids, this floorplate has the sense of a gallery-like space. Notably, 22 Handyside Street’s floorplates range from 6,980 sqft to 14,607 sqft. A 1,181 sqft reception greets tenants and visitors through a generous entryway.

To further improve wellbeing and provide opportunity for a moment of respite in the bustling thoroughfare, Coffey Architects worked with Townshend Landscape Architects to enhance the public realm. Soft landscaping to the east includes seating and pockets of planting and to the south is cycle parking.

Will Colthorpe, Partner, King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership comments, “It’s been a brilliant journey from design competition to completion. The whole design and construction team have done a great job and really pulled together these last few months. Many of us have been up to see the building early in the morning to watch the autumn sunrise reflecting in the façade – it’s one of those truly magical moments and the concept has been absolutely nailed.  The decision to lay the building out on a raked grid was an early masterstroke in the design and, combined with the vaulted ceiling, the finished space internally is pretty stunning.”

Phil Coffey added, “22 Handyside Street is a building that talks to the fundamentals of architecture, light, mass and form. At a time when many of us are working from home in less than perfect light conditions, this building  is a reminder that architecture can and will provide bright, fresh and healthy workplaces that we all wish to work in and are good for us.”

This project was delivered by BAM construction with Stride Treglown.

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Coffey Architects_London Irish Centre_Murray Street view night_image by Darc StudioCamden Council’s Planning Committee has unanimously approved plans to develop the historic premises of the London Irish Centre. The Centre, which opened its doors in 1955, has been the Irish heart of London for over 65 years. The new space will enable the London Irish Centre to grow and diversify its award-winning community services and cultural programmes.

Responding to the welcome news, CEO Ellen Ryan said:

“This is fantastic news. The new Centre is needed now more than ever, as we grow and develop our social, community and cultural offering. We worked with the local community on the plans for the Centre, and their views are represented throughout the design. We will continue to work with them as we develop a sustainable building for the future.

We are particularly delighted to consolidate our roots in Camden. The Borough is a place of great significance to the Irish in London and we are very pleased to be investing in its future here.

Covid-19 has brought challenges, but we have managed to pivot to deliver some of our services online or in different ways. In the longer-term, we would like to move towards a hybrid model of a redeveloped centre, along with enhanced online programmes and services.”

The Centre looks forward to working very closely with all stakeholders and our neighbours on the creation of a beautiful community and cultural centre that Camden, London and the Irish community will be proud of, and one which will strengthen the close ties between London and Ireland.

The Centre would like to say a special thank you to funders and supporters, Camden Council; Councillors Simpson, Beale and the Camden Planning Committee, the Irish Government; The Irish Ambassador and the Irish Embassy; The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan; Coffey Architects; Rolfe Judd Planning; Acumen-PS and the entire design team and pro-bono consultants, patrons Dermot O’ Leary and Ed Sheeran; London Irish Centre’s Chair Rosaleen Blair and the Board of Trustees, LIC ‘s Campaign and Development Committees, and the hard-working team of staff, advisors and volunteers.

Rosaleen Blair CBE, Chair of the London Irish Centre said:

“We are delighted that Camden Council has approved our application for planning permission.  We would like to thank the Council as well as all our partners and others who have supported us in the process.

The new Centre will enrich the local area through the provision of accessible, high-quality spaces for community and cultural events, as well as enhancing a sense of community. London is home to a large and vibrant Irish community. Our plans will allow us to meet their needs and build a dynamic centre we can all be proud of.”

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:

“The development of the London Irish Centre will support the thriving Irish community in London and ensure that the space continues to serve as a centre of excellence, providing an inspirational exemplar of how a migrant group has become an integral part of the capital whilst maintaining strong connections to their heritage.”

Ambassador of Ireland, Adrian O’Neill, said:

“Today’s approval of the LIC’s development plans marks another important step in the journey of sustaining the Centre’s critical mission for the future. The Irish Government is proud of its support for this visionary plan and the Embassy looks forward to working with the Centre in delivering an exciting project that will benefit the Irish community in London – and the Camden neighbourhood – for many years to come.”

Dermot O’Leary, patron of the London Irish Centre, said:

“As patron, I am very pleased to get this exciting news. I really value the deep cultural richness through all of Camden. The borough is at the heart of the world’s most vibrant, diverse capital city and is a creative cultural powerhouse. Camden’s strengths lie in its combination of people and places, including a proud and creative Irish community. This development sets the LIC and Camden up for many more years of community, culture and connection.”

Phil Coffey, director of Coffey Architects, said:

“The opportunity to work closely with the local and Irish stakeholders has been a real honour over the past 18 months. The new building represents a real opportunity to bring people together and to engage in the social meaning of architecture. We are looking forward to delivering a home for the Irish community in London that represents a beacon of hope, joy, and good spirit during these difficult times.”
 – ENDS –


Apartment Block shortlisted for 2020 Dezeen Awards

Our project ‘Apartment Block’ has been shortlisted in the 2020 Dezeen Awards for Apartment Interior of the Year. Vote for it in the public vote here.Apartment BlockDezeen writes:

Working within a relatively small footprint, the efficiency of the apartment refurbishment was paramount to the project, as well as the materials and craftsmanship.

The apartment was carved out of over 30,000 individually cut and laid cross-sectional blocks of European Oak, creating a contemporary insertion into a Grade II-listed former school classroom.

The blocks playfully nod to the Victorian heritage of the building, yet their meticulous application has created a granular richness resulting in a beautiful, calm and tranquil place to live.

Coffey launches photography and homes websites

londonfromhigh9During London’s Covid-19 lockdown, director Phil Coffey launched a new photography website showcasing his work. He has also created a new, residential-focused arm of the company, Coffey / Homes, to respond to demand in a different market than our normal, larger housing, cultural and commercial work.

Phil Coffey: ‘I remain optimistic that architects can and will find a new way to be relevant’

In a ‘Behind the Lens’ feature, The Architects’ Journal interviewed him about both. Below is an except, read the full interview here. 

Phil Coffey is the director of London-based Coffey / Architects and the newly launched Coffey / Homes. Phil is a regular speaker and teacher on architecture and is currently undertaking a PhD specific to light. During lockdown he was afforded the time to review decades of photographs and has lanched a new photography website showcasing his work. Today we feature his recent series London Through Lockdown – London landmarks and skylines from refreshing perspectives, often dramatically lit. The pictures were taken from the balcony of his apartment with Sony 100-400 GM OSS FE 4.5 – 5.6 and Sony 12-24 G FE 4 lenses.

Coffey Architects’ new work in Peckham, London

Coffey Architects is contributing to a scheme of seven new buildings by five different architects in the heart of Peckham, London. Led by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, we are working alongside Gort Scott, Morris + Company and Feix&Merlin to rethink the Aylesham Centre, as part of a 940-home scheme. The project also includes the pre-provision of a supermarket and bus interchange on the corner of Peckham High Street. Read about it in the Architects’ Journal here.

AHMM reveals plans for 940 homes in Peckham

Apartment Block case study in The Architects’ Journal

Coffey-Architects_Apartment-Block-©Tim-Soar-(16)Apartment Block – our Don’t Move, Improve! winning and RIBA London shortlisted project in Clerkenwell, London– has been featured in The Architects’ Journal’s as an AJ Specification Case Study. Read more here.

Apartment Block is a hand-crafted, refurbishment of an apartment, designed by Coffey Architects as a solid piece of joinery inserted into an existing building. The home has been carved out of more than 30,000 individually hand-cut and laid cross-section blocks made of European oak.

The existing flat was dark and cramped, with a convoluted floorplan and there was no celebration of the space’s historic features. It is located in Kingsway Place, a Grade II-listed former school building built in 1892 and converted to residential use in 2000.

Coffey Architects began by stripping away all non-original features, leaving the original envelope exposed to retain the drama and history of the space. References are made to the history of the building: original green tiles were revealed around the perimeter of the apartment and the use of the timber blocks is a nod to the woodblock flooring often found in Victorian school classrooms.

The 3m-tall original sash windows are adorned with ornately crafted opening shutters filtering the light and casting shadows on the walls of the double-height space, ever-changing through the day to create a richness of delicate light.

Phil Coffey, director, Coffey Architects

Case study: Apartment Block by Coffey Architects

Moor’s Nook shortlisted for 2020 South East RIBA Regional Award

Urban-4_Moor-Courts_Coffey-Architects_Photo-Credit-Tim-SoarCoffey Architect’s  over-60s, community-focused residential development, Moor’s Nook, has been shortlisted for a 2020 South East RIBA Regional Award. Check it out on The RIBA Journal here.

A once-derelict industrial laundry facility site has become 34 light-filled, one- and two-bedroom flats for later life over a horseshoe-shaped plan. It includes two communal courtyards – one for the town and one for residents – and a refined brick colonnade that guides users into the building with a gentle transition from public to private space.


Spacious and accessible dual aspect homes cater to varying mobilities; features such as social entries, built-in public seating, a communal kitchen/lounge and a shared residents’ courtyard help combat loneliness. Drawing on industrial and arts and crafts the building is broken into segments with individual pitched roofs like single-family homes.

Breaking ground on Coffey Architects’ Digi-Tech Factory


The Construction Index has covered the start on site of our Digi-Tech Factory for City College Norwich. This teaching and learning space is designed to feel more like a professional environment than a classroom, positioning digital technologies as a contemporary industry in East England and Norwich City College as a leader in the field. The building includes a three-storeys with a sawtooth roofline, wrapped in a perforated screen façade to create a lucent learning environment.

Original text from The Construction Index can be found here.

Main contractor RG Carter has broken ground on the construction of City College Norwich’s new £9.1m Digi-Tech Factory.

The four-story building, designed by Coffey Architects, features a sawtooth roof line, a façade wrapped in a bespoke perforated mesh and a large canopy entrance space.

Built on City College Norwich’s Ipswich Road campus, it will bring together the college’s digital skills courses into a single, purpose-built space, allowing for expansion of student numbers.


Image via The Construction Index: RG Carter director James Carter and principal Corrienne Peasgood break ground

Modern Mews on Dezeen


Our 2016 project, Modern Mews, has been highlighted on Dezeen’s feature Ten mews houses that take advantage of London’s backstreetsSelected as one of ‘the city’s most interesting modern mews houses’, Modern Mews was previously shortlisted for the RIBA House of the Year. It won an RIBA London award and a New London Award. See the whole list here.

Modern Mews by Coffey Architects, Paddington

To make the most of space and light, Coffey Architects employed techniques that are commonly used in Japanese houses and tea rooms when designing this three-metre-wide mews house.

“The home is conceived as a life-sized piece of joinery,” said studio founder Phil Coffey. “A Japanese treasure chest for living that sits between the white-painted brick finish walls of the adjacent mews neighbours.”

Coffey Architects’ Meringue House for Gingerbread City

Coffey Architects’ is proud present Meringue House, a new and tasty way of exploring light and materiality in our work…
The Gingerbread City 2019 © Luke O'Donovan (low res) (210 of 252)

The team had such a great time working on this ‘commercial plot’ for Museum of Architecture’s Gingerbread City 2019 at Somerset House. Check out the process below.

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The exhibition has been featured in The Financial Times, Time Out LondonThe Evening Standard, The Architects’ Newspaper and many more!


NEWS: Coffey Architects receive planning permission for City, University of London Library


Coffey Architects has won approval to add a well-lit, elliptical, roof-top reading room to a university library in central London.

Islington Council has granted planning permission for the extension and refurbishment of the library for City, University of London, with the scheme set to begin on site this summer and expected to complete by winter 2020.

The university desired an ambitious and world-class architectural solution for the Northampton Square site. Their brief includes working with the original 1970s building, designed by Richard Sheppard, Robson & Partners (now known as Sheppard Robson). The project also targets a BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ rating, and time on site will be limited so as not to disrupt students, staff and local residents.

In response, Coffey Architects has designed a major extension to float above the existing building parapet and to be an expressive addition which celebrates the library function and university’s status as a global institution. This enabled proposed plant equipment to be concealed beneath the new space and remove the existing, unsightly rooftop structures visible from the surrounding townscape.

The new, elliptical-shaped seventh floor will serve as an open, light-filled and column-free reading room achieving spans of 45m x 17m, and features a central rooflight integrated into the crafted, geometric timber ceiling. The elliptical plan, which takes inspiration from the oval Northampton Square gardens adjacent the proposals, looks to engender a sense of student community and works to soften the existing building.

In addition to providing solar-shading, the deep, glulaminated timber diagrid façade has been designed to offer a sense of enclosure internally while enabling unobstructed panoramic views of the Barbican and City skylines to the south and Islington to the north. The glulam solution was proposed by the architect due to its light-weight, sustainability and prefabrication benefits, and draws on the materiality of the impressive, mature trees within the Northampton Square gardens, the canopies of which the new reading room will enjoy views.


The proposals are sited next to the Northampton Square Conservation Area, several listed buildings and below a protected viewing corridor from Alexandra Palace to St Paul’s Cathedral. The setting of the extension within the sensitive heritage context led the architect to carry out extensive townscape analysis to assess the proposals throughout the initial design stages.

The project also presents a much-needed opportunity for the university to upgrade some of its existing space to provide the adaptability required of a changing education and workplace environment. The strip-out and refurbishment works proposed for the existing sixth floor will reconfigure the existing space to accommodate extra student study areas, staff offices and associated facilities within the existing external envelope and will upgrade the services provisions.

Director Phil Coffey said: “This is a uniquely expressive project, which will give the university and its students a study space they deserve. Whilst bold the proposals are sensitive to the immediate context with a focus on bringing in light, geometry and a warm materiality. We’re thrilled that Islington Council has granted planning permission and thank the Islington Design Review Panel for a rigorous and enjoyable process.”


Coffey Architects were appointed to the project following an OJEU competition in 2018. This is one of the practice’s first projects in the higher education sector. They are also designing a new technology and innovation hub for Norwich City College.

NEWS: Coffey Architects appointed to design Norwich City College digital technology hub


Coffey Architects has been chosen to design a new multi-million-pound digital technology hub for Norwich City College. Currently called ‘The Digi-Tech Factory’, it will house the college’s full- and part-time technology, engineering and design courses in one building. Its presence will add to the already thriving digital tech sector in Norfolk and Suffolk by supporting the teaching and research of nearly 500 students, providing experience opportunities to over 100 apprentices and creating new jobs on campus.

Coffey Architects’ proposals, with support from local architect James Lee Burgess, utilise the practices’ own research into light and materiality to create a sustainable and lucent learning environment. The design includes a three-storey building with a sawtooth roofline, wrapped in a perforated screen façade with a large entry canopy. The thoughtful designs shift from the standard school-like environment, offering a creative industry atmosphere to energise students and prepare them for future employment.


In addition to creating a new facility for Norwich City college, The Digi-Tech Factory will positively affect the wider campus with the creation of pedestrianised walkways and a spacious square. It also improves physical and visual connections between campus and landscape.

In addition to internal funding, Norwich City College has been awarded £6.1m by the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership to realise the project. Designs will be submitted for planning approval imminently ­­and it is expected to be open for the 2020-21 academic year.


Project director Lee Marsden said, “The Digi-Tech Factory is an extremely exciting project for our studio. Our higher education portfolio has been growing steadily, and the opportunity to create such an innovative and important building for Norwich City College further stimulates our passion for light and spaces of learning.”

NEWS: Coffey Architects complete Television Centre flats for Stanhope

Coffey Architects has completed four premium apartments for developer Stanhope at Television Centre in White City.

Located on the site of the original BBC headquarters in White City, the AHMM-led project has re-imagined the iconic complex as a mixed-use piece of city open to the public. It celebrates the architecture, iconography and legacy of the Television Centre. Our four flats are part of the “Architects’ Series”, a bespoke premium and penthouse offering completed by leading contemporary architects.

Our designs are derived from the unique qualities of existing architecture. Subtle curves to the apartment walls and corresponding radial brass trims inset in the terrazzo floor relate to the centre of the TVC Helios. Brass perforated screens filter sunlight, creating active shadows that enliven the home.

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NEWS: Coffey Architects’ Q1 building starts on site at King’s Cross

Q1, a three-storey commercial office space designed by Coffey Architects for King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership (KCCLP), has started on site on the corner of York Way and Handyside Street. Q1 is one of the final buildings along the northern side of Handyside Street to be taken on site, completing this part of the regeneration programme.

The bold design of Q1 embraces its prominent corner site and south-facing light with a distinct form, massing and façade. Importantly, the building responds to the Network Rail Gasworks Tunnels, which run approximately 1m below the site. The tunnels inform the building’s structure and appearance, with the placement of the internal columns, the direction of the rooflines and the façade materials used, for example.

The surrounding townscape has further influenced the design, with the use and rhythm of aluminium and glazed panels and a striking silhouette that includes a skewed, pitched roof – a nod to the historic warehouse and train sheds of the area. The naturally anodised, aluminium perforated and embossed façade enlivens Q1 inside and out, offering a rich dynamic “checkerboard” aesthetic. This façade was employed following rigorous testing, as it is lightweight and visually porous, tracking playful, dappled light in and across the building during the day. At night, warm, interior lighting projects outward onto the public realm on Handyside Street and York Way.

Q1’s light industrial interior office spaces are exceptional as well. The mechanical displacement ventilation system on first and second floor creates large clean working environments with exposed ceilings at ground and level 01, as well as a unique 6.8m high vaulted ceiling at second floor level. The large flexible open-plan office floorplates will appeal to a wide range of occupiers seeking a base within the vibrant, appealing and well-connected, creative work/life community at King’s Cross. With a total 38,325 sqft NIA, it will be Coffey Architects’ largest UK workplace project to date.

The building is targeting a BREEAM Outstanding rating and is expected to complete in summer 2020.

Steve Jones, project director of Coffey Architects, said: “Q1’S start on site is an exciting milestone for the practice and a testament to the success of KCCLP’s brilliant regeneration work in King’s Cross. Argent have been a driven and design-focused client, and we’re glad to be completing this part of the masterplan for them.  We’re especially looking forward to seeing our building take shape, as it will be a distinct welcome into the King’s Cross community for residents, employees and visitors arriving by car, train or bike from a northern approach.”

Coffey & Croissants

Every Monday at Coffey Architects we run a session called Coffey & Croissants – a breakfast and a chat to start our week thinking about good design. Over the past year, we have been lucky enough to hear from several developers, planners, artists and architects about their work, history, ethos and views on the world around us.

The intention of Coffey & Croissants is to keep our team informed about the wider industry and to make relationships with partners of different scales and focuses that one day may become collaborators. If this sounds like something you’re into, and you have interesting and engaging thoughts, please get in touch (email so we can invite you around!

Coffey and Croissants is a great way to start the week – interesting talks give inspiration and perspective, in a relaxed and friendly environment.  

Jo Cairns, Architect, Coffey Architects

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Science Museum Library shortlisted for the Architectural Review Library award

We’re pleased to announce that our Science Museum Research Centre and Library project has been shortlisted for the Architectural Review Library award, a selection of  15 best libraries (and other buildings for books) completed anywhere in the world since January 2013.

The shortlist has been published on the Architectural Review website today and we are honoured to be part of this world-class selection.

The winning projects will be announced and published in the AR December/January issue at the end of the year.


Moor’s Nook shortlisted for 2018 Building Award, AJ Architecture Award and Brick Award

Moor’s Nook, our recently completed housing development, has been shortlisted for three prestigious industry awards:

/ 2018 AJ Architecture Award, Housing Development up to £10m – shortlisted (judging pending)

/ 2018 Building Award, Housing Project of the Year – shortlisted (judging pending)

/ 2018 Brick Award, Large Housing Development – shortlisted (judging pending)

The 3400 sqm building is a convivial residential community in Surrey, designed for specialist retirement living developer PegasusLife.

In his building study of Moor’s Nook BD architecture critic Ike Ijeh praised the scheme, saying: “Giving architectural expression to sociological conditions is always tricky, particularly as contemporary architecture tends to eschew the tools of didactic decoration or figurative symbolism that enabled older styles to convey their intentions with clarity. But Moor’s Nook provides as eloquent an expression as any of an architecture conceived with the idea of community at its heart.

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Building Study: Moor’s Nook, by Ike Ijeh


This week, BD’s architecture critic Ike Ijeh reviewed Moor’s Nook, our recently completed housing project for retirement living specialists PegasusLife.

“Moor’s Nook provides as eloquent an expression as any of an architecture conceived with the idea of community at its heart,” Ijeh writes.

“Like all the best urban architecture, this is a building experienced in fragments rather than a whole. And what better way to celebrate community than by having a building whose diverse pattern of responses mimics the variety and parallel personalities from which all our communities are formed.”

Read more here on BD.

The Royal Academy of Dramatic… Architecture – Phil Coffey for BD

Coffey Architects Phil CoffeyjpgThis article was originally published on BD, 24/7/2018. Read it here.

At noon on June 21, architects, actors, family and friends gathered to watch a shaft of light pass through a cleft cut into the dense architecture of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts on Gower Street. This shaft of light passes deep into the building and gently caresses a bust of George Bernard Shaw. The moment was architecturally choreographed by the late Bryan Avery.

Standing soaked in light alongside the bust, Michael Attenborough expressed how his father Richard had chosen Avery as the architect for the project. He confirmed it was based on his high intellect, his ability to connect to people and, most importantly, his wit. “Wit,” he said, “expresses humanity.”

Expressing humanity through architecture is a fine ambition, but how do we do it? Wit in architecture works when played on a convention. For the deviation to work there must be expectations and familiarity. With no understanding or play on the normal, such moves can look more like an architectural joke. These generally lose their humour pretty quickly.

Following Michael Attenborough’s gracious talk, guests were fortunate enough to get inside the Jerwood Vanbrugh Theatre, a theatre that breaks convention. A practical, delightful and surprising space, for a theatre of this size, it is much admired around the world for its flexibility. It has an unusual modifiable proscenium arch with an enviable number of different performance settings.

The Jerwood Vanbrugh was also the first theatre in the UK to use a wire tension grid for access to the theatre lighting, a practical solution and an incredible experience to walk on for those lucky enough to get the opportunity. The theatre’s balconies also have open balustrades, at once making the space more intimate and “hot” for the students learning their craft on the stage and encouraging viewers to lean forward and intensify the atmosphere.

Perhaps these individual elements aren’t “witty” to lay people. Wit doesn’t necessarily have to be understood to be enjoyed, but to actors these moves are challenging and bring a sense of engagement and joy to their everyday work. They make actors think and make them smile.

In a suitably erudite conversation that took place on the stage, Edward Kemp, the director of Rada, raised the issue of a glazed ocular window that draws light in from the cleft to the rear of the auditorium. Kemp couldn’t say enough about this hidden jewel of a performance space in the heart of London. He had never worked in a theatre that had daylight before. Intriguingly, he declared that every day since he took on the directorship in 2008, he has been determined to devise a setting and a performance that used this natural light.

Perhaps that’s what wit in architecture is. The loss of perceived perfection, traded for surprise. A change of context as a contrast. An irritant in a comfortable space. A composition or element that makes you think and enriches the experience of architecture above the everyday.

In the Jerwood Vanbrugh, Avery challenged the client and users to think about the humanity of the space. He created a space that still engages them today by understanding the deep history of theatre design and offering wit to twist from the mean.

George Bernard Shaw, a renowned member of Rada and a man of acerbic wit, once said: “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” Avery never grew old and Rada is a fine example of how he brought his literally “playful wit” to those who experience his buildings.


Designed for Wallpaper* Handmade 2018 under the theme “Wellness + Wonder”, the Stepwell Table is a collaboration with Spanish surfaces company Compac. Illuminated from within, it presents a “mini-architecture” inspired by an ancient Indian well dedicated to the goddess of joy.

The table was photographed for the August print issue of Wallapaper* magazine, and Coffey Architects’ associate Michael Henriksen, designer of the Stepwell Table, was sketched for the contributors page, too.




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This article was originally published on BD, 10/7/2018. Read it here.

In 2018 we began to accept that climate change was and is the issue of our time and urgently changed the way in which we developed our cities and our architecture for our future good.

We accelerated the greening of our city, we started to value the intangible. Spreadsheets properly valued parks, green public realm, water, rooftop terraces, balconies that have given us the ability to connect to our environment, to work and live outside, to walk to cycle, to shade and cool our public spaces and to remove pollution from our air.

The glut of tall glass towers of 2018 that we will now live with forever were the last spurts of a community that believed that technology and comfort cooling were the equal partner of solid walls, solar shading and passive design. Short-term financial solutions in a long-term existential paradigm.

Today in scorching London we build with depth in our elevations, with solid facades and – with our cleaner air and quieter electric roads – a significant majority of our buildings are naturally ventilated. Why didn’t we think ahead?

Context. Remember that ubiquitous “c” word of architecture in the early 2000s? It all changed in 2018. No longer did we fetishise brick, the then new London vernacular. We recognised that that “pesky” layer of insulation, a response to our climate had led us all to decorated buildings and that the planners knew it. Why clad a building in any other material if London was our closed myopic environment? We began to truly investigate the possibility of lighter materials, quicker to build, less embodied energy, easier to transport, and we used strong environmental arguments to build more intelligently.

Architects began to interrogate the layers of structure, waterproofing and insulation as a driving force in making buildings that respond to our macro and micro climate. Elevations became thresholds for light, air and future inhabitation not just historical narratives of material and décor. Wrapping lightweight timber frame structures with brick skin facades to keep London brown, it all seems so backward now.

In that important year we doubled down on the idea that the global context was just as important as the local and ensured buildings were orientated to the sun, not to the historical twisted and winding streets of the past. We densified London to create shade and more homes and were concerned less about overlooking and privacy. Planning departments employed Design and Environment Officers, rather than Design and Conservation Officers, whose name suggested the problem.

2018 and the following years also changed the public perception of architecture. Architects began a conversation with communities about the importance of an industry whose product consumed over 40% of the world’s energy and directly affected their daily lives in the most crucial way.

Architects truly connected with an issue that would drive design solutions and put the profession at the heart of a global discussion. Incredibly the public began to believe architects were professionals who cared about our shared futures, or at least that’s how I remember it…

…the hot, sticky summer of 2018, when architecture changed, and we all drank iced drinks as England won the World Cup. Or was it all just a dream, an opportunity lost, just more of the same? We all enjoyed the sun, packed up our picnics, went home, applied the after sun and thought nothing more of our devastating impact on the slow and seemingly inevitable warming of our planet.


Our Bermondsey scheme for London Square has been shortlisted for a 2018 New London Award in the Mixed-Use category.

Part of a larger collaborative masterplan by AHMM, we have designed 70 new flats and Tannery Arts’ gallery and maker studios on Plot 1 of London Square Bermondsey.

Our designs complete the perimeter block of terraced housing to the north, adding a new route into the site that is lined with affordable commercial space for a gallery, artists’ studios and display cases for designers and makers on the site. A central hub of circulation is accessed from the east, linking our plot, including the retained Victorian factory building, with other new and existing buildings across the site.


Watch this space, all winners will be announced on 4 July at the NLA Annual Lunch at the Guildhall.Coffey-Architects_Rich-Estate_3Coffey-Architects_Rich-Estate_6

Venice Biennale 2018: Phil Coffey for the Architects’ Journal

DogesBye bye Venice. Leaving in a taxi …The Doges Palace, those columns, those capitals … full of stories … one purportedly portrays the seven deadly sins. Here are mine from the last 24 hours.

Envy. Is a terrible thing…and I’m full of it for the first installation at the Arsenale – an essay in construction and light. I’d have been happy walking in, pushing this heavy wheel of wonder around for four hours and catching a flight home, but after discussing his work, orientation, solstices, stone, structure and celestial movement with an out-of-breath Níall McLaughlin, I decided to stay and take a look at some of the weaker follies to feel better about myself.

Lust. Outside the empty pavilion, spoken-word artist Kate Tempest was asked what her eagerly awaited opening poem was to be about. ‘I thought I’d bring something different to this architectural trade fair.’ Trade fair? I’m not sure the curators would be happy with that label. This is, of course, different to MIPIM. There’s a charming lack of lust for power or money. This is architecture as an art form and this biennale feels like our art is back with a bang. Highlights were Zumthor’s delicious models and Caruso St John’s deep and powerful elevations in the Italian Pavilion … and Kate’s words, which did exactly, what she said they would do.

Wrath. We’ve enjoyed the usual Italian hospitality, warm and welcoming unless you wear shorts to the ever pleasant Monaco terrace – as Jonathon Falkingham discovered. When plumbing the depths of sartorial manners in such a (lack of) fashion you will suffer the significant wrath of the usually mild-mannered waiters. Norman had no such problem, dressed impeccably in a pink shirt, chinos and suede slip-on shoes on the table next to me for my final lunch. Venice suits Lord Foster; he moved with effortless grace and speed between the tables, so elegantly in fact that he stole my water taxi to the airport.

Gluttony. Good to have a long lunch of scallops, clams and spaghetti at the Galeon, located between both major biennale locations. Architecture chit chat with the Howells, Bloxhams, Monaghans, Allfords and Bevans with some innocent drive-bys by many a sunburnt architect and engineer. Ate and drank too much and felt even more gluttonous later when bumping into the new-look Sam Jacob at the British Council Party. I had thought his recent photograph lying down at the RIBA had made him look thin through a trick of perspective, but it turns out our shared gym is working, for him at least. Good exhibition at 66 too, and not quite as far as Venice, or half as expensive.

Greed. Water taxis. On arrival as a group of four to the new water taxi terminal, we were greeted by a rather forceful bouncer who rudely split us into two boats, for their greater gain. 180 euros shared between myself and Duncan of Arrant Land, and that’s only the beginning. Anywhere you go it’s a minimum 70 euros, and everywhere you go, in case you didn’t know…there’s water in the way. In defiant protest, we voted with our tired feet and caught the cheaper alternative, a water bus back from the Giardini, wrong bus, wrong canal, wrong stop. Got off. Hailed a taxi. 70 euros to cross 100m of water. I could have swum it in six minutes. That’ll teach ‘em.

Pride. If you are going to curate a biennale, you’d want to take a look at this one as a case study. A strong selection of architects, a strong theme that is interpreted in many different ways. ‘Freespace’ has got us thinking and talking and has given confidence to the simple things and discussions in architecture. So bravo Grafton Architects. I’m not a big fan of the word ‘proud’, but they should be proud of this.

Sloth. Apologies to the Architects’ Journal for agreeing to blog and then rustling up just the one entry.

Workshop 3: Londonon Milan



Following successful workshops in London and El Ejido, we’re in Milan this week with our rolling research programme, Londonon, exploring the urban section.

Alongside other collaborating London-based studios and the local One Works team, we’ll be investigating intensification, urban regeneration, infrastructure and mixed-use. Watch this space for more.

Coffey Architects and Smeg reveal intricate shadow-casting screen for 2018 RIBA Regent Street Windows

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For the 2018 RIBA Regent Street Windows competition, Coffey Architects has designed a dynamic window display for Italian cooking brand Smeg’s flagship London store. The installation celebrates the launch Smeg’s new Linea built-in collection.

Through a hands-on process of iterative refinement, and close collaboration with structural engineers Morph Structures, the architects explored installation options that would both market the product range and promote the Smeg brand.

Project architect Ella Wright explained, “In line with Linea’s key features, we were encouraged to work with light reflection, refraction and shadow, both naturally and artificially. What resulted is a display that is engaging, yet true to the company’s history and heritage in producing distinctive cooking appliances.”

Creating intrigue and delight through threshold and repetition, Coffey Architects has utilised the Linea collection’s cast iron pan stand to create an intricate patterned screen.The multiplication of this heavy and industrial component paradoxically creates a landscape that resembles a delicate weave, whilst showcasing Smeg’s rich heritage. It filters and diffuses light, casting beautiful, active shadows inside the store during the day and out onto the pavement at night.

Wright said: “This installation blurs the boundaries of the shop window through the use of layering, transparency, light and shadow. As much as the screen itself, we were excited by the effect it produced. Striking shadows are cast on the pavement and passers-by, appearing to brand whatever surface they touch.”

Whilst from a distance the screen reads as one piece, at closer inspection, visitors can understand the pan stands as individual components. The design showcases two of Smeg’s new products at eye level within the intricate weave, inviting passers-by to engage with the brand, as well as the shadows it casts.

Smeg London opened its doors in September 2017, and since then has welcomed a number of architects and designers to commission its products.

We’re thrilled to be partnering with RIBA on this very special window display”, said head of marketing, John Davies. “The store has been designed specifically to target the architectural market and support the brand’s growing presence in this sector, so this announcement is a very important one for us”.

This is the eighth year of the exclusive design competition run by the RIBA, the official professional body for architects in the UK. The project sees some of Regent Street’s leading retailers partnering with emerging and established RIBA Chartered Architects to create a series of unique shop windows on Regent Street and Regent Street St James’s.

Coffey Architects’ display will run for a minimum of six months.

Coffey Architects shortlisted in competition to design Weavers Quarter


We’re proud to announce that Coffey Architects has been shortlisted in the contest to design the next phases of Weavers Quarter, the redevelopment of the Gascoigne East estate in Barking for the borough’s wholly owned development company, Be First.

Jennie Coombs, head of affordable housing at Be First, said:

“With this competition we’re trying to establish a template for future developments in the borough. We want to create a gold standard for high-quality designed developments which can be built conventionally or off-site, be truly affordable, and attractive to look at.”

Read more here.

A City of Ages – Phil Coffey for BD

Coffey Architects Phil CoffeyjpgThis article was originally published on BD, 5/4/2018. Read it here.


Kevin McCloud once said to me rather pointedly over a Grand Designs judging table… “Phil, you aren’t young any more.”

As architecture currently works to sort out its gender balance (I’ve just returned from Mipim, which seemed significantly more progressive this year), I think we should also ask, “What about the young people?” Forgive the generational generalisations, but here we go…

There are the baby boomers, with assets, with wealth. They can afford to work alone; why would they need others to succeed? Thankfully, however, many buck the stereotypical trend and share their wealth, bringing younger architects into larger projects to enhance their position in the architectural family tree and to bring freshness to their thinking and studio cultures. Many give their time for free at university crits, offer advice when asked and support others by offering jobs of all scales to the smaller practices… but they still lead out on their own, they still have a singular vision… we know who they are, and they have produced some of the finest works of architecture we have.

Then we have the millennials who are struggling to buy a home, to make ends meet in this ever more expensive and exclusive society. They see working together in collectives as a natural and progressive way to forward their impact and make our cities more vibrant and equitable places to live. Co-working, co-habitation… it is in their genes to connect; to live, work and think together. Their attitude is to build a community, to build a new structure to fight for their place in this world. They are the future, scraping at the perimeter wall of development. Not so much a singular artistic vision, but a wider-based design process, both professional community and project community. Granted, they are probably too young to have produced their seminal buildings just yet… but what will their architecture look like?

And there, the piggy in the middle, is Generation X, as I believe we are now called, trying to connect the two. Are we trying to make an architecture that sits between a singular vision, fighting the diluted position in our industry, and a trend to a more equitable, community-based architecture?

Back in the day, architects led the construction industry. Clients came to them first. They built briefs. They designed buildings. And, yes, they even administered contracts, successfully. Did they make better architecture?

These days architects in many projects are consultants, part of the process. Should we aim to get back to where we were kings? Or should we accept our diluted position among the other valued members of a design team? Learn to work together. More cohesively… this is a team game, didn’t you know?

The relationship of procurement, life attitude and the architecture it produces is profound. Sole owners, companies, employee-owned trusts all have a significant commercial and intellectual impact on the architecture that organisations, that groups of people make.

Top down, bottom up and something in between is now how our cities are being made. Maybe it has always been the same… but there is a sense that this time is more critical. Life-change is accelerating, disruption is here… and we better get used to it. Quick.

While the lubrication of the profession is happening, it is important for our cities that the younger generation of architects is encouraged to take part in the making of cities. And please note, I don’t mean by being given a golden kiosk with timber benches on the corner of a street while others eat up the quantum and the associated fee of the Cat B offices and housing blocks behind. To build the cities of the near future, the younger generation needs to be involved in the big conversations because they feel the change, they understand it… and for those who don’t engage with the ways they are thinking of living their lives, they will perish as the pattern of habitation, tenure and work life changes.

On the other hand… let’s hope that the seminal building that raises spirits, that touches souls and lifts communities, that is the work of a talented architect that can truly inspire every generation, isn’t lost to procurement routes, community engagement and the loss of leadership.

Our cities should be a balanced conversation between all ages seeking the ultimate aim of what we all do – making better architecture, better cities, both singularly and collectively, whatever our generation.


Coffey Architects at Wallpaper* Handmade, Salone del Mobile


Coffey Architects will be showing a bespoke piece of design in the 9th Edition of Wallpaper* Handmade at Salone Internazionale del Mobile di Milano, also know as Milan Furniture Fair, 17-21 April 2018.

The theme for this year’s Wallpaper* Handmade is Wellness and Wonder – the quest for mental and corporeal wellbeing, the long and winding journey towards a better you.  Acting as patron and creative director, Wallpaper* has cherry-picked a selection of some of the world’s finest artists, craftsmen, makers and manufacturers, commissioning unique and one-off luxury items of furniture, fittings, food stuffs, fashion and much more.

We’re pleased to be paired with Spanish surfaces company COMPAC on our one-of-a-kind design that has been crafted specifically for Handmade. More to come on the design and installation… 

Londonon: rolling research programme


On 16th February, the collective of participants of the Londonon research programme assembled at the mid-point of Waterloo Bridge to celebrate the launch of the inaugural European workshop to harness the collective knowledge of those practices involved.

Londonon was formed to ask questions of how we can reach out and look beyond our small island. Londonon is a self-funded research and residency programme in cities around the world, starting in Europe. We are pooling resources to question, collaborate, make and experience, to broaden our minds, expand our reach and widen our worldview. Each Londonon practice nominates a researcher in the field, for each week long study period as we travel the globe.

The inaugural international research trip to El Ejido, led by Coffey Architects, is focussed on how light and climate shape how we make and inhabit cities. It is hoped through this approach, we are able to reveal the qualitative aspects of EL Ejido with a specific analysis of how the climate and light have defined this area as it is today. In demystifying intensification in El Ejido, Londonon can overlay relevant conditions onto London to better understand our current issues and constraints.

Read more about the research programme here.

“The Meaning of Light”

Director Phil Coffey was recently interviewed for London Magazine, the city’s monthly glossy publication covering people, places and property.

Looking at the sunlight streaming in through the huge expanse of razor-sharp rooflights in a a modern extension, you’d be forgiven for thinking we’re in southern California, or perhaps somewhere even more exotic. But each of the buildings on these pages are in London, creations of one of architecture’s rising stars, Phil Coffey.

That you can be described as a rising star at the age of 42 says something of how long it takes to establish a successful career as an architect, but Coffey and his studio have made a name for themselves transforming London’s often dark and narrow period houses into buildings so light, spacious and airy, they seem to belong somewhere else altogether. “My first thought on any project is “‘Where’s the sun?’,” Coffey says. “The sun makes spaces fresh and makes it feel like the building is alive.”

Read the rest of Phil’s interview with London Magazine here.


Meet us at MIPIM 2018

Our team will be at MIPIM 2018 from Monday, 12th March to Friday, 16th March…  making the most of the event, and hopefully the sun!

Get in touch via We’d love to meet you.180227 MIPIM Social

The Times names Hidden House as one of ‘the 10 best buildings of 2017’


Coffey Architects’ Hidden House has been named one of The Times’ Top 10 Buildings of 2017. Hidden House was recognised alongside Jean Nouvel’s sublime Louvre Abu Dhabi and Foster + Partner’s Bloomberg HQ in London, the self-proclaimed most-environmentally friendly office in the world – among others. Architectural correspondent Jonathan Morrison praised our clever design on a small and constricted site.

See the article here:

Hidden House Shortlisted for House of the Year

We’re pleased to announce that Hidden House was shortlisted for Grand Designs’ and RIBA’s House of the Year!  Read more about the project here… and see a selection of recent press coverage below.

Channel 4: Grand Designs – House of the Year

The Guardian/ Observer: Jail house rocks… an architectural marvel built over an old prison vault

Dezeen: Coffey Architects sets small brick home atop Victorian prison vaults in London

Wallpaper*: Box clever: it’s hip to be square at Coffey Architects’ Hidden House

City AM: Property of the Week: Hidden House in Clerkenwell is a one-off built above Victorian prison vaults

Architects’ Journal: Coffey Architects’ Hidden House revealed

Modern Detached wins 2017 Brick Award

We are pleased to announce that our project, Modern Detached, has won the Individual Housing Development award at the 2017 Brick Awards. We are grateful to have worked on such a special project for an amazing client.

From the judges:

“The palette of materials resonates with the immediate environment, and it is nice to see the brickwork taken inside the building to provide some much-needed warmth.”



Last week, director Phil Coffey was invited to participate in a PechaKucha at London-based property fair MIPIM UK.

Alongside a great panel including Adam Walker, founder of CRATE, Colin MacGadie, chief creative officer at BDG and Will Notley, senior architect at PDP London, Phil presented a high energy, visually driven talk on the inside/outside-ness of the spaces we work, and making place with light and culture.

PechaKucha was devised in Tokyo in 2003 by the English architect Mark Dytham and has turned into a global celebration of design, with events happening in hundreds of cities around the world. Drawing its name from the Japanese term for the sound of “chit chat”, it rests on a presentation format of 20 images x 20 seconds.




Coffey Architects shortlisted for RIBA Clore Learning Centre


We are delighted to be shortlisted for the new RIBA Clore Learning Centre at 66 Portland Place.

The project is to create a new study room, terrace and display area in an existing space at the iconic grade II* listed building.

RIBA head of learning Elizabeth Grant said the institute had been “thrilled by the sheer enthusiasm” shown for the Clore Learning Centre, noting the thoughtful and creative responses by all who entered the competition.

For more info, check out the Architects’ Journal and BD Online.

Croydon Smaller Sites Programme recognised with New London Award

The Croydon Smaller Sites Programme for Brick x Brick, the council’s own development company, has been awarded the 2017 New London award for unbuilt housing.

We’re extremely proud of this honour, as Brick x Brick has created a clever and considerate programme to provide housing for the Borough of Croydon. In addition to our 10 sites, the progamme includes work from HTA, Mae, Pitman Tozer, Stitch, Mikhail Riches and vPPR.





We are pleased to announce that Hidden House has been longlisted for the 2017 RIBA House of the Year award. Keep an eye out for the Channel 4 behind-the-scenes tour later this year.

Judges noted:

‘This single-storey house originates from a rigorously scrutinised floor layout, engaging in a simple and elegant way with the constraints of the site… This building has been rigorously considered in its design and beautifully delivered in its construction.’


Coffey Architects Wins Three RIBA Regional Awards

We are pleased to announce that we have won three 2017 RIBA Regional Awards. We were awarded the accolade for Modern Detached in the East region, and for Hidden House and Science Museum in the London region. We are ever-grateful to our hardworking team and inspired clients!

Award winners pictured at the RIBA East 2017 Awards Evening held at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. Photo credit: Richard Marsham
Award winners pictured at the RIBA East 2017 Awards Evening held at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge.
Photo credit: Richard Marsham

Award winners pictured at the RIBA London 2017 Awards Evening held at RIBA Portland Place, London. Photo credit: Agnese Sanvito
Award winners pictured at the RIBA London 2017 Awards Evening held at RIBA Portland Place, London.
Photo credit: Agnese Sanvito

Read Our MIPIM Review in OnOffice Magazine

We recently spoke to OnOffice Magazine about our experience at MIPIM 2017. Check us out in the latest issue!

I believe it’s good for perception. It instills confidence in our current client base, and is good brand recognition for future clients.

More importantly, I believe it’s good for our team, for our generation of entrepreneurs, to feel like we belong in this industry. We should be involved in the conversations shaping our cities and the larger the presence you have at MIPIM, the greater the chance to get involved with other key players and decision makers.”

Phil Coffey, director


Coffey Architects featured in the Financial Times

Our west London project, Modern Mews, has been featured in the FT’s weekend supplement, ‘How to Spend It’. In her article, ‘The Big Picture’, Ruth Bloomfield writes about extraordinary extensions and exquisite craftsmanship in London period homes. Director Phil Coffey shares insight on ‘noble’ materials and bespoke luxury.


Coffey Architects Shortlisted for Three RIBA Regional Awards

We are pleased to announce that Science Museum, Hidden House and Modern Detached have been shortlisted for RIBA Regional Awards.

Nicolas Tye, Chairman of RIBA East, and past RIBA Awards judge, said:
‘We’ve had an amazing response to the call for Award entries this year and it’s really great to see clients pushing for good design across such a broad spectrum, from schools and religious buildings through to housing schemes and one-off homes. All the architecture practices and their clients are to be congratulated for getting this far. The jury has a difficult task on its hands.’



Modern Mews, U+I and Science Museum Research Centre Shortlisted for New London Awards 2016

We are very excited to announce our Modern Mews, U+I Headquarters and Science Museum Research Centre have been shortlisted for the New London Awards 2016. The New London Awards recognises the very best new and proposed architecture, planning and development in London.

Modern Mews has been shortlisted in the category Homes.

U+I Headquarters has been shortlisted in the category Conservation & Retrofit as well as Office Interiors.

Science Museum Research Centre has been shortlisted in the category Culture & Community.

We cross fingers for our projects. The announcement of the winners are on 7th July 2016.


Modern Mews and Modern Side Extension win RIBA Awards

We are happy to announce that our Modern Side Extension and Modern Mews won the RIBA Awards on Tuesday 3rd May.

RIBA Awards celebrates the best architecture in the UK and around the world, no matter the form; size or budget – we believe winning the awards display our commitment to designing and developing buildings and spaces for the improvement and enhancement of people’s lives.

In addition to winning the Regional Award Modern Mews have also made it onto the House of the Year 2016 Longlist which means it will be shown on the series House of the Year on Channel 4 in the Summer 2016. The Shortlist and Winner will be announced in the series – make sure to watch the series on Channel 4 and find out if Modern Mews will be the lucky one.


Terraced housing is a defining feature of many British cities, but families now prefer to live in open plan spaces differing from the traditional cellular rooms for living, dining and cooking. The need to expand and remodel the terraced home is never-ending but, hidden away from the street, it is dominated by poorly thought through and detailed additions. The Modern Side Extension is a typological retrofit solution to offer a truly modern space for living that respects the urbanity of its host building. Reconfiguring the ubiquitous party wall connected to the terraced rear abutment remodels the home, creating a subtle game of solid and void with views to garden and sky.

Conservation-friendly brick, glass and bi-fold doors unite in a complex three-dimensional composition. Respectful to neighbours, the Modern Side Extension shows that the smallest architectural projects can be transformational.



An intricately designed and constructed piece of joinery crafted to live in.

The typical London mews house enjoyed windows only to the front of the property creating difficulty for habitable, comfortable and lit rooms to the back of the house; making practical modern spaces for living in such small constrained sites can be difficult to achieve. The Modern Mews employs many of the design ideas in Japanese tea houses (Chashitsu) to create a home full of light with numerous activities brought together through visual links. Horizontally wooden lattice sliding doors allow for adaptable spaces across each floor and between floors glass panels allow occupants to converse and bring light into the heart of the home from a zenith ocular window.

The home is conceived as a life sized piece of joinery, a Japanese treasure chest for living that sits between the white painted brick finish walls of the adjacent mews neighbours. All walls, floors and ceilings are crafted from white oak whilst elements where water is required are moulded from Corian. The central walls are interlayered with rice paper, glass and oak lattice, sliding to create a master suite or bed and bath at first floor, with bedrooms to the top floor enjoying light gathered from the sky above.

Living spaces to ground and basement enjoy light from the bi-fold sliding doors to the mews and light that penetrates the building from the central stair light well. Kitchen and dining spaces at ground level are visually and acoustically connected to the living space with a central fire warming the home from below. The basement carved into the ground is lined and furnished with elements of powerfloated and hand trowelled in-situ concrete.

The celebration of daily life in London is beautifully orchestrated across these four interlocked and interlayered floors in W1, creating a three bedroom light filled home for family life in less than 100m2.