SOHO Architects believe that the best design comes from a completely integrated approach from conception to completion. By involving all of the critical design disciplines from the earliest stages, a project can be optimised for the opportunities and constraints presented by the site and the brief.
This holistic approach is coupled with a strong commitment to those who commission and use our buildings. A high degree of personal service, together with respect for the precious resources of cost and time, characterizes our client relationships. Environmental awareness has always been integral to the practice’s culture. We have consistently sought to devise design solutions that use renewable energy sources and reduce carbon emissions. We work in a spirit of enquiry, challenging preconceptions and testing conventions. The process of ‘reinvention’ distinguishes much of our work.
To achieve a sustainable built environment, engineering needs to be integrated from the outset of the design process. The practice therefore has in-house engineering group, with a focus on environmental and structural engineering as well as other specialist teams. Working alongside design teams in an open, collaborative environment, the groups strengthen the studio’s environmental agenda, capabilities and commitment to integrated design.
Early consideration of the structure in the design process has benefits for the building in terms of its design, its costs, and the speed of its construction. Decisions taken at this early stage have major effects on outcomes further along in the design process. This approach avoids developing options that are ultimately unfeasible or impractical to construct. In addition, it is possible to prepare for future stages, and to organize the collection of appropriate information, such as wind environment data, geotechnical investigations and infrastructure surveys.
Modelling, assessment and analysis is integral to informing our engineering design. SOHO Architects provides microclimate analysis, passive strategy feasibility analysis, sustainable benchmarking (LEED, BREEAM, GreenStar etc) and energy modelling from the outset. More detailed studies, including wind CFD, thermal modelling and detailed facade design are then used to refine the design and evaluate innovations.
Our mechanical engineers are specialists in designing high quality sustainable systems for buildings with an emphasis on passive over active responses. The design of active systems includes; heating, ventilation, cooling and other specialized systems achieving high levels of comfort for building users, reliable operation, reduced energy demands and enhancing the long-term value of a project for our clients.
To meet the unique challenges of a complex area of engineering, our public health and fire protection specialist engineers are experienced in delivering solutions that comply with local regulations and international best practice. Central to our public health engineering philosophy is an aim to reduce water demand and to promote and implement re-use, recycling and rainwater harvesting. To achieve this, we incorporate the latest technologies and water saving strategies to meet the functional demands of the end user.
The quality of the urban realm has a direct influence on the quality of our daily lives. As the ‘urban glue’ that binds a city together, our public spaces are arguably more significant than the collective merits of individual buildings. Our Urban Design Group consists of specialists from a range of backgrounds – including design, real estate, sociology and computation. By gaining a detailed understanding of context, the group helps to develop projects that are tailored to specific socio-economic, climatic and spatial circumstances.
The project management group supports design teams in delivering an integrated design service through the whole lifecycle of a project, from concept through to completion. Activities include sub-consultant management, budgeting and cost management, programme management and resource management, as well as the management of contracts and administration. We also provide an external project management service, helping clients and multi-disciplinary teams.
With an integrated design approach, the client benefits from a single point of contact for the project, with the benefit of direct access to the leaders of the core disciplines involved – an approach that significantly improves communication across the team. Any issues arising can be dealt with directly and quickly, rather than through contorted indirect routes with other parties. This provides the client with contractual simplicity and the reassurance of eliminating potential scope gaps or unexpected extras.
In addition, at SOHO Architects all disciplines operate from common technology platforms which enable us to offer integrated specifications and seamless BIM coordination providing further efficiency through a single point of contact.
By working collaboratively from the start it is possible to gain an early strategic focus on what matters and concentrate on viable concepts. Typically, an architect develops an initial proposal with minimal technical input. Engineers become involved later in the process, once a preliminary concept has been generated. This inevitably means that the concepts derived are not a reflection of the technical drivers of the site or the brief. Consequently, the concept will need to be adjusted, or post-rationalised during later stages, to incorporate technical input.
Since the earliest days of the practice we have recognised that the quality of the architecture, whether inside or out, can be improved by designing the many separate pieces which together make up the greater whole. This is the opposite of the traditional method in which the architect selects the most expedient products from a catalogue. We do not draw a distinction between architecture and product design. Rather, our approach rests on what we believe is a duty to design well and responsibly, whether that is at the scale of an airport or a door handle. The point of contact, the thing that you touch, is as important as the broader vision; and in terms of priority, no detail is too small.
SOHO Architects has an integrated approach, where by technical engineering input starts from the earliest stages of a project. This has two clear benefits. The first is that the constraints of the site, the climate, the project brief and the implications of the brief on the core engineering disciplines – structure, environment, water – are immediately included in the project design. The second is that, it is possible to generate beautiful, appropriate and sustainable responses to these constraints, which are consistent and deliverable.
From strategic brief development to detailed spatial studies, our workplace consultancy group helps to develop planning and design solutions for a wide range of buildings and masterplans. We explore and envision the future of communities, cultures and corporations and how these will influence our built environments. This expertise is applied to current as well as past projects – we work with clients to understand the unique set of needs driving the brief and we undertake post-occupancy surveys to learn from practical experience.