Every year, Allies and Morrison takes a trip as a whole studio to discover a new place. A place from which we can learn, see examples of interesting architecture and – to generally – enjoy each other’s company. For 2016 the choice was Antwerp – the furthest we’ve ever been as a whole practice. So, in September, we boarded a Eurostar – all 300+ of us – and made our way from London St Pancras through the Channel and into Belgium.
After arriving at Antwerp’s remarkable Central Station, we checked into our hotels and went out for a night on the town. The next day was educational with guided tours by an exceptional group of Antwerpenaar guides of the historic centre, as well as the large regeneration site at the city’s historic docklands, which are being re-purposed into a beautiful new urban quarter for living and working. We also paid a visit to the Museum ann de Stroom, designed by Neutelings Riedijk Architects. The whole practice lunched together at the memorable Grande Cafe Horta, named in honour of the Antwerp architect Victor Horta in the Cafe’s Art Nouveau Hall, which was built from the re-purposed iron beams of Horta’s demolished People’s House in Brussels. Christoph Grafe, Director of the Flanders Architecture Institute, welcomed us to the city and gave a lovely talk on the state of Flemish architecture today.
All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed our time. Dank u Antwerpen.
In September 2015, we travelled as a whole practice to Cambridge for a first look at the new Allies and Morrison Cambridge Studio. It was a fantastic day which included tours of our projects at Fitzwilliam College and Ash Court, Girton College followed by lunch at St John’s College and then punting down the River Cam to the new studio for tea and cake.
In September 2014, we travelled as a whole practice to France to visit the Louvre-Lens designed by SANAA as part of our 30th Anniversary celebrations
At our own ground-floor gallery, since 2005 we have held regular exhibitions to showcase the energy and creative talents of our staff, with themes including sketchbooks, objects and fashion, and skills in ceramics, furniture, knitwear and jewellery being displayed and celebrated. We also host a series of galleries features our work and the creative pursuits of others with local partners such as the Dulwich Picture Gallery.
We like to organise visits for our studio to our completed projects shortly after, and sometimes many years after, completion to share knowledge and successes. Project teams host sessions to review developing ideas and experiences throughout the design and construction of each project to teach others in the practice.
We have a well-established practice culture of environmental responsibility and awareness. Our recycling strategy consistently achieves above a 90% rate, winning most recently a Recycling Performance Gold Award in 2016.
In parallel, we donate salvaged, re-usable stationery, packaging and computer hardware to local charities and community projects as part of our re-use initiative.
We continue to monitor our building and business energy consumption and set targets for reduction, including C02 output from transportation.
As Partner in the AR Women in Architecture programme, we continue our longstanding and active support to promote, mentor and retain our higher-than-average number of women across the practice.
We were early adopters of enhanced maternity and paternity benefits and we offer a return-to-work bonus for female returners and a childcare voucher scheme.
We provide opportunities for flexible working in all our staff – to parents and to those with caring responsibilities as well as those wishing to pursue an alternative work-life balance to further personal development. We also offer opportunities for sabbaticals and career breaks.
in 2015, we hosted a lecture series on Women in Architecture, inviting eight accomplished women in the profession who have or are collaborated with the practice to speak to the whole studio about the lessons that have learned in their work.
Our ground-floor cafe, The Table, provides all-day dining to visitors and the public and offers 25% staff discount during the working week. The care spills out onto a terrace at the rear, particularly lovely on summer evenings.
The Table won the Time Out Cheap Eats Award in 2006, and was 49th in the Telegraph’s top 100 places to eat in the UK, 2014 and holds a two-star rating from the Sustainable Restaurant Association for its commitment to sustainable and ethical sourcing.
Friday evening drinks are held in the studio every fortnight, on the roof terrace in summer or at the completion of one of our building projects.
Our regular programme of lunchtime CPD seminars is always well attended and follows the RIBA curriculum. We also provide professional training to develop individual personal and practice skills including full Revit, CAD and MicroStation training and presentation and leadership skills.