Category Archives: Expertise



As architects and urbanists, and Building Design Masterplanning and Public Realm Architect of the Year 2014, we have a reputation for expertise in the design of successful mixed-use masterplans, as well as education, healthcare and residential-led schemes. We work with important clients in each sector, many of them come to us on a repeat basis. And through our Urban Practitioners group, we offer specialist expertise in consultation, working closely with local authorities and local communities.

We have gained invaluable insight through the design and completion of buildings within our own masterplans, as well as within existing masterplan frameworks by other architects. In London, we have been involved in two of the capital’s most significant regeneration sites as co-masterplanner – at the 2012 Olympics and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and King’s Cross Central. Beyond the UK, our contextual-driven approach has led to appointments on culturally sensitive sites in the heart of Doha and in central Beirut.

In 2014 we published The Fabric of Place with Artifice Books, which documents a series of our major urban projects and also sets out the principles and theories which underpin them. In the book, we make explicit what has long been implicit in our philosophy and work: cities can evolve and change by building on their historic form and identity rather than sacrificing it.


Our expertise in Building Information Modelling (BIM) is very well-advanced. Our structured approach, and continuing investment, places us at the forefront of the field and underlines our commitment to BIM as the future within our industry.

We use a combination of software on both integrated level 2 BIM and traditional contracts, from concept through to construction and completion, with Autodesk Revit Architecture and Naviswork our primary BIM tools.

Through our projects in progress, and those now complete, we have seen significant benefits in co-ordination, efficiency and quality of work for our clients.

We promote the use of coordinated BIM processes on new projects and are keen advocates of initiatives to standardise them across construction contracts.

We also use our design technology to connect directly with our model making teams to provide a seamless process in the presentation of proposals to clients as we design.

Urban Practitioners

Allies and Morrison Urban Practitioners was formed in 2011 through the merger of Allies and Morrison with planning, urban design and consultation practice Urban Practitioners. The Allies and Morrison Urban Practitioners team undertakes all aspects of masterplanning and planning, including policy, planning applications, masterplans and Area Action Plans. The team has particular expertise in community consultation and engagement, specialising in a wide range of consultation techniques including pop-up shops, exhibitions, market stalls and surveys. Allies and Morrison Urban Practitioners also has a strong track record in research and publications. These include a series of studies for English Heritage, including ‘The Heritage Dividend‘, which measured the social and economic impact of investment in the historic environment, ‘The Changing Face of the High Street: Decline and Revival‘, which reviewed the changes undergoing in English town centres.

Making Heritage Work

We specialise in placing confident, resonant, modern development into historic sites, achieving seamless interventions in precious places ranging from World Heritage sites to Grade I listed buildings.

Our heritage expertise extends from masterplanning in cathedral cities right through to the fine detail in listed buildings.

We achieve major revitalisations of public buildings including museums, galleries, and concert halls – careful, radical transformations that make the heritage work. These range from careful restorations such as Blackwell in Cumbria to careful modernisations such as Ingio Jones’ early 17th century Queen’s House, Greenwich. The practice’s work also embraces twentieth century buildings, such as the Royal Festival Hall and conversion of the Commonwealth Institute.

Our in-house team includes accredited building conservation specialists and qualified urban designers, with skills ranging from technical repair, to the writing of Conservation Plans, to high level research and policy development for English Heritage and the Mayor of London and numerous local authorities.

This expertise has been fundamental also to developing our projects in Europe and the Middle East, designing new urban centres that are sensitive to local character – places that ‘grow out of’ and thereby ‘fit into’ these diverse contexts.


Making models is an integral part of our design process and a vivid and direct means of communication. Our in-house modelshop makes models to explain and clarify, bridging the gap between concept and built reality as well as between designer, client and user.

In most of our projects, models are a core part of the design process. We make models that are precisely constructed and accurate in representing and developing core ideas, sculpted from solid materials or constructed from applied or folded layers.

Traditional ways of making by hand are combined with new technologies, including laser-cutting, CNC machining and rapid prototyping. Scales range from 1:5000 to 1:1.

Environmental Design

In each of our projects, and in the operation of our business and the buildings we inhabit, we adopt integral and robust, sustainable, long-term strategies for environmental design.

We implement our own BREEAM early assessment and use Vasari, an Ecotect software, for environmental analysis on our buildings. In every building we design, we aspire for high energy efficiency and sustainability standards. Where possible, these are the highest standard measurable, such as the BREEAM Outstanding rating given to Two Pancras Square. In our masterplans, we incorporate energy reduction, landscape sensitivity and climate-appropriate strategies to enhance the long-term sustainability of urban places.


Through the expertise of our architects and specialists with backgrounds in interior, furniture and lighting design, we create fully-integrated interiors within our architectural projects, as well as stand-alone spaces. Projects range from large commercial buildings to individual galleries/shops such as Contemporary Applied Arts.

Careful analysis of the client or operator brief and an understanding of the end-user is the foundation of our approach. We produce spaces that are not only memorable, but that also respond to the buildings they form part of, whether new or old. We avoid fashion, instead taking a strong interest in the applications of materials, the development of details and the use of light, to produce spaces designed to endure.


Our in-house graphics team works closely with architects to produce reports, submission, presentations and exhibition material throughout the life of each project.

The team includes graphic designers, architects and product designers with advanced skills in Adobe Photoshop, Indesign and Illustrator.

As well as the design, layout and production of all printed and digital material for the practice and on its projects, the team also develops graphic identities, signage, wayfinding and colour palettes for built work.

Technical Innovation

We are known for our expertise in the craft of making buildings, for quality and attention detail. We research, appraise and develop new building materials and technologies, improving environmental performance, cost effectiveness, speed of construction and ease of maintenance.

We bring a combination of traditional and up-to-date technical knowledge and we value creative collaboration with contractors, subcontractors and craftsmen.

Our technical team works on each project at every stage of design and construction to ensure practical and elegant built solutions, within a culture of safety, reliability and low commercial risk.

Drawing and Visualisation

We place great importance on the quality of the drawings we produce, from sketches which convey the essence of an idea to accurate sets of information for construction. We encourage excellence in freehand and computer drawing skills as these are central to the successful communication and realisation of design proposals.

We continue to invest in design technology to support the art of drawing, using advanced tools parametric component design, computational analysis and information-rich models. As well as Autodesk Revit for Building Information Modelling (BIM), we use Bentley MicroStation to produce two-dimensional models and visuals using a variety of software including Sketchup, Rhino, Grasshoper, 3ds Max and V-Ray.

Our in-house visualisation team and project team architects produce freehand and line-drawn perspective view and fully rendered visualisations, as well as fly-through animations, films and real-time interactive 3d models.