Monthly Archives: April 2018

‘Architects sleepwalking into irrelevance’ Sadie Morgan at AJ100 - 16-04-2018


Photo by AJ.

dRMM director Sadie Morgan tells AJ100 audience to seize ‘infrastructure initiative’ and get more involved in UK infrastructure schemes.

Speaking to a packed AJ100 Breakfast Club at Claridge’s in Mayfair, Morgan issued a plea for the profession to take a more ‘propositional’ approach and demonstrate their problem-solving skills. ‘I don’t really know what we’re doing as an industry’, the Stirling prize winner said. ‘I think we’re sleepwalking into a place where we’re not going to be relevant anymore unless we can affect our built environment.’

Among her various government advisory roles, Morgan chairs the independent design panel for the £42bn High Speed 2 railway line. She said one of its biggest successes had been to encourage the company to employ architects who would provide specimen designs to benchmark against and act as a model for contractors.

The panel has also changed procurement documents to give more generous weighting to design, sending a ’strong message to the building industry’.

The design panel is made up of 50 people from different disciplines, and acts as a ‘critical friend’, explained Morgan, who argued that a non-confrontational approach was more effective.

‘It’s no good just sitting there and saying you can do it better, because the shutters will just go down and no one will listen,’ she said. ‘It’s not that we roll over but we’re criticial in a supportive way.’

Morgan also spoke of the need for design leadership on national infrastructure projects.

‘Why shouldn’t we expect our bridges, roads, viaducts, flood defences to have the same level of design thinking? To be beautiful as well as functional?’ she asked the audience, adding: ‘We can do it. We have the skills, we have the capability, we have the brilliance and the imagination – we just do it everywhere else [outside the UK].’

She added that through the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), which Morgan also sits on, there is the opportunity to widen the debate and ‘convince those who would not generally prioritise design thinking to do so’.

Read the full article here.
By Ella Jessel of The Architects’ Journal

Photograph © The Architects’ Journal



dRMM releasing ‘Émigré Architect’ a short film for the LFA 2018 -


To celebrate the 2018 London Festival of Architecture, dRMM is presenting a short film on the influence of the émigré architect in the capital.

The film touches on this year’s festival theme – ‘identity’ – and features ten interviews with dRMM architects hailing from ten different nations. “Exile, in whatever form, is the breeding ground for creative action, for the new.” Czech-German philosopher Vilém Flusser

Émigré Architect is being screened once between 12.00 – 2.00pm every Friday in June as part of the Summer by the River series in The Scoop at London Bridge.

Running time: 5 minutes

Twitter: @dRMMArchitects
Facebook: @dRMMArchitects
Instagram: @drmmarchitects

#ÉmigréArchitect #SummerbytheRiver #LondonBridge

The Scoop
Queen’s Walk, London

The London Festival of Architecture runs from the 1st – 30th June 2018.
For more information visit the London Festival of Architecture website.


Alex de Rijke Speaks on Maggie’s at the Berlin Healthcare Symposium - 04-04-2018


“One of the unanswered questions cancer sufferers ask is, ‘What caused it?’ The increasing evidence of cancer in developed countries points toward carcinogenic elements in our food, drink and air, and material components of our built environment.”

dRMM cofounder professor Alex de Rijke, presented Maggie’s Oldham at ‘Healing Architecture’ the seventh edition of the Berlin symposium for healthcare of the future.

Alex was joined on stage by professor doctor Burkhard Göke of the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, and professor Momoyo Kaijima of Atelier Bow-Wow.

When asked, why wood? Alex responded “In wood there is hope, humanity, scale, warmth, and nature’s clever plan to absorb carbon. Wood is a non-toxic, versatile, benign, anti-carcinogenic material. People like wood, but steel and concrete are the industry default.

Having pioneered engineered timber construction since 2000, I was delighted to be able to invent and develop cross-laminated hardwood through dRMM’s collaboration with AHEC and ARUP for Endless Stair in 2013. A key new material which outperformed existing cross-laminated timber was the result.

For Maggie’s Oldham, dRMM re-present this new material in an integrated design for a public building, carrying a message for cancer care and for environmentally sophisticated architecture. In a didactic display of engineered timber and glass construction, all of the walls and roof are visibly structured and form an exquisite natural finish internally.

Externally the building is draped in corrugated, heat-treated wood, like a surreal theatrical curtain. Inside and out, whether structure, furniture or thermally-modified cladding, the timber used is American tulipwood; a prolific fast-growing deciduous Magnolia tree made noble here by skilful manipulation. Maggie’s Oldham is the first cross-laminated hardwood building in the world.”

For more on Maggie’s Oldham see this link:

Photography thanks to Technische Universität Berlin


Timber Architecture Expert Jonas Lencer to Judge Wood Awards -

Endless Stair for Timber in Construction AwardsdRMM Director Jonas Lencer is delighted to be part of the 2018 Wood Awards jury.

Jonas designed Endless Stair with fellow director Alex de Rijke for the 2013 London Design Festival. Made from hardwood cross-laminated timber, a material invented by dRMM in collaboration with ARUP and AHEC, it is one of dRMM’s most celebrated timber installations.

He lectures internationally on dRMM’s pioneering work in engineered timber, such as Kingsdale Sports Hall, Naked House, and Maggie’s Oldham. In 2017, he was invited to sit on a London Borough’s Quality Review Panel and became an assessor for RIBA Part III at the University of Brighton, in 2016 he judged the Malaysian Wood Awards.

As an architect, his speciality is combining the design concept with innovative construction techniques, and he has a particular focus on prefabrication and engineered timber. He manages the strategic development of dRMM and oversees the design, construction and delivery of a mixed-use portfolio of projects. These include Faraday House, the bold and imaginative residential building within the Battersea Power Station development.

The awards are open for entries until 25 May 2018:

Photograph: clockwise from top, Alex de Rijke and Jonas Lencer during the factory visit of the Endless Stair project, by Jonas Lencer.