Finding the right architect is the foundation of any successful building work. Here, we’ve picked the top 25 firms that can help you achieve the best results, whatever the size, budget or style – from rural barn conversions to contemporary townhouse extensions.
Modernist home renovations are the speciality of Sandra Coppin and Bev Dockray’s studio. They have already breathed new life into structures by the likes of Jørn Utzon and Alison and Peter Smithson, and upgraded apartments in the Berthold Lubetkin-designed Highpoint.
They say ‘Twentieth-century buildings are too often torn down as their environmental performance is poor and they are tricky to refurbish. We believe these properties can be brought back into use and enjoyed.’ coppindockray.co.uk
The Japanese upbringing of architect Taro Tsuruta has heavily influenced his style of building. Projects include a conservatory with a complex diagrid roof (below) and a staircase made from 2,000 interlocking components.
They say ‘We have a hands-on approach, inspired by architects like [Filippo] Brunelleschi, who even designed the scaffoldings for his projects.’ tsurutaarchitects.com
Gurmeet Sian collaborates closely with his clients to bring a spirit of individuality to his residential projects. On this Buckingham Road Victorian terrace, he has used rich colour and natural materials to bring the building back to its former glory.
They say ‘Our approach is based on understanding the concerns of the client, why they wish for change, as opposed to what they want to change. We also feel we can make the journey of designing one’s home fun!’ officesian.com
Jody O’Sullivan and Amalia Skoufoglou are masters when it comes to inserting highly crafted architectural joinery into London’s terraced houses. Projects like Dewsbury Road (pictured) and Grove Park show off the breadth of their talents.
They say ‘We strive to make buildings with integrity, which respond to the place they are sited and are tectonic in their expression.’ osullivanskoufoglou.com
Nimi Attanayake and Tim O’Callaghan founded their practice with the aim of creating structures that everyone can enjoy. Combining bright colours and honest materials, projects like Cork House (pictured) and Slot House come with bags of character.
They say ‘We bring a sense of playfulness and adventure to everything we do – to the buildings we create but also to how we inspire clients and communities, and how we collaborate with consultants and makers.’ nimtim.co.uk
Architects Jackie Gillespie and Phil Yunnie pride themselves on their diverse portfolio. Whether working on eye-catching new-builds such as Jackmans House (pictured), withits glazed ‘cactus house’, or renovating historic properties like Balfour Manor, their studio has a knack for mixing old and new styles.
They say ‘We like to approach every project with an open mind. We try to avoid a house style and enjoy the freedom to try new ideas and technologies where appropriate.’ gyarchitects.co.uk
Originally from Sweden, Magnus Ström brings a Scandinavian sensibility to his work. His practice designs contemporary properties that combine boldness with simplicity, from the cantilevered form of The Quest (pictured), to house-on-stilts Island Rest and the brutalist-inspired Kattegat House in Sweden.
They say ‘In today’s world of 24/7 noise from social media, advertising, emails, mobiles and traffic, we want to offer reprieve. We do so with architecture that is simple and intuitive, yet strong and elegant.’ stromarchitects.com
Formerly a director of avant-garde studio FAT, Charles Holland teamed up with artist Grayson Perry on the weird and wonderful House for Essex in 2015 (pictured). The designs coming out of his solo studio are in the same spirit, with a big injection of personality.
They say ‘We react to the tastes and enthusiasms of our clients, drawing inspiration from their individuality. We consistently look to create spaces that offer enjoyment and visual richness.’ charleshollandarchitects.co.uk
Charles Meloy cut his teeth working for the Richard Rogers Partnership, before founding his eponymous studio. Having built his own certified Passivhaus on the South Downs (pictured), the architect proves it’s possible to create sustainable homes without compromising on design quality.
They say ‘It is our belief that if we expend time and money in building, that we should do so with vigour and intent. Truly sustainable architecture should be undertaken to maximise both the life of the building and the wellbeing of those who inhabit it.’ meloy.co.uk
It’s telling that Derek Rankin and Rob Pollard named their studio after the fishing boat code for the area where they’re based. The duo have become experts in designing for coastal settings, with highlights including a Camber Sands beach house and a larch-clad home overlooking Rye Harbour Nature Reserve.
They say ‘Whether it’s the patina created on metal surfaces or the natural silvering process of timber, our aim is to create architecture that complements its environment and is enhanced by the weathering process.’ rxarchitects.com
A converted 125-year-old windmill (pictured) and a remodelled cowshed are among the creative renovation projects produced by Craig Beech and Ruth Paternoster’s studio. These architects like to experiment with innovative construction techniques to make their buildings both contextual and sustainable.
They say ‘We create solutions that meet our clients’ needs and aspirations, but also incorporate sustainability, green materials and architectural surprises.’ beecharchitects.com
With architects Meredith Bowles and Ian Bramwell at the helm, this practice is adept at creating properties with striking silhouettes and intelligent use of materials. It has even collaborated with superstar architects Atelier Peter Zumthor and MVRDV for the Living Architecture holiday homes.
They say ‘We design houses that are contemporary, with an interest in materials and vernacular architecture, often finding dramatic solutions.’ molearchitects.co.uk
This studio has amassed an impressive portfolio in the 18 years since Anthony Hudson founded it. From a fort-like villa with a helical staircase (pictured) on the Jersey coastline to a zinc-clad home on the Suffolk saltmarsh, its projects share a sense of drama.
They say ‘We respond to context with a flexible, thoughtful and imaginative approach, to create wonderful places and spaces for people to inhabit.’ hudsonarchitects.co.uk
Architect Anna Parker knows how to bring imagination to projects, no matter how small. She has a particular interest in CNC fabrication (computer-programmed cutting machinery), which she demonstrated on a reconfigurable apartment for a dancer, while other projects include a clever conversion of a Victorian coach house (pictured).
They say ‘We have evolved with the challenge of getting the most from typically low-budget projects. This is achieved by carefully detailing and considering an economy of materials to maximisetheir effects in spaces.’ interventionarchitecture.com
With an eclectic portfolio that includes everything from barn conversions to unconventional pink concrete extensions, Tom Gresford’s studio has proven its ability to think outside the box. It takes an innovative approach to sustainability and recent Passivhaus projects include Chieveley and The Deerings, the latter a collaboration with Nicolas Tye Architects.
They say ‘Conscious that architects’ approach to the built environment has a fundamental impact on our cultural heritage, we endeavour to achieve the perfect marriage of the poetic and the practical.’ gresfordarchitects.co.uk
Having started his career as an apprentice to a master builder, Ian Hazard brings a practical, hands-on approach to his architecture. He has plenty of experience working with listed structures, with current projects including a sandstone-gabled cottage and a converted windmill (pictured).
They say ‘Clients know the way that they live, work and play better than we do. We simply help them to understand how they use their space, and to design buildings that frame their lives, and their relationship to the landscape.’ ianhazard.com
With much of its work in the countryside, this studio puts a contemporary spin on rural vernacular. Projects such as the stunning North Bank residence (pictured), which is set in a conservation area, show how founders Ben and Lynsey Elliott create homes that are beautiful without being flashy.
They say ‘Our speciality is creating meaningful architecture. We love old buildings but feel that our work should not try to replicate the old, rather bring a new contemporary layer that sits sensitively alongside it.’ elliottarchitects.co.uk
Since setting up his studio in 2005, Neil Dawson has demonstrated his all-round expertise on a wide spectrum of projects, ranging from the conversion of a 16th-century barn (pictured) to a new-build with an impressive rooftop balcony.
They say ‘Whether a superhome or simple barn conversion, the same attention to detail is expended on all projects. Rather than a predetermined house style, each is approached with a fresh slate.’ snookarchitects.com
Annabelle Tugby combines rustic charm with modern style in her architecture and interiors projects, as shown by the renovated rural cottage and workshop where she lives and works. She relishes the challenges of conservation areas and listed buildings, and her team like to build models to help them flesh out ideas.
They say ‘Our projects are contemporary in nature but there is no set style. Our work celebrates beautiful materials, textural contrasts and finely crafted minimalist detailing.’ annabelletugbyarchitects.co.uk
Jonathan Hendry’s buildings demonstrate a real understanding of the importance of scale and proportions. With Beach Hut (pictured), he transformed a public toilet into a cosy chalet, while Creek Cottage sees a very simple house elevated through materials and glazing.
They say ‘When thinking about making architecture, the question of feeling is also in our minds. By this we mean things like, how does a room make us feel when we enter it?’ jonathanhendryarchitects.com
Working across architecture and interiors, Darren Hancock and Adam Eckworth bring a joy of making to their work. Their projects are as much about furniture as they are about structure, with highlights including the simple but elegant Lawnside loft extension (pictured).
They say ‘Our designs are the result of rigorous testing of space, light, material and detail. This is done through sketches, physical model-making, visualisations and the collation of appropriate material samples.’ fromworks.co.uk
‘We build emotion’ is the slogan of this office, which is led by husband-and-wife duo Kristian and Kay Hyde. If that isn’t clear from the moody visuals they create for their designs, it certainly is from the innovative structures they build, which boast strong lines, sharp angles and dramatic cantilevers.
They say ‘As a boutique architecture practice, we limit the amount of work we take on to make the best buildings we can, not the most.’ hydearchitects.com
Minimalism meets tradition in the work of architects Kieran McGonigle and Aidan McGrath. Projects like RIBA House of the Year 2019 winner House Lessans (pictured) may look simple but, in fact, they are as multilayered and robust as the landscapes in which they are set.
They say ‘A key interest is the relationship of architecture to the ground. We use photography, drawing and models, and our work is developed from having an understanding of the found condition of the site.’ mcgoniglemcgrath.com
This studio, led by architect Neil Taylor, knows how to bring clarity to residential projects. The focus is often on a single material – whether its black Siberian larch or rugged stone – and to celebrate it.
They say ‘There are always challenges to overcome; our skill is in finding solutions that are imaginative and elegant, creating distinctive, often sculptural buildings.’ taparchitects.co.uk
Based in the Scottish Highlands, Mary Arnold- Forster has a unique understanding of how to build in remote landscapes. With Nedd (pictured), she explored the potential of off-site construction, while The Black Shed reinterprets Scotland’s traditional blackhouses.
They say ‘Our approach is to be rigorously site and brief specific. We study the site in a forensic way and also read between the lines of the brief, to not only work out what our clients want, but also what they never knew they wanted.’ maryarnold-forster.co.uk