Start with the Staircase

First step

Each stage of the architectural process is problem solving and then constantly refining and challenging those solutions. We work a lot with existing buildings, which are both constrained and compromised, often by hundreds of years of incremental decisions and changes. Our first step with any project is to zoom out and understand the whole.

Rod's insight

When we find ourselves battling with a scheme, trying to push and pull it to deliver something special through a sea of constraints, I switch lenses. By zooming out and back from diagram to detail, it is possible to see fundamental problems and the impact of each potential solution. This constant feedback loop is a powerful tool.


Many projects we see, are plagued with poor flow, which can impact heavily on actual space but more importantly the feeling of space. By interrogating our client brief and challenging ways in which the opportunities the building affords us, we are able to unlock the building by mentally taking it apart and re-assembling it into simple, elegant solution.


The greatest obstacle to flow in any project is the staircase. Seen not only as a means of circulation or as a driver of efficiency but also as a beautiful architectural form, the staircase can unlock an architectural scheme. Vertical flow through a building can open up light and volume and connect the individual pockets of life contained within any project through a series of poetic views, moments and journeys.