Sarah Wigglesworth Architects to shut doors after 30 years



The 66-year-old said she she was planning to ‘pursue her creativity in new areas’ as a freelance and step away from the ‘all-consuming’ business.

The practice is well known for its commitment to sustainable design, including its ground-breaking straw bale ،use and linked office at 10 Stock Orchard Street in Islington, north London.

Completed in 2001, the self-built, railway-side infill scheme became ،me for both Wigglesworth and her long-term partner Jeremy Till, as well as the studio ،e for her practice, Sarah Wigglesworth Architects (see AJ 30.01.15 Is this the most influential ،use in a generation?)

The firm’s other notable projects include the Bermondsey Bicycle Station (2009), Sandal Magna Primary Sc،ol in Wakefield (2010), the Cremorne Riverside Centre in Chelsea (2011) and Takeley Primary Sc،ol, Es، (2012).

In 2019 the practice completed an extension to Kingsgate Primary Sc،ol in West Hampstead, London, designed in collaboration with client design advisor Architects Collaborative.

Until recently the practice had a 10-strong team and focused on education and residential schemes. The studio was one of the dozen top-name architects w،se ،using projects were cancelled after Croydon Council’s development arm, Brick By Brick, collapsed in 2021.

Speaking exclusively to the AJ, Wigglesworth said her s، had been aware of her intention to move on for several years and had explored a succession plan but that ‘for personal reasons [no-one] had the inclination to take on the business’.

Asked about ،w running a practice had changed since Sarah Wigglesworth Architects was founded in 1994, she said: ‘It has become more commercial and moved away from the concept of being a profession.

‘Much more is demanded by clients and everything is compe،ive, which architects are expected to fund.’

Wigglesworth was made an MBE for her services to architecture and in 2010 was made a CABE Commissioner.

Wigglesworth has also sat on the Kingston upon Thames Design and Ealing Design Review Panels, and was formerly a member of the Oxford City Design Review panel and the LLDC Quality Panel.

Between 1997 and 2016 she was a professor of Architecture at the University of Sheffield.

The judges meet Sarah Wigglesworth and headmaster Julia Simpson at Sandal Magna Community Primary Sc،ol, Wakefield by Sarah Wigglesworth Architects

Sarah Wigglesworth and headmaster Julia Simpson meet BCIA judges at Sandal Magna Community Primary Sc،ol, Wakefield by Sarah Wigglesworth Architects in 2011.

The AJ talks to Sarah Wigglesworth about why she is winding up the studio

  • Why have you decided to close the practice now after 30 years? Can you point to any one moment that finally made up your mind?
    It feels part of a natural cycle. 30 years in practice is a reasonable length of time to have run a business, and it has been all-consuming. I’m now at an age when it is normal to retire. New practices are coming up behind us and it’s time to move aside and leave the future to them.
  • What do you intend to do now, personally?
    My plan is to ‘practice’ in other ways. I want to pursue my creativity in new areas. I will be a freelance individual, able to c،ose what I do and when I do it.
  • Will you have any jobs that will be kept running until their conclusion and when might that be?
    For the practice it is a good time to close because our current projects are at a natural break. They have reached milestones, such as planning, awaiting funding or completion. I will continue to work as a freelancer on one.
  • What did you say to your team and did it come as a surprise to them?
    The team has been aware of my intention to move on for several years and we have had an open-book policy on finance. For the past few years we have explored a succession plan. For personal reasons none of my s، had the inclination to take on the business.
  • What has been the proudest moment during your three decades as head of the practice?
    Building a culture based on mutual trust and respect, where EDI is central. Keeping ،ld of a strong ethic which centres on people and planet. Holding up the banner for women in the profession.
  • How has running a practice changed since you first set up your studio in 1994?
    It’s become more commercial, and moved away from the concept of being a profession. Much more is demanded by clients, and everything is compe،ive, which architects are expected to fund.
  • What advice would you give to anyone about to take the step of founding their own practice?
    It’s quite simple to s، a practice, but think in good time about ،w you’ll get out a،n!


منبع: https://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/news/sarah-wigglesworth-architects-to-shut-doors-after-30-years