Hawkins\Brown Studios\

New ways of working

We set ourselves the goal of redefining our studio environment, to achieve an increase in creativity and design quality, promote health and well-being, enable more efficient, agile, collaborative working, and create a studio environment that we are proud to work in and to show to our clients.

Our studio environment had become increasingly compromised versus the vision we had for the space when we moved here in 2014. Feedback from staff through reviews and informal conversations told us that overall the studio was not as effective as it should be in promoting creativity and design quality, and health and well-being.

We undertook a programme of research into 'new ways of working', combining internal analysis and a set of building visits, which informed our brief. Click here to read more about the findings of our research.

Design response

We believe our studios are a critical part of delivering high quality design and maintaining a healthy working culture, and any new solution should help our studios work more cohesively.

Our ways of working are very varied, ranging from quiet modes (writing, detailed CAD / BIM work, etc) through to much noisier activities (crits, breakouts, studio meetings, etc) - we needed to provide different facilities to support all these different ways of working and to separate these as far as possible. The adoption of a Neighbourhood model, into which we locate several studios and provide them with a range of furniture types and different 'zones', fully supports this wide range of different ways of working. Each Neighbourhood has a positive, vibrant and creative identity that comes in large part from the studios who work there, using models, samples, plants, books, drawings, etc.


desk utilisation for senior staff
as opposed to 75-80% for architects and part 2s, meaning a one-size-fits-all approach doesn't work for us.

By enabling people to move around the studio more freely and moving away from our previous rigid 1:1 seating plan, we were able to promote opportunities for collaboration and chance encounters. Having a specific PC assigned to each member of staff worked against them being able to move around the studio quickly and easily, so revising aspects of our IT approach was critical to enable more flexible, agile working.

With a wide disparity in density between the two London studios, there was a clear opportunity to re-balance the number of staff between them. By reducing the density at one studio, we were able to reduce the pressure and noise, and by increasing the density at another, we were able to make it more dynamic.

We drew upon the findings of our BCO office receptions research, to create a new reception area to improve the welcome we offer to visitors. We also created a more systematic approach to storage of samples, models etc.

Project Summary

  • Project name: Hawkins\Brown Studios
  • Location: London, UK
  • Sector: Workplace
  • Type: Fit-out
  • Client: Hawkins\Brown
  • Status: Complete
  • Completion date: 2019

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