28 June 2018
28 June 2018
AHMM, London: Iterative, Inquisitive, Ambitious
The Culture of Practice
The 2015 Stirling Prize-winning Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM) is a tough practice to get in to. But once its staff have got through the gruelling three interviews, and made it into either of the practice’s two design studios run by Directors Paul Monaghan and Simon Allford, they’ll find themselves in an office with what Allford describes as a ‘collegiate atmosphere.’
“Although our interview process is tough and time consuming, it means that when people do get here they really want to be here and want to perform,” comments Allford. “People like talented people and they like working with talented people. No one is looking to hide the talent of anyone. There is a culture of self-belief.”
The two studios have a clear hierarchical structure and are not based on any kind of typology. Here, the practice’s 300 staff could be working on anything from universities and hospitals to offices and schools. Once staff have completed a project they are encouraged to move on to a different typology. “We don’t have specialist expertise – our expertise is in solving complex problems,” says Allford.
The two studios mirror each other with the process and technical methods standardised across the practice. The difference is in the way the design may be approached which varies depending on the team. “There is no competition between the studios to win jobs ahead of each other,” says Allford. “But there is competition in terms of wanting to create good buildings.”
“Paul and mine’s job is to engage with design day-in and day-out and we are evident in all the projects,” he adds. Every project is given a formal design review at each stage and each month staff come together in the office’s canteen to hear about the work of the rest of the firm. “Staff aren’t forced to come but it gives a bigger idea of what is going on in the office,” concludes Allford.
Author: Molly McCloy, Marketing Coordinator, Bespoke Careers