Feilden Fowles is an award-winning, London-based architecture studio, founded in 2009 by Fergus Feilden and Edmund Fowles who recognised their complementary talents through early student collaborations while studying at the University of Cambridge. The practice now delivers a range of buildings across the UK, producing architecture that is rich in character and distinct in identity.
Our approach is both academic and hands-on; we research techniques and relevant precedents while making large scale mock-ups and testing the physical and visual properties of materials. We are ambitious in our service to clients, striving for quality and permanence in built form; translating historic or vernacular precedents and interpreting cultural references for a present day audience.
Buildings emerge from a clear concept and legible diagram, which in turn informs and drives the detailed design process. Projects are underpinned by a strategy of longevity over short-termism, through the use of robust yet adaptable structures. Our ambition is to make fine buildings with integrity that are both tectonic in their expression and above all socially and environmentally responsible.
We are passionate about education, a fact borne out of our built work portfolio and our research and teaching at London Metropolitan University, where we have run a design unit since 2014. To date we have delivered 16 education projects including four masterplans, across a range of providers covering both the state and private sectors, and primary and secondary institutions.
Within our education work we aspire to create unique and adaptable environments which aim to stimulate teaching and learning, primarily through fostering links to nature and employing passive design principles wherever possible. Recognising that much learning takes place beyond the classroom, an emphasis on threshold spaces in-between the formal didactic areas is crucial in weaving together a flexible yet robust education building.
Careful foresight and planning ahead, through early stakeholder and end user consultation, and a well-considered masterplanning exercise is pertinent to ensuring longevity and sustainability of designs, or even creatively challenging the requirement for a new building up front. Masterplans and feasibility studies not only seek to address present and future needs, but are key instruments for many schools in unlocking financial backing. In turn, at the end of the project cycle we believe that post occupancy monitoring and evaluation returns important feedback and thus furthers our clients’ and our own understanding of how to improve and continually move forward within such a dynamic and ever-changing sector.
Feilden Fowles’ commitment to sustainability is three-fold: approach, delivery and behaviour. Sustainability underpins our design approach to each project; it profoundly affects the completed buildings we deliver; and informs our own behaviour as individuals.
Environmental architecture is synonymous with good design, harnessing the natural attributes of a site and the prevailing conditions, including sun paths and sheltered areas. Where possible our approach prioritises passive environmental design, often drawing from local traditions in construction and vernacular architecture. Materials are often sourced locally or reclaimed. This is owing both to environmental purposes and the rich qualities they possess.
For us, sustainability goes hand-in-hand with a light touch approach on site, and we have been successful in gaining planning approval in highly sensitive contexts including national parks, Grade I listed settings and within the greenbelt.
Feilden Fowles designs materially rich projects, often using natural materials which take on an organic patina and weathering over time, increasing their beauty. These traditional materials are used in a contemporary way, with crisp and refined detailing, especially where materials and different conditions interface.
We believe it is important to understand relevant vernacular precedents; why their form and materials have endured over history and how they come together. The practice strives to create buildings which will last for centuries; adapted, over-clad or remodelled for future needs.
We pride ourselves in our rooted approach and direct relationship to material application and construction, with all of our team valuing the skills gained and practical experience from working on building sites. Feilden Fowles has always celebrated the traditional role of the architect as ‘Master Builder’.