Founded in 1994, Walters & Cohen Architects are celebrating twenty years in practice this year. The London-based firm works all over the UK and has built up a strong portfolio of independent school clients, including St Paul’s School, Ryde School and Marlborough College.
The high quality of architecture has led to awards from local authorities, the Civic Trust and the Royal Institute of British Architects among others: projects at Bedales School and Ryde School are previous award winners, with the new arts centre at the Lady Eleanor Holles School – which includes a theatre, recital room, recording studio and teaching accommodation – currently on the RIBA London shortlist.
The architects put their success down to a number of factors: each project is led by a director, so standards are consistently high; they continually research the sector and take inspiration from the best independent schools all over the world; and they involve all interested parties in the development of designs so that staff and pupils can see how their input is shaping the scheme.
As well as stand-alone buildings, the practice has also completed complicated remodelling, refurbishment and extension projects, and has worked with a number of independent schools on sensitive and historic sites. Its key design principles include sustainability, flexibility, accessibility, value for money and safety.
The company wins a lot of its work through competitions as well as repeat business and recommendations. Work on the drawing board includes a teaching building for St Paul’s School, a sports building at Godolphin & Latymer and an arts building for the American School in London. Work recently started on site for a new junior school building at St Swithun’s in Winchester. Further afield, designs have been completed for schools in Spain and Russia, and a science and mathematics academy in Ghana is at the concept design stage.
Clients and other collaborators were invited to a party and exhibition in May to celebrate this landmark birthday.