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Rab Bennetts co-founded Bennetts Associates Architects in 1987, with his partner Denise Bennetts, and provides overall design direction to the firm. He takes a personal, hands-on approach to projects and is keen to create a collaborative spirit throughout the practice’s activities. Rab is also involved in research projects, professional committees and construction education outside the firm and is a Board member of the UK Green Building Council, a Trustee of the Design Council and a Director at Sadler’s Wells Theatre. He was awarded the OBE for services to architecture in 2003.
Denise co-founded Bennetts Associates Architects in 1987 and plays a strategic role in the overall design direction of the practice. Key projects she has been involved with include a major City office development, a new headquarters for a software company, a school for children with severe learning difficulties and a current commission for Dogs Trust. Denise takes lead responsibility for the practice’s financial and legal affairs. She is a respected architectural critic and is an assessor for several awards schemes. She also serves as an external examiner at architecture schools across the UK.
Both of our offices, in London and Edinburgh, are lively places to work with a spirit of creativity, good humour and trust. Staff turnover is relatively low and younger architects are empowered to take as big a role in the design process as they can. Open plan studios underpin a culture of openness and an absence of overt hierarchy. We believe that collaborative effort can achieve far more than an architect working in isolation.
Bennetts Associates Architects was formed in 1987 and we have grown to around 80 people. The resources of the practice allow us to take on projects of any size but with the key directors and senior staff remaining ‘hands on’. To date, our largest project was around £200m but we regularly take on smaller jobs of £1m or less.
Our main office is in Clerkenwell, London, located in a group of buildings we designed around an early 18th century cattle barn. In 1994 we opened a studio in Edinburgh but we work hard to ensure that the two offices function as one practice with a common culture and shared projects. Fortnightly meetings of the whole firm, where the two offices are linked by video-conferencing, are supplemented by twice-yearly ‘CPD’ days and a legendary programme of social events.
Bennetts Associates comprises around 60 architectural staff and 10 administrators. We aim for our design teams to be consistent throughout a project, without changing personnel between concept and delivery stages. We don’t employ technicians and expect our senior architects to be team-players who are well grounded in technical or cost matters as well as design. All architects and administrators are supported through training and mentoring, with career reviews twice a year. Some of our architects also get involved in external activities, such as industry working groups, occasional teaching or sustainability research.