ARCHITECTS • LFA DIGITAL 2020
The portrait was taken at Hastings Contemporary, or the Jerwood Gallery as it was known when it first opened, which was our first major project completed as HAT Projects. We were both scared and excited by the challenge of creating such a public building as a young practice, but it went well and we remain very proud of the project.
We have since completed a very wide range of other buildings, from private homes to workspaces and other arts spaces. We took another step into the unknown in 2018, when we bought and redeveloped a town centre building in our adopted hometown, Colchester, into a new base for creative practitioners - combining studios, a makerspace and a wonderful independent café. Trinity Works, as the building is now known, is - like all town centre spaces - currently quiet and awaiting the return of all the fantastic people who usually call it home.
As a practice, we continue to explore other new territories, and are working more and more in our immediate locality of north Essex and south Suffolk. These projects range from developing strategic plans, design policy and masterplanning through to rural housing developments and workspaces. It feels right to be using our knowledge of the area’s communities and landscape to participate in its regeneration and gradual processes of change. Our view is that rural areas are woefully underserved by creative and rigorous thinking, across policy and practice. It’s something that we try to shift in many ways.
Personally I have also shifted my focus over the last two years, through taking a part-time position with the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service where I lead on community engagement and communications with the policy, strategy and economy team. This allows me to create wide-ranging campaigns to involve our communities in developing the new Local Plan and other strategic plans which will have a major impact on fast-growing Cambridge and its hinterland. I am passionate about raising public understanding and participation in planning and design, and ensuring that community voices are heard more loudly, balancing out the established interests of landowners and developers.