My way into architecture came through making – thinking through making in particular, and the outcomes derived from it have always intrigued me. I get immense satisfaction from the creative process of assembling individual parts into a whole; the combination of visual and tactile sensory qualities that making offers really appeals to me as an approach to solving problems. This idea that with thoughtful planning and dedicated effort you can make something both at once functional and beautiful.

Our recently completed Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts building in Peckham South London offered me an amazing opportunity to utilise my fascination with bringing materials together in a crafted and considered way. Just going through the motions of resolving the countless junctions required for a large-scale building in a technical way is one thing, more fulfilling, though at times challenging, is retaining the overarching conceptual principles through to the detail. At Mountview this idea was promoted through assembling a stripped back selection of robust materials – brickwork, cor-ten steel, exposed concrete and plywood – often simply brought together without complicated interfaces to enhance the elemental qualities of the design, and tactile ‘self-finished’ characteristics of the materials without the fuss of applied treatments – this tactic had a duel role of also benefiting the demands of budgetary constraints.

The overwhelming sense of joy and appreciation of the built outcome from the students and staff at Mountview has been fantastic to observe. One particularly special aspect of the building is the way it transforms and comes to life in the evening, activities within spaces are revealed through glass and a perforated mesh veil – setting up a backdrop to the work of the next generation of aspiring dancers and actors.