Design Philosophy

From Nature

‘[…] when you build a thing you cannot merely build that thing in isolation, but must also repair the world around it and within it, so that the larger world at that one place becomes more coherent, and more whole; and the thing which you make takes its place in the web of nature as you make it.’

Christopher Alexander
A Pattern Language, 1971

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Makower Architects




Our approach to design is that of contemporary contextualism. Design should ‘grow out of’ its context - in time, place and culture - in order to fit in.

Working with Existing

We work with what exists – whether it is an empty site, or an existing building – and we ask ‘what does it want to become ?’ At all scales we seek to find a natural response.


Buildings speak; they carry narrative; they can be read. The language of buildings is both personal and collective but in all cases, we are seeking to make buildings, and urban spaces, legible.


For us design grows out of dialogue; dialogue between people and places, between buildings and spaces, and between clients, end-users and the team. The creative spark is found in the space between.

Simplicity and Ornament

We pursue timeless simplicity in combination with moments of richness. Ornament, often involving pattern, is used in counterpoint to an overriding sense of solidity. We explore the intrinsic nature of materials and seek to make the most of their textures and combinations, all within an architecture which is built to last.

To Draw and Explore

Our design process is one of exploration. For each project we seek to look, to listen and to learn from our surroundings. Intensive research is combined with an investigatory process of drawing and modelling by which our design response grows from a seed into a thriving plant.






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Blog: Thinking Quietly