James Gorst Architects was established in 1981. Since then the practice has earned a reputation for sensitive and highly crafted work which has been evidenced in a number of national awards along with widespread publication in magazines and books at home and abroad. We aim to design contextually responsive, individual buildings that entwine aesthetic values with functional rationalism.
Over the last 20 years the practice has gained experience in working on a number of different building typologies - art galleries, nursing homes, design studios, offices, shops. However it is fair to say that the majority of work to date has fallen into two categories: the conservation and restoration of listed buildings and the design of new private houses.
Much of our understanding of architecture and construction has been gained in our work on historic and listed buildings, both in London and across the country. We have worked on buildings spanning a wide range of styles and periods including the Georgian Group’s headquarters in a grade 1 Robert Adam building to the international style modernism of Wells Coates’ 1930’s Palace Gate apartment block.
Our early work reflected the preoccupations of a practice absorbed in the intricacies of the craft and syntax of classical and vernacular idioms. That study of pre-existing codes of proportion, construction and decorative propriety has led now to a more abstract and personalised expression that connects to Twentieth Century modernism. The continuum in this development remains a preoccupation with the sensual, tactile properties of architecture - the affinity of materials, the care with which they are put together.
The aim of the practice has never been to court the commercial sector preferring to seek the opportunities of design and craftsmanship that exist in bespoke architecture. This experience, of making architecturally ambitious buildings, often within the constraints of meagre resources, has given the practice a constructional intelligence borne equally of enthusiasm and pragmatism.
Alongside the recognition that comes from architectural awards and achievement the practice has also established an equivalent reputation in the world of furniture and interior design. In this work we have regularly collaborated with artists and textile designers. It is our contention that a sensitivity towards the subtle intimacies of the interior is as important as the ability to handle the challenge of architectural form.