Fearless enthusiasm, imaginative solutions
RISING STARS 2016 COHORT
Founder and director, ScottWhitbyStudio
Part 2 completed 2011
Alex Scott-Whitby is committed to encouraging, producing and sharing good design. In founding architecture and creative consultancy ScottWhitbyStudio, he has built a small, diverse team of talented young designers who work under his leadership on a broad range of projects around the world.
Since its formation in 2011, his practice has become well known for its successful personal approach to projects that begin and end with the needs of the client. Scott-Whitby’s background in the worlds of fine art, architecture, media and advertising adds a creative dynamism to the work of the studio, while his passion for education extends to going on a journey of mutual learning with every client and every project.
For a young practice SWS has an astonishingly broad range of projects, ranging from a new palace in the Middle East to a homeless shelter in London; from a 20-storey residential tower in Victoria to the conversion of a shipping container to a dockside cinema; from a project taking 30 years to realise to an installation lasting a couple of hours. Each project is approached with the same fearless enthusiasm, creating an imaginative solution that responds to the client’s brief in an unorthodox yet sensible manner.
A current project in Winchester is an analysis of part of the city centre with the aim of bringing new life and energy to it. Scott-Whitby’s intellectual and collaborative approach has been greatly appreciated by the people of Winchester who have been consulted and listened to in creating a response.
Part of this response is the re-marking of historic sites by simply cleaning decades of dirt from paving to provide an outline of the structures that once stood there. This is a subtle, cheap yet effective solution demonstrating original thinking.
Scott-Whitby is senior lecturer and admissions tutor at the University of East London, where he has taught since 2012, and sat on RIBA Council for 10 years.
What would you most like to improve about the industry?
The industry’s people skills and our ability to listen and learn from the people we meet. We need to be seen as creative listeners and not as masterplanners. Too often we have paid lip service to this vital task. We have continued to work in our silos, reinventing the wheel, and letting our egos rip.
Who would you most like to work with?
We are really lucky to be working with some incredible clients, but we would really like to work with an organisation similar in thinking to one of the great London estates, one that thinks for the long term and whose appetite for pushing boundaries matches our own.