Constructing The Idea
Simon Allford (Allford Hall Monaghan Morris)


Simon Allford


I‘m Simon Allford, I‘m one of four partners in a practice called Allford Hall Monaghan Morris. We've grown from four students in 1983 to an oflice of 40 people now, all architects.


Idea For A City Centre


This first image is very important to us as an office. There's a method of collaboration this particular image described. Generic city was set in the context of interest we had at the time we had as students, in the physical city and the impact of that on the way we worked as architects; and the impact was both in terms of the brief that was almost dictated to us by the given place and city we were working in, and this particular image, with apologies to Mondriaan, takes his Broadway Boogie Woogie and reconstructs it as an idea about a city centre, densities, block sizes and edges. And the key notion we had of collaboration which comes out of an academic environment in which we still worked, was that drawings and ideas are exchanged between us, originally the four of us and now a wider group of people, and they are the commodity with which we deal. The office motto is 'if it's not drawn it can‘t be discussed'. That's a key method of how we work and that I think will come through a series of projects that I'll talk about in a moment. So it's this notion of collaboration among four people, and now a greater number, where your individual creativity isn't stifled, it isn't the lowest possible common denominator, you're working on your own pushing ideas forward, and yet other people are operating critically on your work and helping to inform and move you forward. We left college in '86 — a very busy and blooming time — the four of us went out into busy and blooming London and worked for a busy and blooming practice, Building Design Partnership. In '89 we decided to set up on our own. We got an office in Charlotte Street.

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