Design thinking collaboratively always creates a better result, and our office layout emphasises that. There is no hierarchy in the plan – senior staff occupy the same studio space as junior staff. Design ideas are freely expressed and challenged. Different sized meeting and discussion zones are important – a creative working environment means a creative thinking environment.

We encourage freehand drawing. There will always be aspects of a project that are better handled on a computer screen. Some tasks, technical coordination for instance, are less flexible or much slower without electronic tools. But site context, initial analysis and first thoughts can be quickly translated by hand and the sketches more easily understood by a group. It is a skill we are good at and don’t want to lose.

Models are critical to thinking about design. Staff make simple card models in the office or professional modelmakers build more intricate versions. They help us, and our clients, understand a project through its various stages. We also use computer generated models and ‘fly-throughs’, but physical models will always play a part.