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Our 7 Points of Bold, Dynamic, Joyful Architecture
 

 

"Unagru architect’s beautiful, elegantly detailed and very skillful adaptation of a simple terrace house into a place of comfort and tranquility. Thoughtful clients and developers, hire them without a second thought!- Tony Fretton, 2021

 

We are a young architecture and urbanism practice, eager to grow by meeting and learning from clients and consultants. We like to think of architecture as a complex team research process, where the most important goal is to think creatively to identify the right problem. Although we are very proud of our technical process, we’re also proud of how we communicate our ideas. Let’s face it: architects can be socially awkward, but we try to establish a relationship of trust and friendship with our clients.

We like to propose bold ideas to create stimulating and inspiring spaces to live, work, grow, and learn. Our mixed culture, British and Italian, makes us particularly appreciate brightness and natural light, open plans; we try to avoid corridors, doors and anything that fragments spaces. Finally, we work hard to understand the effects of our work on the city and the environment in general. 

 

We believe in space’s ability to influence people’s lives, affecting layers of perception that are often neglected. We like quality and make sure things work correctly, energy stays inside, money and time are not wasted, and people are at the centre of the process. After several years, we have learnt how a well-managed design process can be an exciting, experimental and life-changing experience for both the clients and the designers. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Studio field trip to Lisson Gallery.

1. We design beautiful and healthy spaces - both private or public - with a critical relationship to their widest context, with an aim to explore and expand the context to include energy and material resources, social, urban fabric).

2. We give importance to each project with the client's aspirations and emotions in mind. We strive to achieve happiness through architecture.

3. We expand and deepen the knowledge of ecological, cultural and psychological relations in the built environment.

4. We focus on the collective impact of our choices: where do materials come from? What does our building say? How are money (=energy), water, and energy saved? How does the design fit in the city, and how does the client fit in the social context? Can the design create a social bond, a wider form of happiness?

 

5. We are a research hub. We foster learning from and teaching to as many people as possible. We look for opportunities to understand the world better with every project.

6. We approach every project from the client's perspective. We invest an inordinate amount of time getting to know our clients and their aspirations.

7. We embrace good communication with our team, consultants and clients. We are committed to providing outstanding service with a collaborative and personalised approach that will always delight our clients.

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Artist impression of House for A Cellist

Sustainability
 

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Ecological sustainability is at the core of our mission: environmental, social and mental ecology. 

Our commitment to the environment is so central to our principles and works, that even our name inspired by the hybrid of an animal and man-made machine. In short, we want to make ecological design beautiful, pragmatic, affordable and accessible. Over the years of our practice as a member of Green Register of Building Professionals, we stand and declare our goals in line with the established UN Sustainable Development Goals framework. 

As professionals and researchers of the built environment, we pledge to focus on every aspect of our works toward Goal 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities by intertwining the four deliverables:

1. Affordable and clean energy goal, through energy efficiency and alternative energy sources for buildings.

2. Responsible consumption and production with the employment of recycled and upcycled materials to embrace the ethos of a circular economy.

3. Clean water and sanitation goal, by promoting and implementing methods for sustainable use and reuse of water in our projects, via our intensive research efforts.

4. Our work embeds in local communities, for whom we care about the surrounding ecosystem and provide pro-bono services and/or assist in building projects from the ground up: from inception to completion, and from funding to maintenance. 

We also decided to commit to Climate Action promoting best practices and climate action beyond our profession and through campaigns. Read more here.

Skylight at House for A Cellist

We are happy to be part of #1Company1Goal campaign, organised by Sustainability Institute to share our thoughts on advocating UN Global Goals.

 

We have chosen Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities as our focus, which aligned with our practice's ethos and interest in architecture and urbanism.

Watch the full video here.

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Cork facade panel at Brighton Road

Davide di Martino

Director

dv@unagru.com

RIBA ARB

M.Arch. IUAV University, Venice, Italy & ETSAB, Barcelona, Spain. 

Ph.D. In Urbanism and Ecology

Thomas Barstow

Architect

thomas@unagru.com

RIBA ARB

M.Arch. Plymouth University, UK

Jamie Kelly

Architect

jamie@unagru.com

ARB

M.Arch. Manchester School of Architecture, UK

Davide graduated from architecture at University in Venice, Italy, after a year of study at ETSAB - The School of Architecture in Barcelona, Spain, and SUN - Second University of Naples.

He has a postgraduate Master's Degree in Design Within Historical Contexts and a PhD in Ecological Urban Design from the University Federico II in Naples, Italy. He has followed his projects and collaborated with larger architectural practices in Italy and Spain. He joined Ian Ritchie Architects in London in 2013, working on several residential schemes and competitions. 

He founded Unagru Architecture Urbanism in 2018. He is passionate about unconventional spaces and ecology, sustainable design and natural light. Davide is also an Unit Leader at the Cardiff University on Architecture MA AD Master in Architecture Design Research.

Thomas attended Plymouth University where his studies included masterplanning, intervention and social sustainability. In his practicing years, he worked at Stride Treglown and gained experience in a large range of sectors and contexts. He graduated with a Master of Architecture degree in 2017.

Shortly after graduating, Thomas moved to London looking for cultural influences, design opportunities, and vibrancy. Continuing to work for Stride Treglown's London office, he wroked on large schemes in Hackney and King's Cross whilst studying for his Part 3.

His desire is to connect with end users and clients, and designs based on social, material, and atmospheric context led him to Unagru.

Jamie studied at Manchester School of Architecture, gaining a First at BA and Distinction at MArch. He gained invaluable lessons in robust, timeless design from his time studying in Eramus exchange at IUAV, Venice. He got his coursework in early, preferring to visit and sketch 40 Italian and French cities instead. Social sustainability is critical to Jamie's work and he won the Hawkins\Brown award for the most socially sustainable project at his masters. 

Before joining Unagru, he worked at Stanton Williams obtaining experience of regeneration in complex urban sites. He enjoys taking a contextual approach to architecture with emphasis on natural materials, sensitive detailing, and a careful modelling of light. 

Aviv Amiel

Architectural Assistant

aviv@unagru.com

ARB

M.Arch. Architectural Association, UK

Gary Yeow

Office Manager

gary@unagru.com

ARB

M.Arch. University of Strathclyde, UK

Aviv is a qualified architect (registered in Israel) with more than 2 years of experience leading projects on various scales, from urban design, housing to public buildings. She is a recent graduate from the Housing & Urbanism MArch programme in the Architectural Association, with distinction. 

Originally from Tel Aviv, now based in South London, Aviv is eager to enhance her understanding of details and materials by practicing in Unagru that includes context and its limitations into clearer proposals.

Gary Yeow is a Masters in Architecture graduate from University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. He is also co-founder of projectxyz - a design collective engaged in wide-ranging projects from competitions to furniture and installation design, always rooted in user experience and architecture. He hosts xyzpodcast, and is exploring writing, event and curation with a keen interest on connecting architectural education and practice.

He is an enthusiastic designer, but also passionate about administration, marketing and communication. In other words, he is the perfect office manager, and much more! In his spare time, he likes to cycle to visit exhibitions.

Recognition and Awards
Open House
Featured
2022
House for A Cellist, Peckham Courtyard, Oswyth Road
The Designer Awards
Winner
2022
House for A Cellist
Build It Awards
Winner
2022
House for A Cellist
Open House Festival London
Featured
2021
The Sponge, House for A Cellist
Built It Awards
Shortlisted
2021
The Sponge
Don't Move, Improve Awards
Shortlisted
2021
The Sponge
Open House Festival London
Featured
2019
InsideOut Courtyard, The Boat and Pavilion
Open House Festival London
Featured
2018
The Boat and Pavilion
Sorso Waterfront Competition
Third Prize
2012
Grosio Sports Centre Competition
Shortlisted
2011
AAA Architetti Cercasi Milan Competition
Shortlisted
2010
Concorso Eugenio Campania Region
Special Jury Prize
2008
Publication
Interiors Korea
House for A Cellist
Archdaily
House for A Cellist
Design Milk
House for A Cellist
Build It Magazine
Peckham Courtyard
Homebuilding & Renovating
Peckham Glass Box
DesignRaid
The Boat & Pavilion
Rethinking The Future
The Boat & Pavilion
Rethinking The Future
The Colander
Not A Paper House
The Sponge
Don't Move, Improve Magazine
The Sponge
Grand Design Magazine
The Sponge
Research
AAA Architetti Cercasi competition submission
Future Magazine, published in English, Spanish, and Chinese
Academic Publications
Please visit Academia.edu profile (Davide di Martino)
Bonifica e riciclo della Piana Campana
In Press. PPC Piano Progetto Città: Zero Waste 27-28, 2013.
Pollution ecologies: from reclamation to restructuring
In Press. The Next Urban Question. Roma: Officina Edizioni.
Urban wetlands as performative, multifunctional design devices: the wetland scenario
Planning Stormwater Resilient Urban Open Spaces, Clean: Napoli. 193 - 204
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