Established in 1973 Rick Mather Architects has built a reputation for delivering high quality, innovative, award-winning projects encompassing architecture, masterplanning and urban design. Completed work spans both new build and renovation with a special interest in the cultural and education sectors. This is combined with a recognised and innovative expertise in the intelligent re-interpretation of existing, often listed structures and in sustainable low energy building.
Current projects include the £100million redevelopment of Centre Point, three new floors of art galleries at the Ashmolean Museum, an extension to the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith; a new library extension at the Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn providing new facilities including barrister training and new library accommodation within the unique setting of historic squares and gardens, currently on-site; a new build library and archive extension for Queen's College, currently on-site; a new Human Rights building at Love Lane proving new accommodation for Mansfield College and a new quad for Keble College in Oxford, currently onsite; new boys boarding houses within the grounds at Stowe School in Buckinghamshire; new offices for gallery staff at Dulwich Picture Gallery; a redevelopment of Guy's and St Thomas Prideaux and Block 9 buildings to provide new education and conference facilities to meet current and future needs of King's College London; and an extensive masterplan for North Harlow.
We have recently been appointed by: Hay Castle to restore the Castle, add new exhibition spaces, a destination cafe and training and educational facilities, creating a new cultural destination building on the reputation of the Hay-on-Wye Literature Festival; Lancaster University to rejuvenate the Bailrigg campus and Transport for London to undertake feasibility studies for sites around the Bakerloo Line Extension.
Recently completed projects include Chester Balmore an innovative residential led mixed use scheme in Highgate on target to be the largest Passivhaus project in the UK, East Range extension which removes the existing cramped Victorian kitchens and creates a new cafe, bar and terrace for students at Mansfield college; a masterplan for the East Ham Civic Campus and a new Library and Service Centre for the London Borough of Newham; Ashmolean Randolph Gallery refurbishment and new welcome space; Hicks Bolton residential scheme for London Borough of Brent, and a Skills Centre in Barking.
Award winning projects include the Ashmolean Egypt Galleries, an $160 million extension of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond VA, the £61 million expansion and renovation of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, a £24 million new Art and Design Academy for Liverpool John Moores University, the Towner Art Gallery in Eastbourne, the first phase of the Southbank Centre masterplan, London, two new boarding houses for Stowe School and a new music auditorium for Corpus Christi College, the Dulwich Picture Gallery, the Wallace Collection, the National Maritime Museum in London, the ARCO and Sloane Robinson Buildings at Keble College, Oxford, the Constable Terrace at the University of East Anglia, The Times Newspaper headquarters in London's Docklands, private residences in Hampstead and the Zen restaurants in London, Montreal and Hong Kong.
RIBA Chartered Practice
Registration number 498483
Quality Assured under ISO 9001:2008, ISO 14001:2004 and OHSAS 18001 Certification
The practice attracts a highly motivated team of architects and urban designers who work in a studio environment which means they share and develop ideas to ensure that each project achieves the full potential of the client's brief and the site. We use sketches, physical models and computer modelling to quickly test and develop ideas. Clear expression is critical for good collaboration, and developing an efficient and buildable design that inspires the client, stakeholders and the public.
We have established strong collaborative relationships with experts throughout the industry, allowing us to develop innovative structural and environmental strategies that can deliver the best possible solutions. The pioneering all-glass extension and glass staircases originally developed from residential projects in the 1990s have now grown to the innovations in structural glazing visible within the Virginia Museum. Recently the Towner Gallery and LJMU Art & Design Academy have exploited new advances in concrete spans and grades.
We are successfully completed the first phase to the ongoing Southbank Centre masterplan to widespread acclaim, incorporating the largest ever recorded public consultation exercise. Our work in a number of Oxford University Colleges, Dulwich, Greenwich and Stowe have demonstrated our expertise at developing and delivering buildings in the most sensitive sites.
We regularly work with experts in the public forum and consistently seek to shape our design process to dovetail with public and stakeholder participation, using ideas as the primary method for engagement and development.
The practice is committed to social-responsibility and is an Equal Opportunities employer.
We operate Quality Assurance and Environmental Management policies in accordance with our ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 accreditation.
"Mather always ends up with 'deceptive simplicity' rather than evident complexity"
Our buildings and masterplans are characterised by an apparent simplicity that disguises the complexities of a challenging brief, historic fabric, or urban constraints. We relish the challenge of these projects and the process of distilling a solution that exceeds clients' expectations and provides an efficient and legible solution.
We have won numerous awards for our buildings and designs and we believe our ability to distil the essence of a project from complex parameters is the key to a Rick Mather Architects building.
"Rick Mather and his team have a talent for reduction; like creating a fine bouillon from a large pan of stock - all of the superfluous fluids are boiled off... and the trick is not to allow it to be reduced too much."
Patrick Bellew Atelier Ten
We understand the value of space and consider every square metre to be precious. Each project is carefully tested to ensure that a design is both generous and economic in the correct places. A solution is tailored to a detailed understanding of requirements but with sufficient flexibility to address future needs and changes
"Mather's is one of the first names on anyone's list when it comes to stitching bits of damaged urban fabric together... Giving something to the street is practically the motto"
Hugh Pearman, Sunday Times
We bring a holistic approach to the placing and integration of a scheme. Our experience in urban design demands that each building is not just a series of elevations but establishes strong and meaningful external spaces that can reconcile a disparate context.
Projects do not just extend and define the public realm but provide a vision for future development, recognising that each building is often one piece in a long-term vision for a site. Understanding and defining this vision is a key aspect of our work, working with both the historic and future uses of a site.
It is finally becoming acknowledged that construction and planning must play a key role in the reduction of our collective carbon footprint, minimising the environmental impact and establishing more sustainable methods of living. We are passionate that this must be achieved through a holistic and pragmatic approach by the whole design team.
Since 1982 Rick Mather Architects have been building sustainable projects, pioneering a number of technologies in the UK in advance of the developments in legislation. We are strongly committed to a universal approach to the environmental performance of a building, recognising the value of an integrated and responsible approach that considers the massing, orientation and environmental strategies of the building from the outset. Besides this, we simply strive that every building remains useful and correctly sited for as long as possible.
All projects should embrace low-energy design regardless of type, from high density residential developments to the refurbishment and extension of listed public museums. Our work at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford has again demonstrated it is possible to provide a low-energy sustainable solution for the display of exhibits, providing a series of galleries that double the display space within the existing footprint.
Our work in Central Milton Keynes in the past ten years started with an original masterplan for the sustainable urban quarter and developed into a detailed high-density development for phase I, incorporating standards for airtightness and low-energy use on an unprecedented scale for the UK.
We hold ISO14001 certification for our Environmental Management Systems.
Rick Mather Architects is a member of the UK Green Building Council.
University of East Anglia - Superinsulation and Low Emissivity Windows
Catering for 800 students, the new low energy accommodation and communal facilities were constructed on two sites, consisting of three storey houses for students, and a top floor of two-person flats. Energy conservation was a priority from the start and a deep plan was adopted to minimise the area of external walls and roof. A computer model was used to determine the optimum level of insulation in the building. Low E double glazing and draught proofing minimises heat loss through windows. Careful control in construction eliminates almost all infiltration through the fabric of the buildings. Stale air is mechanically extracted from kitchens and shower rooms and fresh air introduced into bedrooms and living rooms. The used air is passed through a heat exchanger that captures latent heat and transfers it to the incoming fresh air. No air is recirculated and low fan speeds and a displacement ventilation system mean it is virtually silent and draught free. These features combine to reduce the heating load on the building to the point that the need for central heating is eliminated.
Times Newspaper Headquarters - Breeam rating
An established landmark close to Tower Bridge, this prestigious office building attained the highest BREEAM rating for any building in London upon completion. Careful low energy design together with the incorporation of a central landscaped court enabled the development on this deep site to be naturally lit and ventilated. There is little need for artificial lighting inside the bright offices and the underfloor air conditioning system allows specific areas to be warmed or cooled even with the windows open.
Site wide renewable energy - sustainable residential quarter
Rick Mather Architects undertook a site wide renewable energy study of a 40 hectare area in Central Milton Keynes that is to be the new residential quarter in the heart of the city. This has involved exploring rainwater harvesting and combined heat and power solutions. Currently EU development grants have been secured, along with the formation of an Energy Supply Company to provide electricity and hot water provision to the early phases.
Pioneering heat recovery system
Rick Mather Architects' interest in sustainability goes back 30 years to an award winning house in Edmonton Alberta Canada to an external design temperature of -40°C developed in conjunction with the University of Saskatchewan. A highly insulated envelope with a heat recovery system mitigates the need for central heating and achieves a stable internal environment with a minimum recorded temperature of +13°C. This has informed the energy strategies for the universities of East Anglia and Oxford.
The Sloane Robinson building at Keble College was the first building in the UK to incorporate a geothermal system which, via a basement heat exchanger, links the glycol-filled plastic pipes buried in the piles with similar pipes cast into the concrete slabs. Utilising the entire surface area of the 20 metre deep piles, the pipes work to extract ground heat in winter for distribution through concrete slabs via the heat exchanger. In summer, the effect is reversed to allow cooling. This means that the building's concrete soffits act as radiators for warming in winter, while in summer they become chilled ceilings. And there is another major advantage: the electricity requirement of the system is around a third less than that used by conventional air-based systems.