Toby Johnson

Toby Johnson

What makes for good collaboration among architects?

Whilst many architects may like to view themselves as the tortured and frustrated genius, forced to plough their lonely furrow by an ungrateful world, as characterised by Howard Roark, the protagonist of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, the reality is that architecture is a social art, which requires interaction and collaboration with others if it is to have relevance and probity. Dialogue and the exchange of ideas is vital part of the design process, be it with clients, other design consultants, building users, neighbours or planners.  However, some of the most rewarding collaborations can be with artists or other architects, where the creative endeavour is shared, and where there are opportunities for creative reciprocity and the interaction of different ideas and approaches.  Successful collaborations of this kind require mutual respect, an open mind and a shared enthusiasm, and whilst the process itself requires discipline to ensure ideas are clearly formulated and shared and decisions made and coordinated in an open and well-structured way, the result of such collaborations can bring a certain richness and diversity to architectural projects which is hard to achieve with a single hand.

We are working with Toby’s practice Haworth Tompkins on two major housing regeneration projects, Somerleyton Road in Brixton, and Blackwall Reach in Poplar.

Toby Johnson, Director

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