PLP Architecture is a London-based group of architects, designers and thinkers who value the transformative role of ideas and the capacity for architecture to inspire. The practice is led by a group of partners including Lee Polisano, David Leventhal, Karen Cook and Ron Bakker, who formerly were in charge of KPF’s London office for over 20 years.
Although we draw from a rich history and experience of working together on projects around the world, we have a culture of a young start-up. We value innovation and creativity as we strive to test limits. We produce intelligent, exciting and groundbreaking designs through a continual commitment to social, economic and environmental ideals. The office shuns preconceptions, fixed architectural styles or methods, allowing each project to become a unique opportunity to research, analyse and creatively respond to the brief, site and context.
The foundation of our work lies in a commitment to the quality of life in the city, a delight in the handling of material, space and light and an optimism about architecture’s potential to enrich our society.
In 2015 we completed The Edge, the world’s greenest office building, with a 98.4 BREEAM rating, the highest score ever awarded. The project’s myriad of technical and infrastructural innovations was complex, yet our aim was simple: to create a building that authentically connects people to each other and to their environment.
We accomplished this in two ways: by mobilising contemporary cultural shifts to encourage new possibilities for human interaction and by deploying architectural strategies that reject sameness and artificiality to produce powerfully novel experiences.
At PLP, these approaches permeate our ethos and inform all of our work. We believe in and we practice an engaged architecture capable of creating transformative spaces that are genuinely socially and environmentally sustainable.
Our in-house research groups support our design teams and act as independent think tanks. Our mission is to co-opt ideas outside of architecture’s standard discourse into the day to day life of the studio.
One of the outcomes of this research is the Edge, completed in 2015. The Edge is, according to BREEAM, the most sustainable office building in the world, and, according to Bloomberg, the world’s smartest building.
Beyond sustainability, we are interested in how advanced geometry, fabrication and material research can lead to new architectural typologies. Working together with Cambridge University, we are developing a proposal for London’s first all-timber residential highrise. This 300 meter tower employs a structural system poised to radically alter construction methods in the upcoming years as well as fundamentally transform our relationship with nature in the city.
We also look at the sometimes unexpected impact of technology on our cities and our way of life. We are currently researching the critical role of mobility in the contemporary metropolis through the development of an integrated form of movement through the city and its buildings. One of our current projects is SkyPod – a new vertical transportation concept which will revolutionise skyscraper design, reducing the need for space inefficient elevator shafts and allowing previously unimaginable buildings to be built. Another project is CarTube (www.cartube.global), an urban transport system based on a fusion of two technologies - mass transit and autonomous vehicle – that will radically reinvent urban mobility and change the nature of public realm in the city.
The intellectual common ground that underpins PLP’s mode of practice is a preoccupation with how architecture is sensed and experienced. We employ an array of design strategies and digital techniques focused on revealing intangible qualitative effects and conveying them to a multiplicity of audiences. PLP is currently researching the next generation of gaming engine and virtual reality technologies that enable immersion within an emulated reality where experiential effects can be tested and design decisions made in-situ and in real time.
We go all out to make working at PLP an amazing experience. We have a team of truly extraordinary people and a culture that encourages the growth and talent of everyone.
We all work in one big room, 200 people drawing, talking, arguing, reading, eating, meeting collaborators, presenting to clients, making models, looking at samples, or even hanging out, feet up on comfy armchairs. And tying this all together, bathed in sunlight (well almost), is our central runway where everyone gets to make a grand entrance every single morning.
In a space like this, transparency, collaboration and trust are paramount. Ideas can’t help but come from everyone – after all we are a partnership and it is the collective passion, curiosity and enthusiasm of everyone working here that has made us so successful.
We hail from 43 countries. A multitude of languages brought the Tower of Babel to a halt; in our studio, the babel of 35 languages makes the work richer and the ideas flow smoother.
The result is an open work environment that brings out the best creative talent and forms a culture united in purpose and commitment. In this big room we’re all entrepreneurs, thinkers, doers and innovators, all working together to produce extraordinary buildings, spaces and experiences.