dRMM’s WorkStack is the first significant response to the growing need for high quality workspace on compact sites. By stacking the units, the footprint of the building is significantly reduced without loss of lettable area.

Through an iterative and collaborative design process with Greenwich Enterprise Board, we designed 14 workspaces that move beyond the sprawling ‘tin shed’ approach to industrial space.  This innovative solution allows light industrial employment spaces to be created on compact urban sites.


WorkStack is conceptualised in cross-laminated timber – dRMM’s favourite sustainable material which can be used as shear walls and slabs, and allows for fast construction. Its structural properties allow each unit to step out and cantilever. This creates a ‘corbelled’ effect to the west façade, providing shading and limiting solar gain within the lower units.

The resulting block form is sculptural; it enlivens Woolwich Road and creates a landmark for the borough. Charlton WorkStack is the first significant response to the growing need for high quality workspace on compact sites.

Read more about the project here.

Visualisation by Cityscape
Drawing by dRMM

‘This lithe and festive structure came truly alive in the popular imagination’, Hastings Pier is selected by the BBC as one of the best buildings of 2017.

The BBC’s Eight Best Buildings


Hastings Pier, East Sussex, UK by dRMM
This lithe and festive structure came truly alive in the popular imagination when it won the 2017 RIBA Stirling Prize, architecture’s equivalent of the Turner Prize. Alex de Rijke and Sadie Morgan’s firm, dRMM, worked not only as designers but also very much as part of the local initiative

Lego House, Billund, Denmark by BIG
Danish architect Bjarke Ingels’ firm BIG has made its name with bold, highly expressive buildings that, rarely less than controversial, make perfect sense in the context of a brightly coloured Lego visitor centre that can be clambered over and explored in artful, knowing and playful fashion.

Musée Yves Saint Laurent, Marrakech by Studio Ko
Its interlaced terracotta brick façade is designed to represent fabric, wool or tweed maybe, while the creamy smooth walls of the entrance lobby is silk-like. It is as if visitors are stepping into, or perhaps putting on, a bespoke building much, as they might an Yves Saint Laurent outfit.

Juergen Teller studio, London, UK by 6a architects
Set in an inner suburban London street, this subtle yet unpretentious studio for Juergen Teller, the German-born artist and photographer, shows how much can be achieved on awkward and narrow city plots. An unassuming grey concrete façade conceals a building formed of three individual blocks, raw textured concrete is offset by abundant daylight, plays of shadows and greenery.

Louvre Abu Dhabi, UEA by Jean Nouvel
Nouvel’s new Louvre takes the form of a stylised contemporary medina based on traditional Arab city centres, surrounded by walls and characterised by maze-like alleys. The museum’s 23 galleries are like individual city buildings shielded from the sun by the vast and intricate dome that appears to float above them.

Napoli-Afragola railway station, Naples, Italy by Zaha Hadid Architects
This striking new station, one of 13 for Italy’s expanding high-speed rail network, writhes up and over eight railway tracks, connecting once-divided outer suburbs of Naples. It is both a spectacular, snake-like bridge expressing the dynamism of Italy’s 300kph railways and their equally serpentine trains.

Tianjin Binhai Library, Tianjin, China by MVRDV
The façade of this eye-catching Chinese public library resembles a giant eye staring back at the beholder, and, of course, at the legions of tourists who will want to photograph this most photogenic building. The pupil of the eye is a circular auditorium poised at the centre of a swirling five-storey-high, eye-socket-like library hall.

Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg, Germany by Herzog & de Meuron
Hamburg’s long-awaited and hugely expensive Elbphilarmonie was, perhaps, the architectural highlight of 2017, certainly in terms of new civic buildings. It ticks so many boxes. Here is an operatic yet perfectly sane design bringing richly dynamic new life into an old urban dockland that had lost much of its purpose.

For the full article visit The BBC’s website.

Photo © Jim Stephenson


dRMM founding director Sadie Morgan joins Deputy Mayors, Jules Pipe and James Murray, to discuss the future of London in the NLA’s annual Big Debate.

The Mayor’s new London Plan sets out the key policies to guide London’s spatial development for decades to come, addressing major challenges such as the provision of housing and sustainable transport for a growing city.

How should we shape the London of the future, creating a high-quality environment where people want to live?

How should we plan for major growth, accommodating an increasing population, delivering more and better-quality housing, enhancing green and public places, supporting businesses and providing efficient and sustainable transport to move around the capital, yet protecting London’s rich heritage and existing communities?

Sadie will join Jules Pipe, Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration and Skills and James Murray, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Residential Development as well as other GLA representatives, panels of built environment professionals and leading commentators to discuss what the new London Plan means for the future of London.

The Big Debate, 18.00 – 20.15
Monday 5 February 2018
Friends House, NW1 2BJ

For further information and tickets visit The Big Debate Eventbrite page.



dRMM is an early adopter of engineered timber, having built the first publicly funded CLT building in the UK, and the first all timber house in central London since the 1666 Great Fire.

Two of the dRMM’s Stirling Prize projects use cross-laminated timber (CLT); Trafalgar Place and Hastings Pier, and this year the practice begins construction on London’s tallest CLT building, a mixed-use development in East Ham named The Brickyard. The Observer’s architecture critic, Rowan Moore speaks to dRMM founding director Alex de Rijke about the future of timber architecture:

Although CLT gets the most attention, it is one of several products that go under the name of “engineered timber”, which have in common the use of new technology to make a natural material perform like an industrial one. One British early adopter, Alex de Rijke of dRMM architects, who won the 2017 Stirling prize with the company’s part-CLT rebuilding of Hastings Pier, called engineered timber the “new concrete”. He means that it’s a material where the surface you see is also the stuff that holds a building up, which is the stuff that keeps out the weather too. “There can be something very visceral about that,” De Rijke says. “We all like stone cathedrals for that reason.”

The environmental benefits aside, the practical arguments are still strong – both Waugh and De Rijke have hard-headed commercial clients who use engineered timber because its speed of construction saves them money. For all these compelling reasons, the world is expected to use a million cubic metres of CLT this year, compared with 2,000 cubic metres in 2003. Its existence is hardly news in the architectural world, but it is now at the point where it’s going mainstream.

De Rijke believes there’s a limit to how high a timber structure can sensibly go, and that there are other architectural problems to solve in building tall. And he thinks that, in all the preoccupation with the technical wonders of timber, it’s possible to lose sight of the fact that “it is a much better material to live with than any other”. It has, he says, “built-in texture, a sense of scale, grain, scent. It affects the air quality about it. You could shut your eyes and still notice the difference.”

Read the full article on The Observer website.

Early dRMM projects are on show at the exhibition Timber Rising: Vertical Visions for the Cities of Tomorrow at Roca London Gallery, London SW6, 9 Feb-19 May; admission free.

Photograph: dRMM’s 2009 proposal for a timber arena (unbuilt) for the London Olympics.



dRMM received a Frame Award for their cancer care centre which breaks away from traditional clinical environments. Designed from natural, sustainable materials, the interior is therapeutic in nature; inspiring hope and empowering visitors. Maggie’s Oldham was named Healthcare Centre of the Year.

About the project

Maggie’s Oldham explicitly addresses the relationship between the built environment and known causes of cancer through careful use of natural, sustainable materials. The clinical environment of traditional medical institutions was deliberately avoided, with the hope of making visitors feel more empowered. Nature and daylight are brought into the space through a large tree growing out of hole in the floor, and views of both the ground below and sky above.

American tulipwood is used throughout the interior and exterior – whether laminated structure, fitted furniture, or thermally-modified cladding. The prolific use of this versatile material is meant to inspire hope, scale, warmth, and represent nature’s ability to recycle carbon. Poured resin floors and bright yellow doors offset the extensive use of wood. The covered balcony protects patients from the sun, and allows natural light to enter the space. Time also guided the selection of loose furniture, consisting of mid-century classics by Ercolani, Wegner, Nagouchi and Jacobsen.

What is unique about it

In collaboration with AHEC and ARUP in 2013, dRMM developed cross-laminated hardwood that outperforms existing cross-laminated timber. This is the first time the material is used in a building with the hopes of redefining the norms of hospital architecture.

A circular laminated tulipwood table facilitates conversation and symbolises sustainability, humanity, and hospitality. A full-height reversible curtain loop by Petra Blaisse allows the open plan to be cordoned off for privacy.

A great deal of advice was taken from Maggie’s and cancer patients to inform the design; the psychological effects of specific spaces and views were considered along with wood door handles in response to the neuropathy of fingers made painful by chemotherapy.

Read more about dRMM’s design of Maggie’s Oldham here.
View Maggie’s Oldham on the Frame Awards website here.

Read the Frame Magazine article on Maggie’s Oldham here.

Photograph by Presstigieux
Video by Alex de Rijke



Sadie Morgan_08_AgneseSanvito


Drawing on her roles as an NIC commissioner and the HS2 independent design panel chair, she raised concern about the need for identity and longevity to be embedded in the design of key infrastructure projects, “The experience of our built environment speaks to our national identity; it says something about who we are and what we are good at. Why is it then that the design of our “places” is rarely considered?

We have architects to design our buildings, engineers our infrastructure, and transport planners our roads – and masterplanners to fit it all together. But when it comes to how our built environment connects together, the human scale is often lost.”

Sadie is speaking across MIPIM at these events:

Tuesday 13 March
The London Plan, Good Growth – 10.30am at the London Stand
London Realigned with Estates Gazette – 11am at the London Stand

Wednesday 14 March
Urban Mobility and Growth – 15.15pm at the Main Room
Cultural Infrastructure – 16.30pm at the Addleshaw Goddard Pavilion
London is Open – 17.30pm at the London Stand

Thursday 15 March
CaMKOx Corridor – 10.00am at the UK Government Pavilion



Hastings Pier is hosting artworks from the world renowned Cabaret Mechanical Theatre collection. Known for merging the boundaries of art and engineering, the exhibition is free and runs from the 15 March – 15 April 2018.

The exhibition is part of a wider partnership between Hastings Pier, Cabaret Mechanical Theatre, Culture Shift and the Craftivist Network, which includes a programme of workshops for families, schools and community groups.

The project has seen local artists working with Autism Sussex, Parchment Trust, MENCAP, Active Arts, Southdown’s Wellbeing Centre and Seaview to help local people create their own automata, some of which will be on display.

The exhibition is open from 10.00am to 5.00pm every day from 15th March to 15th April 2018.

dRMM is delighted to be supporting the exhibition and sponsoring an automata, Tall Ship by artist Patrick Bond.

Photograph of Hastings Pier visitor Centre by Jim Stephenson


Endless Stair for Timber in Construction AwardsdRMM Director Jonas Lencer is delighted to be part of the 2018 Wood Awards jury.

Jonas designed Endless Stair with fellow director Alex de Rijke for the 2013 London Design Festival. Made from hardwood cross-laminated timber, a material invented by dRMM in collaboration with ARUP and AHEC, it is one of dRMM’s most celebrated timber installations.

He lectures internationally on dRMM’s pioneering work in engineered timber, such as Kingsdale Sports Hall, Naked House, and Maggie’s Oldham. In 2017, he was invited to sit on a London Borough’s Quality Review Panel and became an assessor for RIBA Part III at the University of Brighton, in 2016 he judged the Malaysian Wood Awards.

As an architect, his speciality is combining the design concept with innovative construction techniques, and he has a particular focus on prefabrication and engineered timber. He manages the strategic development of dRMM and oversees the design, construction and delivery of a mixed-use portfolio of projects. These include Faraday House, the bold and imaginative residential building within the Battersea Power Station development.

The awards are open for entries until 25 May 2018:

Photograph: clockwise from top, Alex de Rijke and Jonas Lencer during the factory visit of the Endless Stair project, by Jonas Lencer.


“One of the unanswered questions cancer sufferers ask is, ‘What caused it?’ The increasing evidence of cancer in developed countries points toward carcinogenic elements in our food, drink and air, and material components of our built environment.”

dRMM cofounder professor Alex de Rijke, presented Maggie’s Oldham at ‘Healing Architecture’ the seventh edition of the Berlin symposium for healthcare of the future.

Alex was joined on stage by professor doctor Burkhard Göke of the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, and professor Momoyo Kaijima of Atelier Bow-Wow.

When asked, why wood? Alex responded “In wood there is hope, humanity, scale, warmth, and nature’s clever plan to absorb carbon. Wood is a non-toxic, versatile, benign, anti-carcinogenic material. People like wood, but steel and concrete are the industry default.

Having pioneered engineered timber construction since 2000, I was delighted to be able to invent and develop cross-laminated hardwood through dRMM’s collaboration with AHEC and ARUP for Endless Stair in 2013. A key new material which outperformed existing cross-laminated timber was the result.

For Maggie’s Oldham, dRMM re-present this new material in an integrated design for a public building, carrying a message for cancer care and for environmentally sophisticated architecture. In a didactic display of engineered timber and glass construction, all of the walls and roof are visibly structured and form an exquisite natural finish internally.

Externally the building is draped in corrugated, heat-treated wood, like a surreal theatrical curtain. Inside and out, whether structure, furniture or thermally-modified cladding, the timber used is American tulipwood; a prolific fast-growing deciduous Magnolia tree made noble here by skilful manipulation. Maggie’s Oldham is the first cross-laminated hardwood building in the world.”

For more on Maggie’s Oldham see this link:

Photography thanks to Technische Universität Berlin



To celebrate the 2018 London Festival of Architecture, dRMM is presenting a short film on the influence of the émigré architect in the capital.

The film touches on this year’s festival theme – ‘identity’ – and features ten interviews with dRMM architects hailing from ten different nations. “Exile, in whatever form, is the breeding ground for creative action, for the new.” Czech-German philosopher Vilém Flusser

Émigré Architect is being screened once between 12.00 – 2.00pm every Friday in June as part of the Summer by the River series in The Scoop at London Bridge.

Running time: 5 minutes

Twitter: @dRMMArchitects
Facebook: @dRMMArchitects
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#ÉmigréArchitect #SummerbytheRiver #LondonBridge

The Scoop
Queen’s Walk, London

The London Festival of Architecture runs from the 1st – 30th June 2018.
For more information visit the London Festival of Architecture website.