We strive to create a studio environment that encourages dialogue and critical input from every team member.
Our collective strength is our approachability and desire to meet common goals.
Alex de RijkeDirector
BA, Dip Arch, MA, ARB
Alex de Rijke is a founding Director of dRMM, having established the practice in 1995 with Philip Marsh and Sadie Morgan. He is a design champion at dRMM, responsible for the concept, construction and delivery of our timber projects. These include diverse projects as Sliding House, Kingsdale School, Charlton WorkStack, Tower of Love, Endless Stair, WoodBlock House, Maggie’s Oldham, and the Stirling Prize-winning Hastings Pier.
Alex conducts ongoing research into contemporary materials, technologies and methods of construction. Through his leadership, dRMM has become a recognised pioneer and authority on engineered timber design and construction, especially laminated timber structures.
Having introduced softwood CLT (cross-laminated timber), to the UK with groundbreaking work at Kingsdale School, London and Naked House, Oslo in 2006, Alex invented, in collaboration with AHEC and ARUP, the world’s first cross-laminated hardwood timber for Endless Stair in 2013, dRMM’s London Design Festival installation at Tate Modern. dRMM’s Maggie’s cancer care centre in Oldham 2017 was the world’s first hardwood timber CLT building and explicitly demonstrates a synthesis of concept, material construction and user well-being; a project that reveals de Rijke’s ‘total design’ ethos in the integration of landscape, architecture, furniture and art.
As an expert in the relations between materials and emerging construction types, de Rijke has presented dRMM’s work from Scandinavia and Europe to Asia and Australasia. He has given conference papers on a range of themes including: engineered timber architecture and construction; prefabricated and mobile architecture; and the relationship between architecture and health. De Rijke is an outspoken critic of the global problem of embodied carbon-heavy materials and building methods that are the default of the construction industry. Through his championing of the need to build using timber and low carbon materials, dRMM were the first UK architecture practice to make public buildings in CLT and have since the 1990’s consistently been able to innovate and improve sustainable design through real projects.
Prof de Rijke has always combined cutting-edge practice with education, always positioning learning through experiment and making. He has extensive teaching experience at various institutions including London South Bank University, the Düsseldorf School of Architecture and the Architectural Association for many years. De Rijke was Dean of Architecture at the Royal College of Art and Professor of the Masters programme from 2011-2015, instigating a new culture of making and prototyping. Alex was External Examiner for Architectural Association/Hooke Park Design & Make Masters 2016-21, and is currently External Examiner on UAL/St. Martin’s Spatial Design programme, London.
With a longstanding parallel interest in photography, de Rijke documents dRMM’s projects on an ongoing basis for publications and exhibitions, including the Venice Biennale 2008 and 2012, and dRMM’s timber architecture exhibition, Forest of Fabrication 2019. He has served on the Major of London’s design advisory panel, and continues to contribute to design discussions at universities and institutions such as RIBA, ARCAM (Architecture Centre Amsterdam), the Milan Salone del Mobile and The Plan ‘Perspective’ conferences. De Rijke represents dRMM and champions timber for the wider profession in the media through radio, TV appearances and features in publications such as The Plan, Architecture Today, Dezeen and The Guardian.
Alongside and often integrated with his architecture, de Rijke has designed and made many furniture pieces using (some) recycled plastics and (predominantly) wood. Key examples of his freestanding and fitted furniture are ‘Table; turned’ for the London Architecture Wishlist, and various works with artist Richard Woods. Committed to timber advocacy and making design culture more public/less elitist, in 2020 de Rijke contributed as a design judge to Plimsoll Production’s six-part series, ‘Good With Wood’ for Channel 4 TV, to be launched spring 2021.