About Us


living-architects was set up in its current form by co-Directors Chris Alda and Mike Irwin in 2002. The original firm of John Living Architects was established in 1973. With experience in the residential, education and commercial sectors, living-architects are based in Queen’s Park, North West London. For all projects we aim to respond in equal measure to the parameters of quality, value and programme always in conjunction with imagination, pragmatism and context informing the solutions.

Martin Gray, Marian Biernat and Anne Washbourn are Associate Directors of the Practice. All directors have a strong management role, but retain a very hands-on involvement with projects, leading teams for Residential, Education and Commercial Sectors.

– We strongly believe that the key to any successful project is a close and beneficial relationship with our client.
– We help our clients realise their aspirations with imaginative design solutions, whilst never ignoring the basics of running sound, well-managed projects.
– We are accredited for ISO 9001 in respect of our project running operations.
– Our staff are well trained, motivated and enthusiastic to meet their goals.
– We are consultant members of Constructiononline.
– Living-Architects is an RIBA registered practice.

living-architects have worked extensively in the residential, educational, commercial and conservation sectors.

Experience in all sectors includes new build schemes and both refurbishment and alterations of existing properties. The range in site and scale is from projects with a contract value of £100k to £50 million.

We adopt a common approach to the design and implementation of all projects. We consider and study the context of each project, listen to your needs, propose imaginative solutions, sometimes challenge your ideas, but always satisfy your requirements and finally, deliver more than you hoped was possible.

We see the following as high priorities:
– Improve the environment for client and users alike
– Maximise the benefits from the funding available
– Programme to meet your schedule
– Manage within financial constraints
– Design for energy conservation, low running costs and sustainability
– Design for ease of maintenance

living-architects won the 2008 National Affordable Home Ownership Award “Best RSL led large Development” for Townmead Estate.

living-architects, including its various predecessor practices have a long list of clients. We are proud of the fact that much of our work comes from ‘repeat-business’. Our more recent clients include:

A2 Dominion Housing Group
Akelius Residential
All Saints Catholic School
Allenbuild plc
Bramah House Ltd
Budgens Stores Ltd
Bugler Developments
Canadian High Commission
Chase High School
CityWest Homes
Danes Hill School
Diocese of Brentwood
Diocese of Chelmsford
Durkan Ltd
Genesis Housing Association
George Wimpey Ltd
Gerald Eve
Grainger plc
H & F Homes
Helmwall Properties Ltd
Higgins Construction
Howard de Walden Estates Ltd
J Sainsbury plc
Jerram Falkus
Kent County Council
Kier London
Kier Partnership Homes
Kier Properties
London Borough of Barking & Dagenham
London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham
London Borough of Hounslow
L & Q Beacon Housing Group
Mansell plc
McCann Homes
Moorfields Eye Hospital
Norwich Union
Nucleus Housing Group
Octavia Housing & Care
Paragon Community Housing Group
Pinstone Securities Ltd
Plynlimon Estates & Properties Ltd
Poplar HARCA
Portman Settled Estate
Richmond Churches Housing Trust
Ripley Court School
Royal Association for Deaf People
Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea
Shepherds Bush Housing Association
Southend Borough Council
Southend High School for Girls
St. Angela’s Ursuline Convent School
St. Helens Catholic Primary School
St. Joseph’s Catholic Primary School
Stoll
Telford Homes
The Bedford Estates
The Inn at Woburn
The Cadogan Estate
The Elmfield Charitable Trust
Thorstone Land & Property Ltd
Vastint Hospitality BV
Walton Charity

Christopher AldaChristopher Alda Dip.Arch.(Hons) RIBA Director
Chris specialises in the Residential Sector – both private and public sector and has extensive experience in Commercial work and the refurbishment and restoration of older properties including Listed Buildings. Practice responsibilities include head of Management Services and Marketing Co-ordinator.

Michael IrwinMichael Irwin BSC B.Arch(Hons) RIBA Director
Mike specialises in the Education Sector and has extensive experience in all areas of the field. He has also developed particular expertise in the sectors of Sports facilities and Off-Site Construction. Practice responsibilities include Head of Production and Personnel Director.

Martin GrayMartin Gray BA(Hons) Dip.Arch. RIBA Associate Director
Martin specialises in the Commercial and Retail Sectors and has considerable experience in space utilisation, interior design and residential projects especially related to urban sites. Practice responsibilities include that of Quality Director. Martin is also an experienced CDM Co-ordinator, trained in matters related to the CDM Regulations.

Marian BiernatMarian Biernat BA Dip.Arch RIBA Associate Director
Marian specialises in the Commercial Sector and has worked on Shopping Centres, Supermarkets and Interior Design aspects of Retail. Marian also has extensive experience in public and private housing projects. Practice responsibilities include the development of the practice IT systems.

Anne WashbournAnne Washbourn BAS B.Arch(Hons) RIBA Associate Director
Anne has a key role in the Education Sector as well as experience in Residential and Retail. Anne trained in New Zealand and the United States and worked extensively in California. Practice responsibilities include maintaining and developing the Practice’s product and technical resources and is CPD Co-ordinator.