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"...20 years and counting..."


Towards the end of last year, we reached the milestone of 20 years in practice. I have found it difficult to pause long enough and give my full attention to the reflection that this momentous anniversary deserves. However, I will try to do so now by contemplating the practice’s path through a selection of our past projects during these years, 2002-2022. This rumination will no doubt also inform our arc towards where we want to go in the next 20 years.


Our fledgling project was of course Unit 2, which started it all and is well documented in print, on film and TV Playful Privacy. It holds a special place in my heart, and I had the pleasure of living there until I left London. This warehouse shell conversion led to further projects within the building; one of the penthouse shells Frame the Sky and the entrance foyer of the building.

The press attention received by Unit 2 attracted all future projects for the practice at this time, all of a residential nature. These projects were spread throughout London, from Wandsworth Sensual Spa, Synergy of Space to Hampstead Shifting Spatial Structures, Notting Hill to Fulham, Smithfield Blurring Boundaries to the South Bank Dissolving Thresholds, and back to Islington Projecting Planes. A notable exception was a wonderful project in the South of France on Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat; a luxury villa which was intended as a playground for the super-rich.


Another avenue which Unit 2 travelled along was as a location, which brought a whole new audience and perspective to our fledgling project. One of the directors was inspired enough to bring another residential project to us, a Duchy of Cornwall property in Kennington, and our first foray into conservation architecture Extending Lines of Light.


Also during this time, projects were reaching out of London into Nottinghamshire Echoing Cocoon, Surrey Verdant Sanctuary and Essex. One of these was situated in the beautiful Lace Market of Nottingham and was our first commercial project designing an office scheme Urban Hub. In fact, this is in our minds again now, as we are currently looking at this site’s potential for the future. The Lace Market is the area with the highest concentration of listed buildings in the UK and so again our interest in conservation architecture is intensifying.


During recent years, following our re-location to Nottinghamshire, our projects have focussed on the beautiful town of Southwell and its surrounding villages, the majority of which fall within conservation areas. This has prompted me to pursue accreditation as a Conservation Architect which is an ongoing trajectory that I will follow as a specialism within my practice.

Conservation architecture has long been a passion of mine, as reflected in the Escapade Retreats project which I initiated many years ago in 2009. The concept of Escapade Retreats is a carefully selected collection of historic houses regenerated as luxury exclusive-use holiday properties or boutique hotels for the discerning traveller. This project will be revitalised and my interests in conservation architecture and hospitality design will be a guiding factor for the practice’s work from 2023 onwards into the next 20 years.


As an RIBA Chartered Practice, please contact us on

01636 814624 or email enquiry@julierichardsdesign.co.uk for guidance on all aspects of your project from design and cost through to planning and construction, and we will help you realise your aspirations.


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