Is Nex Architecture, set up in 2008 by Alan Dempsey, to deliver projects in the cultural, work and leisure sectors
Words by Emily Martin
Alan Dempsey is founding director of Nex, which he set up in late 2008. The practice delivers projects in the cultural, work and leisure sectors. ‘At Nex we work from the scale of the room to the scale of the city – designing spaces that connect people to place,’ explains Dempsey. ‘We’ve learned it creates additional value for our clients and delights our users.’
The practice has won awards and accolades that include the Architects Journal’s Small Projects Award 2013 for a scheme at the Royal Botanic Gardens, and a New London Architecture Award for best new leisure & hospitality building in London, for one of its latest projects: Cadogan Café. ‘We have won about 70 per cent of our projects through design competition,’ says Dempsey.
Raf Museum, London: Nex is the lead designer for a masterplan and two large buildings at the Royal Air Force Museum. The museum is being transformed for the RAF centenary this year and will feature 5,000 sq m of gallery, restaurant and retail space. The project is under construction scheduled to complete in spring.
‘I wanted to start a studio that gave architects and designers a space to explore and create buildings inspired and enabled by new technologies,’ says Dempsey. ‘I think design through research and experimentation often gives surprising results – we like to explore geometry and form, and let digital design techniques inform our work.’ The studio is made up of a team that bring a wealth of experience to the practice. ‘Having everyone’s input into a small team setting enables us to be more agile in our design decisions’, adds Dempsey.
Cadogan Café: Nex has begun construction on a new restaurant building and public space on Duke of York Square, King’s Road for the Cadogan Estate. The building will feature an innovative curved glazing facade that lowers into the basement in fine weather to bring the restaurant out into the square.
Nex’s first commission was a concrete pavilion for the Architectural Association, winning a D&AD award for it, and it has just completed a film for a commercial with Samsung highlighting the practice’s use of technology. As well as plans to attend MIPIM this year, Nex is also seeking larger studio space in London to help accommodate a new model-making investment.
Brighton photography Centre: Nex was appointed by the University of Brighton to transform an unloved Sixties’ office building acquired by the university into a vibrant space for photography and film students. The design scheme includes opening the ground floor to the public and exhibition spaces.