At Ambryo we believe that a strong social vision is the driving force behind a happy and productive workforce, which is critical for the development of a sustainable civil society. With this in mind the practice has produced a constitution that enshrines ideas about community, teamwork, equity, collaboration, and social responsibility. Key features include ownership of the practice by a charity – no director has direct equity in the company; the division of profit between employees, charities, and investment; the opportunity for employees of two years standing to donate to a charity of their choice; and the practice agreement that all works for military projects, prisons or arms manufacturers will be avoided.
Mentoring systems, close ties to local and international universities, fostering young architects, and the promotion of a “Think Tank” philosophy have earned the practice wide respect. Weekly design meetings provide a vital forum for the discussion of current competitions and on-going projects, and create a platform for creativity and new solutions appropriate to each design. The practice’s approach engages the knowledge and experience of the entire team, and encourages collaboration both within the design studio and with co-architects, consultants, and specialists. This process ensures that the final design is a considered, intelligent, and creative reflection of the brief and has, over some three decades, produced designs that have attracted critical acclaim and dozens of prestigious international awards and honors.
Public participation, as well as working with a client and consultant team, is a critical part of project development. Engaging the public in the progress of a scheme is an important part of the design process and often also includes working with interested groups, caucuses, social services, community activists, sociologists, and artists. New participatory procedures go beyond public meetings, to encompass detailed workshops with all the key stakeholders of a project. Our work outside the US has often involved co-architects and local consultants with whom we have, from time to time, set up offices on or near the sites, as well as formalizing the relationship through joint venture agreements.