01 May, 2023

Design with a Conscience

Holland Harvey was founded on the belief that design should make a positive environmental and social impact.

The origin of our practice was an organisation called “Free Architecture” which paired architectural studios with third-sector clients in response to the proliferation of competition culture that pervades our industry – we felt that there was a more meaningful way of architects giving time for free to clients who needed their support the most.

As a company, we now commit 1% of our annual billable hours to the third sector.

This has manifested, 10 years on, in our ongoing partnership with homeless charity Shelter from the Storm – London’s only non-government-funded homeless shelter.

In 2018 we completed the conversion and adaptive reuse of a derelict supermarket on a troubled housing estate in north London into their new home. The shelter accommodates 38 guests, with a focus on their long-term rehabilitation.

During COVID we returned to design and install screens to allow the shelter to remain open whilst protecting its guests and volunteers. Following the pandemic we designed custom bed pods, to give guests more privacy and dignity than the original bunkbeds provided.

We also maintain longstanding relationships with several social enterprises, including Goldfinger, an organisation based in the Trellick Tower in Kensington, which uses joinery to help rehabilitate young people from difficult backgrounds through apprenticeships and training. This supports a programme of recycling and redirecting waste timber to create beautiful furniture that we use in many of our projects. Recently Goldfinger have created pieces for clients including Tate Modern, Inhabit Hotels and Gail’s Bakery.

We also have a strategic partnership with RAW Workshop, based in Oxfordshire, who also help individuals from difficult backgrounds by offering them training and employment, creating joinery for a range of our clients. We have worked with them on our Gail’s Bakery and Farmer J projects in London and they are currently stripping out the Montcalm hotel, “harvesting” the building site for material to be recycled or donated.

Within our studio, we have partnered with a technical college in Newham, LDEUTC, through the RIBA Ambassadors programme. In the last two years, we have mentored over 75 students interested in a career in the built environment, through their studies.

Director Richard Holland is also a mentor for students at the University of Sheffield.

Within our organisation, we offer our staff two days off for volunteering per year.