Walters & Cohen is a RIBA-chartered architectural practice with extensive experience of providing full architectural services. We regularly take on the roles of design team leader and contract administrator.
The services we provide generally follow RIBA Stages 0 to 7, and include every aspect of an architect’s role from initial site appraisals to post-construction duties. Not all commissions require a full architectural service and we are happy to provide any aspect of the work stages, from individual to multiple stages.
A well-considered masterplan is a useful, strategic tool when it comes to future building requirements. A masterplan can help clients prioritise their estates in terms of condition and function of existing buildings, underpin the need for new buildings and inform expenditure planning.
We have completed more than twenty masterplans for clients including Hampstead Heath, Bedales and Newnham College, Cambridge. We also have succesfully worked within existing masterplans, by us and by others. A review takes into account any changes in the intervening years, reassesses the client's priorities and ensures that the masterplan still supports their ambitions.
Our starting point is always to ensure that any existing premises are used to their full potential before new buildings are considered. Surveys and space audits of all accommodation help the design team and client understand how to make best use of existing facilities. We assist in devising appropriate building strategies to allow work to be carried out with minimal disruption to the end users.
Walters & Cohen has completed feasibility studies for almost all our built projects. A feasibility study generally includes:
RIBA Work Stage 0
At this stage we gather all necessary information on the site, carrying out surveys and investigating site constraints using local and national planning guidance. We also meet with and listen to stakeholders to understand their vision and aspirations for the project.
RIBA Work Stage 1
During this stage we produce an outline schedule of accommodation and, where appropriate, a masterplan. Consultation is extended to statutory authorities including planning authorities, building control, highways and other relevant consultees.
The design work undertaken during the feasibility stage of projects is invaluable in setting the context for future design development.
We are known for our design flair and practical innovation. Research has always been at the heart of our practice ethos: from office-based investigation to visiting examples of best practice around the world, we like to challenge what is taken for granted and consider a fresh approach where appropriate. The range of projects we undertake allows us to continually test and develop new and interesting ideas, or even old ones: the design of Vajrasana Buddhist Retreat Centre is a twenty-first-century expression of traditional Buddhist architecture.
We enjoy exploring these ideas with clients and design teams, and make sure we are up to date with local and national policy that affect the built environment. We also research new materials that allow us to make our buildings more efficient and sustainable without compromising elegance or practical use.
Directors Cindy and Michál often take part in design reviews, peer reviews, competition and award judging. Through these roles their knowledge of good design is tested and benchmarked, which benefits the staff they mentor as well as our clients.
Our knowledge and experience of architecture comes from both sides of the table. In recent years we have taken on the role of technical advisor, helping clients to articulate their thoughts and compile a design brief that meets their particular needs.
Michál Cohen undertook the role of technical advisor for the London Borough of Havering and the Drapers’ Company, sponsors of Drapers’ Academy. Walters & Cohen prepared the masterplan for what became known as the Harold Hill Learning Village, comprising a new Academy, FE College, special needs school and primary school. We also acted as technical advisor for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea during their BSF programme, preparing masterplans and control options for five secondary schools in the borough.
We can bring an understanding of the wider context to this service and offer constructive and impartial advice on design proposals by others.