Invisible Studio is an innovative and award winning architecture practice founded by Piers Taylor. Taylor is a Chartered Architect, was the inaugural Studio Master at the Architectural Association for the Design & Make Programme at Hooke Park, a former Design Fellow at the University of Cambridge, a founding director at Mitchell Taylor Workshop, an anniversary scholarship PhD Candidate at the University of Reading, an external examiner at the Arts University, Bournemouth and the Convenor of Studio in the Woods. Invisible Studio is led by Piers Taylor with architect Kate Darby, who currently teaches at the Welsh School of Architecture and the Architectural Association.
Invisible Studio aims to be a different organisation from a conventional practice. We operate through collaboration, experimentation, research and education. We work internationally and very locally, in a variety of fields and at a variety of scales. We operate from a self built studio located in a working woodland which we also manage as an ongoing forest enterprise alongside practice, and have pioneered a number of academic programmes that rethink the relationship between design and making. We are not interested in making as a mechanism for simply providing us with some new form-making techniques which are inflected by their material realisation, but instead, in terms of how material practice can address social and political questions.
With each project, we aim to realise something extraordinary. We are interested in going about the process of architecture in a different way – a way where clients, users, collaborators and makers are all part of the process of design, and sometimes construction. More than anything, we are interested in making unusual, delightful and intelligent buildings and environments that are thorough, considered and exceptional, and have a wider consequence outside their own material actuality.
Our work encompasses a number of seminal buildings from ecologically sensitive self builds through to schools, community and public buildings and large scale urban environments. Our work has been published widely and internationally and has won a plethora of awards including a number of RIBA National, Regional and Sustainability Awards, Wood Awards, WAN Awards, the AJ Small Projects Award and has been shortlisted for the Stephen Lawrence Prize.
With our work, we aim to push boundaries from material research through to wider environmental concerns. We aim to tackle issues of climate change from first principles, where big issues are addressed head on. In terms of technology, we prefer to use passive principles to aid building performance, and use these principles to define the premise of a building. We are unusual in that we are ‘hands-on’ and often construct our own projects within the wider team that is Invisible Studio.
Our approach often takes the materials, available resources and skills from any given context and uses them to make buildings from. In recent years, design – to a certain degree – has become synonymous with a grotesque kind of applied luxury. We have no interest in that world of design, and our work offers in some ways an alternative, lower impact model of architecture, where design is not a luxury add on, but a process by which the most is extracted from the least through intelligent and clever thinking. We have a particular expertise with timber, and have close relationships with the UK’s leading timber engineers and fabricators including Charley Brentnall who is a close collaborator of ours, and we also organise the annual Studio in the Woods which is a place where makers, architects and students collaborate on projects, paying reverence to the overlooked and the nearby.
We aim to set the standard for a new type of progressive architectural practice – a practice bound together by a shared experimental ethos, a creative organisation agile enough to reinvent itself as necessary, and a practice fearless in challenging preconceptions and making a difference.
Current/Past Invisible Studio collaborators include:
Charley Brentnall, Kate Darby, Neringa Stonyte, David Robinson, Alan Matthews, Tara Breen, Nozomi Nakabayashi, Holly Briggs, Steven George, Bernardo Mori, Alfie Dring, Liz Matthews, Sue Phillips, Piers Taylor, Grant Associates, Mike Wells, Bill Gething, Imogen Taylor, Cuffer Matthews, Bernard Twist, Simon Schofield, Niki Turner, Hannah Durham, Caitlin Izard, Buro Happold, LT Studio, Greengauge, Onion Collective, Johanna Gibbons/JLG Landscape Architects, Gemma Wheeler, Nick Perchard, James Symon, Architectural Association, David Connor, Carpenter Oak, The Darlington Estate, Westonbirt Arboretum, AA Design & Make, The University of Reading.
Please note that generally, we cannot take on projects that are small in scale, unless there is an experimental or research aspect, and we do not generally take on domestic alterations or additions. If you are interested in discussing a project with us, please contact us via email. We are an independent organisation and have no commercial or other links with the BBC or any broadcasts that feature Piers Taylor and regret we cannot answer direct questions regarding any television appearances by Piers Taylor, nor answer general ‘advice’ enquiries. Many thanks for your understanding.