Q & A with architect Shabnam Noor

25th September 2018

Tell us the background to Stories by Shabnam Noor – how and why it started:

While working at other practices, I felt what was missing from our work was the true emotional connection with a client’s brief, and the narrative of the place it belonged to.  The fundamental belief we started with was that great architecture tells the story of the place, its history, and the people who inhabit it. So we pull the client to centre stage, allowing them to become an integral element of the design process instead of us pursuing a superficial design agenda. And we do this by really listening to our clients and ensuring that each design idea solves a problem for the client. Every architectural detail then is designed to delight and enhance the experience of the space.

We also understand that our clients have extremely busy lives and designing and building a home is a huge undertaking for them. So we really put a lot of focus on taking the hassle out of designing and building a home by facilitating other consultants and builders on the project.

What are you currently working on:

We are working on a number of residential projects in London where we have perfected the process of unearthing our clients’ stories and beautifully translating them into the built form. One project that particularly stands out for me is where we are building a spa and wellness facility within a walled garden next to a country home in Buckinghamshire.

What has been your most exciting project to date:

We have recently completed a home in a Conservation area in Richmond. Not only did it have an Article 4 Direction on it, but it was also declared of ‘Townscape Merit’. Being able to get past the planning battle was a thrill in itself, as was being able to achieve sustainable features like the green roof on it. There are some beautiful ideas and details in the house that speak of the client’s passions, and even of their grandchildren. This is one project where all our attempts at telling stories, creating sustainable architecture and creating a modern design intervention in a conservation area have come together.

What is the best thing about basing your business at Build Studios:

As a business our key focus is on building relationships with our clients, peers and collaborators. Build Studios is a truly unique place in the way it brings together people from the built sector in the heart of London. It not only provides young businesses with office space but also an opportunity to collaborate and grow together which is really great for us.

What do you think is the most significant challenge facing today’s built environment sector:

Gender equality – not just on paper and in giving rights to women, but also in terms of changing attitudes of collaborators and team members towards women. 

There has to be a seismic shift in the way of thinking in this regard.