Cany Ash

Cany Ash

Practice: Ash Sakula
Established: 1994
City: London
Country: United Kingdom
[email protected]

Cany Ash is Partner in Ash Sakula Architects, a practice operating in architecture, urban design and regeneration, and which has a particular interest in an integrated and innovative approach to materials, specification and construction.
Before setting up Ash Sakula in 1994, Cany Ash worked for the GLC architects department in its last year and at Burrell Foley Fischer in London as well as in New York and Berlin. She has taught at a number of architectural schools as a critic and studio tutor and is an External Examiner at Cambridge University. She has led workshops on architectural issues for young people and community groups. Cany is a RIBA Awards Group member, a CABE Enabler, a Civic Trust Awards Assessor and a Client Design Advisor specialising in education.

Ash Sakula

Old Flower Market
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Food City London

Ash Sakula are currently leading a team developing a masterplan for a £1 billion development on the site of New Covent Garden Market in Vauxhall. The vision involves extending the existing market with a range of new uses to establish a whole new urban quarter based around food. The 23-hectare site will have a refurbished and enlarged market, a food college, hotels, shops, restaurants, a social-enterprise food centre, experimental urban farming, and homes for 2700 Londoners.

Old Flower Market
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How does diversity of people reveal itself at work? Just as musicians sometimes create musician's music, too many architects build only for their own all-too-closed community of other architects who alone can understand their ideas of craft and their aesthetic games. We like to search out opportunities to develop and test our design thinking within richer contexts: the diverse backgrounds of our staff, clients and collaborators provide a trampoline of critical thinking, which I like to think keeps our work tough, legible and enjoyable.
Who are your role models who inspire you? Young people who want to experiment. Architects who have worked closely with local communities, like Lina Bo Bardi in Brazil and Laurie Baker in South India. Le Corbusier for originality... even though you might think me unoriginal!
If you could change one thing in our profession, what would it be? I would legislate for some design time with clients. Clients should start projects with chunks of time for sharing thoughts with the real project champions (us!) instead of with procedural meetings. The energy generated in these early meetings can later be used to defend against the erosion of ambition and character which bring too many projects into confusion and mediocrity.