Sarah Featherstone

Sarah Featherstone

Practice: Featherstone Young
Established: 2002
City: London
Country: United Kingdom
[email protected]

Sarah Featherstone is an architect and co-director of the London-based practice, Featherstone Young. She is interested in the way people shape their environment and how architecture can stimulate, rather than dictate, activity and social interaction. Her projects include the Orchid House, Cotswolds, social housing in Elephant & Castle and the SERICC Crisis Centre in Thurrock. She is nearing completion of her own house in Brecon, Wales and is currently an exhibitor in Reflecting Wales 09:09 Emerging Architects.
Sarah teaches on a multidisciplinary MA course at Central St Martins and is a CABE Design Panel member and an external examiner at London Metropolitan University, Oxford Brookes and the Bartlett School, UCL. She has been on the judging panel of many awards and competitions including RIBA Awards, Camden Design Awards and the RIBA President's Research Awards. In 2008 she was awarded the Atkins Inspire Women in the Built Environment, Outstanding Achiever.

Featherstone Young

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SERICC Crisis Centre

Featherstone Young were appointed to refurbish and extend the SERICC crisis centre in Grays, Essex. The practice spent time with counselling workers and women users and developed emotional diagrams which inspired the new design. Pod-like windows clad in timber shingles provide privacy and seating to the new counselling rooms. These are now affectionately known as 'Listening Ears'. Private and public circulation spaces wind around a central 'ribbon wall', which provides acoustic and visual separation between offices and counselling rooms.

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How does diversity of people reveal itself at work? Our practice is a diverse team of people not only in nationality and gender but also in skills. We are a multi-disciplinary practice employing graphic designers, film-makers and writers as well as architects to ensure our projects are rich, holistic and legible.
Do you think our profession is diverse enough? I think in the last five years diversity within architecture has become much wider. Students studying architecture are branching out into design-related industries such as curating, journalism and research with organisations such as CABE, the Architecture Foundation and the General Public Agency enabling this. Likewise, my teaching on the multi-disciplinary MA course, Narrative Environments, at Central St Martins is encouraging people from other practices to work together with architects on spatial projects in the public realm.
Who are your role models who inspire you? No one person - my role models are people who are committed, passionate and quirky.
If you could change one thing in our profession, what would it be? Greater respect and appreciation of good design and the wider value it can bring both socially, culturally and economically.
What do you find most rewarding in your area of work? A finished project.
How have your clients and projects benefited from your involvement? By having a unique and distinctive design. No one project is the same as we respond to specific contexts and offer a range of possibilities to different people.