Smita Davé

Smita Davé

Practice: Murphy|Davé Architects
Established: 1992
City: London
Country: United Kingdom
[email protected]

Born in Uganda where I lived until I was 12, in the sugar plantation town of Kakira, near Jinja. Came to London in 1972. I fell into architecture quite by accident.
I studied at Portsmouth School of Architecture and spent my fifth year at Nantes School of Architecture in France, majoring in Urban Studies. The early 1980s included study trips to Finland to see the work of contemporary Finnish architects, Russia, Berlin and Chicago.
Murphy|Davé was set up in 1992 in a dense and ethnically mixed part of London. Our diverse portfolio of work includes residential, educational, commercial and light-industrial buildings. Our work has Modernist influences with strong belief in the discipline of good design and sense of integrity.
I have recently returned to my earlier interest in urban design and design for the public realm and look forward to generating new links and collaborations with the younger generation.

Murphy|Davé Architects

Front facade
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Art Studio, Wormholt Primary School

The studio, completed in 2005, includes art therapy + preparation room, fully equipped for drawing, painting and sculpture. The cantilevered roof provides cover for outside play and work and, being detached from the main school, provides a calm oasis away from the bustle of the main block. Other features include groundsource heating and a sedum-covered roof providing insulation which keeps the building cool in summer as well as a habitat for insects and birds.

Front facade
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If you could change one thing in our profession, what would it be? One of the things I would love to change is the perception of our profession from being a luxury to a necessity. Good thoughtful design brings so many immeasurable benefits that enhance well-being and therefore productivity in any living/working environment.
I would like planners to have compulsory modules in design and architecture so both professions can work together to achieve a better built environment, especially in the public realm, rather than the mediocrity we are often forced to face.
What do you find most rewarding in your area of work? The thought and design process at the outset, the ability to rationalise a client's brief and to surprise and delight them by giving them the best possible solutions through a rigorous design approach.
The actual building process and working with the whole team to achieve the final product, especially when just off the ground, is exciting.
Living and working as an architect brings a constant awareness and provides a lifelong education in fields other than just architecture.
How have your clients and projects benefited from your involvement? I think what I bring to the project are ideas, experience, clarity and integrity. An ability to get the best-possible value with a professional approach.
A balanced response to a brief - too rigid a response may cloud alternatives and what may often be better solutions. It is equally vital to respond with clarity without imposing a particular form that may not relate to site, landscape or context. Above all, an enthusiasm and passion to get the best from each project.