Open House Festival

Allies and Morrison Open Studio

architectural practice

Allies and Morrison, 2003

85 Southwark Street, SE1 0HX

Three buildings - one concrete, one Victorian, one timber - have been designed, adapted, restored and extended by Allies and Morrison to create the compact, integrated campus of studio space that the practice calls home.

Getting there


Southwark, Blackfriars, London Bridge, Borough


London Bridge, Blackfriars, Waterloo





Accessibility notes

Step-free access to all areas of the tour route.

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Drop in activities

Sat 21 Sep


Drop in: Open studio


Open Studios

Visit the studios to have a tour of 85 Southwark Street and Farnham Place, by members of the practice. A chance to explore the open plan studio spaces of exposed concrete and cross-laminated timber, to see the dramatic steel spiral staircase, triple height atrium, two terraces and model shop. As well as finding out about many ongoing and past projects through many models on display.

Further history of the buildings

Allies and Morrison first built their own purpose studio at 85 Southwark Street on the disused site of a former garage effectively derelict since it was bombed in the Second World War.

This six-level office building (comprising basement library and IT workshop, ground floor reception and exhibition space, three studio floors and roof terrace) occupies an asymmetric plan. Its shape is the outcome of the creation of Bazelgette’s Southwark Street to the north, cutting diagonally across the pre-existing street pattern. At its northwest point, an alley links the two streets providing a shortcut through the over long urban block bounded by Great Suffolk Street and Guildford Street. This alley, controlled by two sliding metal screens, separates The Table, a café and bar owned by the practice, from the main reception space.

Ten years on, the existing studios were extended in 2013. The expansion included the refurbishment of the neighbouring Grade II listed Victorian warehouse at 89 Southwark Street and, to the rear, the construction of a new timber building on Farnham Place. The arrangement of the three studio buildings creates a new public space, a courtyard and a restored façade to Southwark Street.
The design integrates the new building and existing warehouse with the original studio; however each building retains an individual character. The first studio is a contemporary concrete frame building that won the RIBA London Building of the Year 2004. The refurbished Victorian warehouse on the other hand retains its early industrial character while the rear extension addresses the mews-like environment of Farnham Place. Whilst distinct, the three buildings share a number of design principles, such as the exposure of the structural frame. There is a different primary material in each: concrete in the original studio, brick and steel in the refurbished warehouse and timber in the rear extension.

A central service core links the three buildings allowing them to operate as a single unit, whilst enabling interactivity between the studios. The original studio can be closed off allowing the expansion buildings to operate separately or indeed be sublet floor by floor, if required. The core overlooks a shared inner courtyard allowing views across the gallery and the modelshop, creating a new visual connection between Southwark Street and Farnham Place.

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