The studio, first established as Buschow Henley in 1995, began as a series of informal collaborations. Simon Henley and Gavin Hale-Brown studied together in Liverpool in the late Eighties. Some years later, Simon, Ken Rorrison and Ralph Buschow began teaching and working together in London.
During the first couple of years, the practice worked on a range of interiors, exhibitions and domestic schemes and completed a number of high profile offices underpinned by research carried out in conjunction with University College London. In 1997, the Manhattan Loft Corporation commissioned the practice to convert the 10,000m2 Shepherdess Walk industrial building in Shoreditch into loft apartments. A number of other “adaptive reuse” projects followed including Talkback Thames’ HQ and EWN Pugin’s disused but listed St.Monica’s Hoxton London Board School which the practice redeveloped for Shoreditch. Finally, the 2000s brought new-build commissions for schools, healthcare and housing plus a string of awards and competition-wins.
In 2000, Henley Halebrown was shortlisted for Building Magazine’s “Young Practice of the Year”. Two years later, Simon Henley was shortlisted for “Young Architect of the Year”. In 2005, Simon Henley and Gavin Hale-Brown were invited to exhibit in the “40Under40 Architects” exhibition at the V&A. The range of work brought recognition with “Best In Europe – Office”2004 and UK Healthcare Architect of the Year 2008.
Henley Halebrown believes that buildings have a huge impact on those who use them and the institutions that commission them. Perhaps, because we spend almost as much time working with existing buildings and listed structures as we do designing new ones, we believe that buildings should endure. Almost every commission is treated as a piece of “public architecture” – an aspiration that was acknowledged by the title “Public Building Architect of the Year” in 2011.
To date, the practice has won five RIBA awards for Shepherdess Walk, Talkback Thames, St.Benedict’s School, Junction Arts & Civic Centre and the Akerman Health Centre, which made the RIBA Stirling Prize Midlist in 2013.
Today Simon Henley and Gavin Hale-Brown lead an experienced team who bring a wealth of knowledge, experience and real commitment to building intelligent, useful, beautiful and robust buildings. The studio’s work remains varied, much of it in London, but with projects in the South of England and abroad. It is a mix that Henley Halebrown is determined to maintain to ensure we bring a fresh perspective to our work and unique insights to our clients.