6a neither anticipate the revolution like the moderns, nor recapitulate traditions like the post-moderns. Instead the London-based architects show a feeling for time and for the vicissitudes it contributes to the life of things. Buildings are coincidences, the results of a succession of fortuitous collisions and near-misses. 6a come to them with the curiosity of anthropologists and the patience of detectives, searching for the sign that will unlock a particular situation and allow them to make the most of an occasion.
From Never Modern, by 6a and Irénée Scalbert, Park Books, Zurich, 2013
Whether they are fitting out a Savile Row shop or adapting a grade I-listed house, London duo 6a architects take a radical approach to history and conservation, cherry-picking elements of the past to weave into new narratives. Tom Emerson and Stephanie Macdonald are specialists in anthropological storytelling, the result of scholarly curiosity and sensitive attention to detail.
6a architects was founded in 2001 and has become one of the leading architectural practices in the UK. The practice is perhaps best known for its exhibition spaces in delicate historical settings, such as the South London Gallery (2010) which was expanded to include a Victorian terraced house, and Raven Row (2009), two Huguenot merchant’s buildings that they adapted and extended into a gallery.
Other recent projects include a façade for Paul Smith in Mayfair, the restoration of the Fashion Galleries at the V&A Museum and Tree House in east London. A new residential building for Churchill College, University of Cambridge, a photography studio for Juergen Teller and an apartment building in north London are under construction. 6a is currently designing the new MK Gallery in Milton Keynes, Modern Art Oxford and a new Arts Club in east London as well as several artists studios and residential projects.
6a has won several riba awards, has been nominated five times for the Mies Van der Rohe Award and won the Erich Schelling Medal for Architecture in 2012.