Denizen Works is an architecture and ideas studio with an global outlook focused on understanding local conditions and culture. Murray Kerr leads the studio, opened in January 2011.
Since the emergence of the practice they have been involved in a number of small and large scale projects that are helping to formulate a working method for an office in its infancy. The smaller projects they have developed over the past twelve months include a folly for the London Festival of Architecture, a mobile sauna in Finland, guerrilla bee-houses and a modest family home on the isle of Tiree in Scotland.
Each of these projects illustrate a way of thinking that they hope to develop over the coming years, showing their commitment to meeting their clients aspirations through imaginative approaches to each brief. As an example of this approach, the sauna outlines their approach to commissions well.
The sauna was their first commission and a project they built themselves on the archipelago between Finland and Sweden, where the client had tried unsuccessfully to gain planning permission for a small sauna at her summerhouse. The firm proposed a mobile sauna, on a sledge, that got around planning restrictions and gives the possibility of an icy dip on the frozen waters around island. A simple project, with a happy client, it is an example of simple architecture that brings a sense of delight to its location.
In parallel with these smaller schemes, they have developed design for a major leisure destination (around towers designed by RTKL) in Birmingham and a collaboration with BDP on a new theatre in the Netherlands. These projects begin to show their approach to city-scale architecture that is appropriate in scale, sustainable while maintaining a distinctive style that is suitable to these civic projects. The starting point for all their work is to try and understand the place. This involves study of not only the site, but also research to attempt to gain understanding of local cultures, building forms, climate and materials.