Architectural alumni win Young Architect of the Year Award

L-R: Matthew Chamberlain (Director), Dominic Gaunt (Director), Oliver Wood (Associate Director) and David Ayre (Director).

L-R: Matthew Chamberlain (Director), Dominic Gaunt (Director), Oliver Wood (Associate Director) and David Ayre (Director).

A group of three alumni from the School of Architecture has won the Young Architect of the Year Award. The prestigious award recognises the most promising architectural practice from across Europe, with the category being open to fully qualified architects who have been registered to practise for under 12 years.

David Ayre and Matthew Chamberlain set up their practice shortly after completing their studies at the University of Portsmouth, where they undertook undergraduate degrees and Postgraduate Diplomas in Architecture. Together with Dominic Gaunt, a graduate of Cardiff University, they created Ayre Chamberlain Gaunt, now a successful practice based in Basingstoke, North Hampshire.

One of their early projects, the development of ‘Third Space,’ an area in the Students’ Union for studying, was undertaken while teaching at the University. Since then they have gone from strength to strength and have developed a strong client base and a thriving business, but they still remember their roots and founding principles from their university years.

David Ayre, one of the directors, said: “At Portsmouth we had fantastic support from our tutors and it was great to be able to continue our involvement with the School of Architecture through tutoring, lecturing and mentoring. At Ayre Chamberlain Gaunt our ethos is based on building a strong team and supporting everyone who joins us.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have won this award. It really is more than we expected for what is still a young practice. The recognition from the industry is fantastic and will open up doors to new opportunities.

“We have been so lucky to have pulled together such a talented team, many of whom are University of Portsmouth alumni, including our Associate Director, Oliver Wood. Eight of our current staff graduated from Portsmouth and we are very proud of our association with the University.”

All the Directors have worked as part-time studio tutors at their former University and while their business is now taking up a lot of time, they maintain links and continue to visit wherever possible and give lectures.

David Ayre, Matthew Chamberlain, Dominic Gaunt and Oliver Wood collected the award at a ceremony in London last week. The team was also shortlisted from 15 finalists for The Schueco Gold Award which is presented to the practice that has made the most significant contribution to British architecture over the past year. David said: “It’s the award for the best of the best and it’s the one we’re aiming for next year!”

The practice is looking to continue its growth and will be on the lookout for talented graduates later this summer. A new office in central London is also planned.

The 14th BD Architect of the Year Awards took place on Wednesday 8 March 2017 at ExCeL, London.

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