Studio NOW

“The Long Now is the recognition that the precise moment you’re in grows out of the past and is a seed for the future.”

Brian Eno (founding board member of The Long Now Foundation)

Designing architecture can be a contradictory process. At once designing for the present, with the inherent optimism of designing something for the future, whilst also considering and referencing our shared histories. Our understanding of what is ‘now’, and how that affects future ‘nows’ is critical if we are to address the challenges ahead.

This year, Studio NOW has been investigating high streets. Their decline has been well publicised – threatened by out-of-town shopping malls, online shopping, a monoculture of retail uses, changes in consumer habits and more recently COVID-19.

Like most historic high streets, our wider site, London Road, was once the beating heart of social life with a variety of uses, including numerous pubs, cinemas, restaurants and a wide variety of shops.

Projects this year look to create a future vision for the area and propose a new gathering space. Each student has interpreted what this new typology might be, and formed their own individual brief. The bones of a typically outdated department store has been our host to test, trial and prototype a wide range of ideas all seeking to activate the high street once again.

We ask, can a renewed idea of the high street as a social space reinvigorate our town centres and provide new, sustainable and accessible spaces for urban life to thrive?


Tom Barlow-Kay
Haowen Bo
Carrie Boon
Lewis Bushell
Torres Chin
Katrina Fung
Cara Grime
Kerry Husselbee
Izzi Powell
Daniel Jolaosho
Ajey Kesavaraj
Finlay Law
Fonda Lee
Emma Loughnane
Natasha Mallin

Myah Phelan
Boyu Qu
Joshua Richardson
Liza Rose
Ben Rylance
Niamh Sharratt
Yusra Sorwar Akhter
Ben Sutherland
Andrine Tan
Tianjun Tan
Emilia Taraszkiewicz
Yanfei Wang
Qianshu Xu
Li Zeju
Zihan Zhang

Studio Tutors

James Crawford
Graham Burn
Alexander Turner
Ben Devereau

Visiting Critics

Mat Barnes CAN
Ione Braddick Epping Forest Council / Public Practice
Alice Brownfield Peter Barber Architects
Marc Cairns New Practice.
Emma Colthurst University of Greenwich
Laura Gaskell Haworth Tompkins
Ernst ter Horst FCBS
Evonne Mackenzie V&A Museum
Rachel Patel Foster and Partners
Alex de Rijke dRMM Architects
James Rogers Studio Weave.
Su Stringfellow Harrison Stringfellow
Fran Williams Architects Journal
Hannah Wilson Piercy and Company

Specialist Input

Adam Booth FCBS
Richard Jennions Fabric District CIC
Will Howard dRMM Architects
Jason Coe Groupwork
All the staff at Ty Pawb, Wrexham.
Sophie Percival Model Photography