Unknown Works: Backgrounds * Architects Guide 2022

Unknown Works, United Kingdom: Wallpaper * Architects Guide 2022

Wallpaper * The Architects’ Guide is our annual report on exciting emerging architecture studios. The first to be revealed from our 2022 list is London-based Unknown Works
Joining Wallpaper*Architects’ Directorate 2022, our annual list of exciting emerging practices from around the world, Unknown Works was formed in London five years ago. Amethyst in the Studio, a London residential extension, showcases the practice’s playful and thoughtful style.

Who: unknown business

Founded by three co-directors, Ben Hayes, Kaowen Ho and Theo Games Petrohilos, Unknown Works is a dynamic London and Hong Kong-based architectural practice that leaps seamlessly between scales, styles and territories. Multidisciplinary is the name of the game here for the three partners, who met and became friends when they were all studying at the Bartlett School of Architecture before creating Unknown Works in 2017. Now, the team handles anything from architecture, urban design and immersive events to exhibition design, installation art, graphics and media. Digital, from their base in East London.

“Unknown works are fascinated by the human condition, the evolution of cities, the interactions of social and urban environments, and the mechanisms of space distribution,” says the trio. Their work reflects their fascination, and includes plenty of fun and innovative homes that balance functionality and experientialism, such as the bright yellow amethyst (pictured); Prestigious galleries and cultural spaces (the team is currently working hard on the Science Museum’s Energy Revolution exhibit); Brightbox, a prototype for an off-grid, interconnected classroom, clinic and community center for communities lacking critical infrastructure in Uganda; and the award-winning Scotts Taikoo Li restaurant in Chengdu, China.

What: amethyst

Located on a quiet east London road within a residential corner of Leyton, Amethyst is a renovation and expansion project that transforms a somewhat typical Victorian balcony through sustainable architecture. The design, for the private client, makes extensive use of cross-laminated timber construction (CLT), in which the interior is sheathed in warm, environmentally friendly wood (manufactured off-site and assembled within days). At the same time, its exterior is painted in bright yellow, which is a departure from the context standard, and also clearly distinguishes between the old and the new.

“Amethyst takes into account how each element of the project can truly reveal its materiality, patina, method of fabrication and structural integrity,” the architects say. “Every part of this family home has a purpose and speaks truthfully to its origin, coming together as a functional and flexible set of spaces.” The stunning composition of the structural planes ensures that the openings on the roof bring in plenty of natural light. Wood fiber insulation and natural lime skin play a major role in creating a sustainable and breathable family home.

Why: Wallpaper * Architects Guide 2022

Created in 2000 as an international indicator of emerging architectural talent, Wallpaper* Architects’ Guide is our annual list of promising practices from around the world. While always championing the most promising young studios, the project over the years has showcased inspiring work with a focus on the residential field. Including now over 500 alumni, the Directory of Architects is back for its 22nd edition. Join us as we launch a survey this year – 20 young studios from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Ecuador, France, Greece, India, Indonesia, Japan, Nigeria, Paraguay, Thailand, UAE, UK, USA and Vietnam with loads of promise, ideas and exciting architecture. §

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