Our Studio

How we approach design and research

The CE+CA team has a diverse range of experience and interests, yet we share a core set of values through our work.

Define your own practice.

We aim to extend our practice beyond the traditional role of the architect, acting as agents supporting change through participation and collaboration. Our way of working is informed by beliefs developed over a number of years, based on methodologies which have evolved from both practice and research. For over two decades, the three current directors worked as two separate but linked enterprises – Prue Chiles Architects, and Bureau – design + research (Bdr) – and Chiles Evans + Care Architects builds upon this practice.

Context is key.

A strong awareness of context underpins and unifies our work. All of our projects are borne of a unique combination of people and place, the topography, geology and materiality of a particular location, as well as its historical and social settings.

Good design should be for all.

Public buildings deserve the same attention to detail as individual homes; careful consideration of how spaces feel to be in, and how the design can best provide for its users. Whether creating brand new spaces or reinventing existing and historic properties, through thoughtful planning we are able to support people in the ways they want to live. 

Celebrate the process of making.

We are proud to collaborate with some of the most skilled, knowledgeable contractors and fabricators in the business. The celebration of making and materiality in our projects is a common thread – a direct result of their input, expertise and trust.

Share perspectives.

We believe that working with local communities, their agency and their ideas is a powerful two way process. The act of sharing knowledge and perspectives underpins all of our work, whether that is through community led design, working with school pupils or individual clients.

Think local.

For over two decades we have undertaken work in and around Sheffield, meaning we have a depth and breadth of local knowledge to bring to future projects. We are proud of the practice’s positive impact upon the unique city which we all call home, and strive to support local ventures whenever possible.

Everyone should have a voice.

We believe the design process should be transparent and inclusive. Enabling discussion about design is key to the creation of well designed places, which in turn have the power to positively transform the ways we all live. Our work has pioneered new methodologies and practices in community led design to help empower community groups to take on regeneration projects in their own neighbourhoods. 

Create inspirational learning environments.

Educational environments should be inspiring places in which to learn, designed with the utmost care and attention to detail. Our built projects are underpinned by extensive long term research by the team. This includes our major 2015 publication, Building Schools: Key Issues for Contemporary Design, which draws themes from international best practice to illustrate ways that we as architects can aspire to improve the quality of learning and teaching spaces.

Establish the priorities. 

Whilst the vital starting point for a successful scheme is to establish the brief, we believe it is also an ongoing process. We always allow time to work closely with our clients to develop a highly appropriate, personal and sensitive set of ambitions for each project.

The little things matter.

Architecture shouldn’t just be shiny and grand – we are passionate about making everyday places special. Clever planning, careful use of day lighting and beautifully crafted materials have the power to transform even the smallest of spaces.

Stay current.

Members of the team regularly lead teaching at the University of Sheffield and Newcastle University – two of the top schools of architecture in the UK – delivering architectural design, technology and humanities modules at undergraduate, masters and PhD level. Our experience as educators has been a vital influence on CE+CA, and continues to shape our current and future practice.

Sustainability is broad.

To us, ‘sustainable design’ isn’t just about green technologies; it also means avoiding unnecessary waste, making provision for flexible use, or supporting the growth of a community. Many of our built projects have included the creative adaptation of buildings which otherwise faced disuse or demolition.

Everything changes.

We have a responsibility to consider those who will follow us, as well as our own current and anticipated needs. Across all sectors, our schemes offer flexibility of use, enabling users to adapt and define the future of the places in which they live, work and play.

People first.

The practice advocates a healthy work/life balance and prioritise the welfare of our team, collaborators, contractors and clients. We facilitate flexible and part time working, and are proud to have a balanced gender mix in our team.

To discuss your project get in touch here.

You can also get in touch with our team via our Instagram account.