Author(s): Simon Conder
Simon Conder: Small Works is the chronological, pictorial story of Simon Conder's architecture between 1993-2016. Conder trained in London at both the Architectural Association School of Architecture and the Industrial Design Department of the Royal College of Art. Prior to that, he designed and made furniture, and has worked closely with skilled craftspeople to create buildings, generally at a small scale, ever since. Before working in the public sector in England for six years on large housing and community projects, Simon worked in small studios in London and Cophenhagen. Here he particularly identified with the friendliness and commitment of a small team, the variety and fast pace of the work and the importance of detail. In 1984 he won four out of six competitions and was able to start his own studio with offices in London and Suffolk. Since then, he has won some large competitions with none of these schemes having been built: partly because of the cyclical nature of the construction industry, partly because of his inability to delegate design decisions and partly because of his antipathy to the business community. His work is about many things, but paramount is the desire to make things well, and to respond genuinely to the particular requirements of the client, the site and the budget. Many of his best projects have been created on very low budgets. Although always a very small studio, averaging three to four people, Simon Conder Associates have already won 40 Architecture and Design Awards, including two RIBA Stephen Lawrence Awards for the best building costing less than one million pounds in Britain. They have also been twice shortlisted for the biennial Mies van der Rohe Award for the best building in Europe. When he was at school, Simon had the rather pretentious ambition to be an 'intellectual', but a devastatingly bad entrance interview for Cambridge University taught him that words were never going to be his best way of communicating ideas, hence this word-free book where he hopes every picture will tell the story.