In our Meet the Builders series, we introduce some of the fantastic people and organisations that make up our community here at The Building Society. They include a wide variety of practices in the built environment who are responsible for ‘building’ and communicating the projects that define our rural and urban landscapes - from designers, engineers and planners to surveyors, developers, photographers and artists.
Ayre Chamberlain Gaunt
Tell us a bit about you
For the last 15 years I’ve been a Director at the practice, driving our journey from garage start-up to AJ100. I strongly believe that our best work is created when the team have ownership over the design, so in some ways my role is to do as little as possible within our projects on a day to day basis! I aim to just step in when the team need support but am always there to test and challenge our approach, and ensure that design quality and client service meets the exceptional standards we expect.
From a personal perspective, I became a father just over 18 months ago which has been a wonderful and chaotic experience. The first three months definitely felt like the best, worst hangover I had ever had.
From starting as a novice in 2018, I’m steadily being sucked deeper into the cycling fraternity, adding bikes and Grand Tour knowledge as I go. In a former life I represented Wales (through a tenuous Grandparent connection) at the 1998 Men’s Lacrosse World Championships.
And your company?
Ayre Chamberlain Gaunt is an award-winning AJ100 architecture practice with studios in London and Hampshire. Led by David Ayre, Matthew Chamberlain and Dominic Gaunt, we are committed to delivering elegant schemes that are innovative in approach and environmentally responsible.
Working in collaboration with clients, stakeholders and design teams, we have developed a diverse portfolio of projects across a breadth of sectors. In 2017 the practice was named BD European Young Architect of the Year and in 2018, World Architecture News Practice of the Year.
Tell us about a project or initiative that you’re proud of
We’ve worked hard over the last 12 months to define what our company mission and core values are, to help us focus on continuing to win and deliver evermore challenging, complex and interesting projects.
Behind this though sits a set of internal principles we distilled in the early days of the practice to guide our people in their response to the inevitable challenges we face due to the dynamic and fluid nature of working in the Built Environment. Here it is:
Do things better than before
• Every project is an opportunity
• It’s all about design quality
• Plan, Analyse, Iterate
• Put yourself in someone else’s shoes – think smart
1. Always protect the team
2. No excuses
3. Be early
It’s as relevant to the team now as it was then. It’s about the practice delivering a consistent, proactive approach at all times, irrespective of role or experience.
At The Building Society we are united by a purpose: to engineer a better society.
Is there one particular change you’d like to see in the way things are done in the built environment?
I’d like to see the introduction of ‘cradle to cradle’ requirements in the built environment and beyond. This would shift the focus in any discussion from cost to value. Materials and products need to be used in the most efficient way possible, minimising waste in the long term.
Favourite thing about working in a co-working and collaboration space?
I think working in a space that is cross-disciplinary is a big plus – I’d like to see a lot more sharing of the expertise of the different companies to really enrich our appreciation of what each of us do.
And on a more personal level, having someone outside our practice to bounce ideas off has been very useful. I had a super tough pitch for a new project and Gary Elliott from Elliott Wood provided much needed therapy!
What are your desert island essentials?
Book: The Source / Tara Swart
Music: The Defamation of Strickland Banks / Plan B
Luxury item: Sunnies
The Building Society is designed to open up the industry and bring different disciplines together, a place to collaborate and share ideas, a place to debate and respond to local and global challenges, a place to work together to develop a more sustainable approach - to make a positive impact on society. If you’d like to find out more or visit for a tour, please get in touch [email protected]