Adriana Natcheva of Groves Natcheva Architects has been shortlisted for the 2014 Woman Architect of the Year Award. The award, run annually by the Architects’ Journal, is a prestigious acknowledgement of individual achievement within a profession that demands collaboration and cooperation in a culture of long hours and intense involvement with the job.
Adriana established Groves Natcheva Architects in 2000 with Murray Groves. They studied at Cambridge and Bath University respectively and worked for a variety of London and New York practices before setting up their own London studio. Right from their earliest projects, Groves and Natcheva took a multi-disciplinary approach, encompassing not just the design of private residences and commercial spaces but also bespoke furniture and fittings and large scale master plans.
By working on a variety of scales from small residential conversions to major new developments and office buildings, the practice demonstrates its belief that architecture sits uneasily in the world of design. Although a building can be contemplated, used and even worn, it isn’t an artifact, instrument or garment in the traditional sense. Rather than let themselves be shaped by prevailing fashion, Groves Natcheva take a different approach, creating architecture that mirrors the richness of the life it encloses.
Adriana describes their approach as ‘polymorphous’, work that ‘leaves all “-isms” at the door, calls on no general principles, answers with no stock phrases. Its solutions are local, whether globally admired or not, tailored to specifics, to a here and now however long or short that might last. It is the client’s identity—not ours—that should be embodied in their building, the organizing intelligence should stay below the surface.’
Their portfolio includes the Zog House in Queen’s Park, North London, a modern dwelling that utilized a radical system of prefabricated concrete, as well as two new developments in South London, the richly detailed Cedar Mews and the tough industrial forms of the Warren Apartments. As well as private residential projects, Groves Natcheva has completed several high profile commercial fit-outs and designed bespoke furniture for a number of clients, including lighting, tables and specialist hand-made ironmongery.