Carl Turner Architects

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Carl Turner Architects was formed in 2006, and has established a reputation for high impact, low cost architecture. The practice was shortlisted for Architect of the Year Award, small project architect 2012, receiving a ‘highly commended’ special mention and won the one-off house Architect of the Year Award 2013.

We work with a diverse range of clients including small non-profit and arts organisations, the creative industries, private residential clients, developers and commercial end users.

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Slip House
Manser Medal 2013 
RIBA National Award 2013
Client: Private
Photographer: Richard Glover

What does it mean to win an RIBA Award?

After 10 years in practice and being shortlisted for an award in 2012, we won our first ever RIBA award in 2013, in fact it won three, regional, national and Manser.  We were a team of four before we won the award but the team is growing as we start to see some of the business benefits of winning Awards come through.

Winning Manser was incredible and totally unexpected and since the announcement we have been inundated with enquiries, up from two a month to at least one a day.  The majority of them are from small clients looking to expand their home or build a new house, but developers are also approaching us with project ideas and that’s really exciting.

For me getting an RIBA award at any level is one of the best ways to demonstrate to future clients our commitment to quality. This has given us confidence in our work and now bid for much larger projects than we might have previously.  I always felt that putting a project in for an award would do a few things; it would benchmark our work nationally and even internationally, it might validate our approach and crucially it would help us to step the business up a gear.  It has done all that and more as it's now much easier to share our ideas with clients particularly around innovations in sustainability.

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Photographer: Tim Crocker

Talking of confidence, getting shortlisted in 2012 was great but going through the process in 2013 was just something different.  The level of anticipation in the office was huge and winning our RIBA London award was a massive boost for us all, going on to win our first RIBA national award then Manser was just incredible.  The Euphoria in the office lasted for weeks after; everyone’s motivation was boosted to a new high.  For me personally it felt like the end of a long slog, struggling to run and establish the practice, I feel like I have reached a pinnacle and all the risk, time and energy I put into the business has been vindicated.  There is now a self-imposed pressure to maintain that peak which is a whole new and exciting challenge.

On a practical level the huge increase in enquiries has forced us to re-evaluate our business plan, where before we had a plan to grow the business and increase the number of employees we no longer see that as a priority.  Now our priority is to build our reputation, selecting the projects where we know we can make a difference, and to work with clients who share the same values and ambition for the buildings they commission.  We use social media to talk about our work; our twitter feed went crazy on the night of the Manser win.  Our clients were messaging us congratulations and talking about their desire to have award winning buildings, that buzz was great.

Winning other industry awards is great, they all have their place but I would swap them all to win one RIBA award because for me they are world class.  RIBA awards are recognised by my peers, judged by my peers and even if we don’t like it, they are hard to win which makes them the most valuable.  Awards definitely contribute to improving standards, they pull up the architecture profession, they help push boundaries with planners and they set those benchmarks I mentioned earlier.

Carl Turner

The 2014 Manser Medal is sponsored by Hiscox.

For more information about Hiscox's Home and Office Insurance offers for RIBA members please visit www.hiscox.co.uk/riba

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