Alongside Joseph, James is responsible for the creative and practical direction of the studio, its leadership and is closely involved in the development of all projects from conception to completion and client liaison. James is also responsible for the development of the studio in Mexico City.
James is particularly interested in the sustainable social development of the city, in the relationship between society and the individual, and the role of architecture and urbanism in mediating between the two. Through projects and research he explores themes of housing and the domestic in the city, urbanity and density and how architecture, and particularly housing, might play a prominent role in more diverse, vibrant and sustainable neighbourhoods.
James is currently carrying out research on various topics in relation to urban collective housing and small-scale urbanism and resource equality.
Graduating from The CASS School of Architecture in 2014 James gained professional experience in London and Mexico City before establishing O’Brien Van der Steen Workshops with Joseph in 2015. He has previously taught in Moscow as Programme Director (Interior Architecture & Design) at The British Higher School of Art & Design (2015-2018) and as 5th Year Masters Studio leader at the Moscow School of Architecture (2017-2018).
James is also co-founder and editor of Eje, a quarterly review of contemporary architecture, urbanism and culture published in Mexico City.
Alongside James, Joseph is responsible for the creative and practical direction of O’Brien Van der Steen Workshops and is closely involved in all aspects of studios design work, project development and client liaison. Joseph lives and works in Devon where the studio specialises in carrying out work within Dartmoor National Park and the south west region more broadly.
Joseph previously worked for Studio Mumbai Architects in India where his keen interest in the craft of making was fostered and is particularly interested in the relationship between building and landscape, an approach that forms the basis of much of the studios work in the sensitive and protected context of the Dartmoor National Park.
Graduating from the CASS School of Architecture with distinction in 2014 Joseph gained professional experience in Mumbai, London and Moscow before establishing O’Brien Van der Steen Workshops in 2015. He has previously taught in Moscow as Programme Director (Interior Architecture & Design) at The British Higher School of Art & Design and as a Masters Studio leader at the Moscow School of Architecture.
Van der Steen Hall, Allen’s practice carried out numerous projects throughout Devon, Cornwall and Somerset and has extensive experience in the design of new buildings in sensitive areas and on sites of special interest, and in historic building development and the conservation, repair. Allen’s practice was been awarded numerous National and Regional design and conservation awards. Allen works as a consultant to O’Brien Van der Steen Workshops, and is closely involved in our work with historic buildings and within Dartmoor National Park.
Allen was a registered architect with the Architects Registration Board and a member of the RIBA, as well as being a member of the Architects Accredited in Building Conservation (AABC) register.
Our Devon studio is based in the centre of the bustling stannary town of Chagford on the northern edge of Dartmoor, within the Dartmoor National Park. All our projects in the south west are run from the Chagford studio and we pride ourselves in offering a bespoke service in this beautiful yet challenging context.
We also have a small workshop on the edge of the town for model making and prototyping. The Devon studio is run by Joseph.
Our London studio is focused on both our projects in and around London, and is the key base for the development of our international work with our projects in Georgia and Mexico being run predominantly out of this studio. Previously based in Bethnal Green, we have been working from home for the duration of the pandemic and hope that we can return to working with and amongst one another soon. The London studio is led by James.