O’Brien Van der Steen Workshops is an architecture, urbanism and design studio based in the UK, founded by James O’Brien and Joseph Van der Steen in 2015. The studio’s work ranges from bespoke furniture and residential projects of all scales to large-scale urban and community projects such as the phased redevelopment of large parts of The Rustaveli Theatre, National Theatre of Georgia, a new community recycling and re-use centre for Proper Job CIO on Dartmoor and the development plan for the delegación of Iztacalco in Mexico City.
With offices in Devon (Chagford) and London, the studio specialises in working in urban and rural contexts of historic and cultural importance, making sensitive incisions into complex and challenging places and landscapes by working closely with local authorities to achieve high quality buildings and places.
Our work is underpinned by a keen interest in how things are made and by a construction rationality in which materials and systems are explored to best suit the given needs of a project and place. We take a specific and empathetic approach to the places in which we work, and the people and landscapes that form them. We are constantly interested in the idea of “community” and of “neighbourhood” and their importance in architecture and planning as we address pressing environmental, ecological and social challenges.
As a studio, we are also committed to the ecological and social sustainability of all of our projects and work closely with a range of consultants to develop projects that positively address these concerns in both their execution and their use, along the way challenging and promoting how architectural and urban projects can shape environmentally and socially resilient places to live and work.