Groves Natcheva Architects is a collaboration between Murray Groves and Adriana Natcheva, established in London in 2000.

Architecture sits uneasily in the world of design. A building is not an artefact, instrument, or garment yet it is contemplated, used and in a sense, worn. Contemporary architecture stumbles from one to another of this plurality of aspects, never sure to which it ought to cleave hardest, pulled this way and that by the prevailing fashion. Some architects bend materials to their own ideas, others let their ideas be bent by materials: either way they coerce the subject into a simplicity of their own making, subjugated to the architect’s will or talent, whichever happens to be in greater credit.

We take a different approach. For us architecture must have the richness of the life it encloses: no more and no less. Just as life is polymorphous—in the philosophical jargon—so must architecture be. It is no more than life reducible to any set of abstractions, no more one thing or another. Done well, it 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. And, crucially, it belongs to someone other than its author, for it must be part of the people who inhabit it or else it becomes just a stage, turning the life of its occupants into a reality show without an audience. It is the client’s identity—not ours—that should be embodied in their building, the organizing intelligence should stay below the surface.

 

Adriana Natcheva MA DIP ARCH RIBA
Murray Groves  BA (Hons) Arch B (Arch) Hons RIBA