Find out more about our studio’s

Images: Padi Naderi/RIBA Collections

Haworth Tompkins was founded in 1991. In 2019, the Haworth Tompkins Employee Ownership Trust was set up for the benefit of the current and future employees of our studio. The trust is guided by the following principles.

EMPLOYEE BENEFIT The Trust has been established for the benefit of the present and future employees of Haworth Tompkins.

REPUTATION We are first and foremost a creative design studio. Our reputation has grown on the back of thoughtful and well-crafted buildings, that delight clients and win awards in equal measure. The quality of our work drives the calibre of the clients that want to work with us, motivates existing members of the team to invest their time and energy and attracts talented, like-minded individuals to join us. As such, maintaining our reputation for quality design should be at the heart of any decisions that are made about the future direction of the company.

CREATIVE LEADERSHIP Our studio was founded by two highly individual designers with a shared vision. Over the past 28 years that vision has been enhanced by successive members of the team and has carried us to a point of strength, both reputationally and financially. Whilst ensuring that the employees have a voice and can contribute ideas to improve the way the company operates, maintaining effective and focused leadership of the company through successive generations of new directors will be critical to its future success.

OPEN COMMUNICATION Alongside strong creative leadership, the studio was founded on a non-hierarchical model, based on mutual respect, clear communication and good humour. These qualities, both for our team and for our relationships with our clients and collaborators, have played a significant part in our success. As the team has grown, this has become a more complex project to maintain and needs more active attention. We will continue to place these crucial qualities at the heart of the studio’s ethos, developing our management procedures and communication skills. This is a shared responsibility for all team members, at whatever stage of our careers.

FINANCIAL STABILITY The measures of our studio’s success are creative, social, environmental and financial. Our team has matured steadily since its formation in 1991, gradually increasing turnover and profits. A key priority for the future is to ensure that the company continues to be successful financially, as this underpins all our other objectives, but not at the expense of those other, equally key criteria.

INNOVATION We have built our success on a mindset of continuous innovation, whether in building typologies, working methods, building systems, materials, construction components or fine details. Creative risk taking should continue to drive the studio’s thinking under the leadership of a new generation of designers. We will encourage research and development projects where feasible.

SOCIAL VALUE From the outset, our work has been underpinned by a desire to make socially purposeful architecture that contributes to the collective wellbeing of our society and can be judged not only on standards of aesthetics but on ethics. We will continue to seek out commissions and clients on that basis, rejecting commissions that clearly go against those values.

SUSTAINABILITY We are facing a climate emergency of unprecedented seriousness. To meet the needs of our society without breaching planetary boundaries, we will promote and research the principles of Regenerative Design as the underpinning foundation of all our work. This requires that we recognise the construction of buildings, cities and infrastructure as an indivisible component of a larger, constantly regenerating and self-sustaining system of planetary processes.

CREATIVE DIVERSITY Our success has been driven equally by our ability to develop specialist expertise and by our willingness to explore projects in new areas. Each part of our portfolio informs and strengthens the others and we should take the opportunity to expand our range of work types wherever possible, within the framework of our other guiding principles. Within the discipline of maintaining our core design mission, we will encourage and accommodate teaching, research, writing, public speaking, joining of design review panels and advocacy, recognising that these activities strengthen the creative core of the studio.

FAIRNESS AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY We want our studio to be a model for fairness in all our dealings with our employees, our clients, our collaborators and our supply chain. To achieve this, we must continue to become more informed, more innovative and more rigorous in our recruitment, employment, promotion, pay and dignity at work policies.

EMPLOYEES VOICES The Trust was established to allow every employee’s voice to be heard and taken into account. The Employees Forum and the employees’ representative on the Trust, should provide an opportunity for team members to make suggestions about how the company can make improvements to the way it is run. These will be given due consideration by the company and adopted where possible.

WORK LIFE BALANCE We want our team to achieve a healthy work life balance throughout their working careers, but the pressures on this increase as digital access expands, when families grow and the population ages. Maintaining profitability and productivity, we will seek to be at the forefront of best practice for employee welfare, exploring flexible hours, sabbaticals, study leave and home working, discouraging habitual long hours, 24/7 email availability and weekend work, developing more progressive parental leave policies and accommodating the demands of childcare and caring for dependant relatives.

SHARING THE REWARDS OF SUCCESS The Trust is designed so that everyone has a stake in maintaining the productivity and profitability of the studio, and a share in its financial success. Salary levels will be set so that every member of the employee team will continue to share proportionally in whatever financial success we achieve. A tax-free bonus pot equivalent to at least 15% of pre-tax profits will be ring-fenced and paid out to all qualifying staff pro-rata to salary.