aa studio – a+ in design & architecture for aa studio
Natasha Higgins talks to Aqib Ahmed, founder of aa studio, about his background, his business and his hopes for the future
In 2013 Aqib Ahmed founded aa studio – a service which brings together property developers, sustainability, creative design and a strategy for maximising profit. In short, a developer will approach aa studio with a proposed development site and aa’s role is to advise the developer on what they think can be achieved in regards to design, planning permission and overall development.
Aqib’s unique insight into the industry comes from his background working in the planning department at Newham Council after having graduated from Kingston University with a Degree in Architecture and a Masters in Urban Design & Town Planning. He started work on small projects such as applications for rear extensions to private houses and gradually moved on to larger ones including a mixed-use development in London’s Docklands with 300 units for which planning consent took two-and-half years.
“aa specialise in residential projects from small to large buildings and we carry out projects all over England,” explains Aqib. “We recently secured a site in Bow Road – an old clothing factory – for 73 flats. At the same time we’re designing a scheme of townhouses. The challenge is how to achieve sustainability, greenery, maximum light and a nice view from your bedroom or reception room window. It’s about people feeling excited to be living in their own home”.
The company currently has a total of four members, but is rapidly expanding. Aqib, whose father is a mechanical engineer in Lahore, was not entirely happy when his son chose to study architecture instead of engineering: “Much to my father’s disappointment, all I wanted to do was draw skyscrapers and design cities,” he explains.
His favourite architect is Zaha Hadid from the modern era and Michelangelo from the Renaissance.
London’s architecture doesn’t grab him but he likes Georgian buildings as they illustrate true craftsmanship – much more so than buildings of today.
Lahore is typical of mogul architecture – buildings designed using stones and bricks and with engravings of calligraphy.
He was inspired to study Urban Design and Town planning after his first degree when he started thinking about the city, the city’s future and its economy.
He hopes aa studio will become a large company able to compete with designs from the likes of Zaha Hadid and Peter Eisenman.
aa studio’s philosophy lies on not wanting to compromise on the quality of a project no matter how big the instruction.
For further information and services offered by aa studio including planning applications, building controls for all kind of projects, interior design and urban design – all available individually or collectively as a complete project solution, please visit www.aastudio.co.uk or contact: +44 (0)20 8598 1501
The digital interview is available at http://edition.pagesuite-professional.co.uk/launch.aspx?eid=7c94ecfb-50d6-4802-bbae-d0134e5d00c2