‘We use AI to test our designs not to generate them’

We work through our initial design ideas exclusively through physical modelmaking and hand drawing.

Are you using any new design techniques, such as AI?
Yes, we are using MidJourney as a tool to generate mood, context and composition for our project imagery. Contrary to what seems to be discussed in the press, this is at the end of the design process to test material and composition, not as a design generator at the start.

Much of the work to date is through existing contacts, but we are currently making an effort to research and work locally.

What are the biggest challenges facing yourself as a start-up and the profession generally? The biggest challenge for the industry, particularly in the UK, is intelligent reuse, classification of existing building materials and effective evaluation of existing structures. Looking to the continent, we are woefully behind. Changing building regulations around timber construction is also paramount.

Which scheme, completed in the last five years, has inspired you most?
Lacaton & Vassal is the practice whose work has made the most important shift in contemporary architectural culture, especially its project at Grand Parc Bordeaux. As for the UK, I have always loved the focused work of Witherford Watson Mann.

Source:Philippe Ruault

We aim to be known for our innovative and curious interpretation of traditional and contemporary building language

We practise from the Weald in Kent because it is simply beautiful and inspiring. Working in the home counties puts us in dialogue with a rich tapestry of traditional building. By innovating on pre-modern principles and stepping away from standardisation, we hope to make buildings that feel both old and new at the same time.

We specialise in contemporary timber construction

Papas Park Community Centre proposals in Brixton by AOMD


How are you marketing yourselves?
Word of mouth mainly. Locally, we are working with some marketing professionals and magazines, also reaching out to craftsmen, artists and creatives who share similar values.

I fear that economic slowdown will put environmental issues in building design, procurement and construction on the backburner. Quick housebuilding will use easy materials and traditional build-ups rather than take time to advocate and put into practice future-proof solutions. It’s very important to get clients to invest in sourcing [in terms of materials].

Where have you come from?
Michael worked at Stirling Prize-winning Mæ architects for 10 years. His last completed building was the Stirling shortlisted Sands End Arts and Community Centre. Amy has previously worked for Assemble and Groupwork.

Website address www.aomd.co.uk

Practice name AOMD (Architectural Office Michael Dillon)
Based Tunbridge Wells
Founded  July 2022
Main people Michael Dillon (director) Amy Grounsell (graduate architect)

We specialise in contemporary timber construction. We are committed to working with talented structural engineers to design less intrusive and emissive sub and super structures, and we work hard to reconfigure existing fabric, minimising new build where possible.

Source:Rory Gaylor

We aim to advocate a change in building culture, through practical example and vernacular research; to be known for our innovative and curious interpretation of traditional and contemporary building language.

What are your ambitions?
Our ambition is to create a small practice where we support and develop the interests of all the people who work with us, enjoying variety in our work. We aim to stay based rurally. We want to make buildings that are tactile and where no one feels out of place, spaces that feel like large pieces of furniture.

What work do you have and what kind of projects are you looking for?
We like to work with curious clients. The scale or type of work isn’t really an issue; we have projects in the office from bespoke timber furniture to community centres and regenerative landscape masterplans. We like projects where there is a lot of dialogue and iteration; where we learn from working with clients and the output is unexpected.

Maison Lapatie, Bordeaux, France, by Lacaton & Vassal

Garden Studio by AOMD