Waltham Forest Design Award shortlist

Christopher Robbins Woodland Walk at Leyton Jubilee Park has been shortlisted for the Waltham Forest Design Award. Recognised by the judges for its Exemplar Design qualities, you can now vote for it through the People’s Choice Award.

Planning permission for new Sixth Form Centre

Slough Borough Council has consented the planned rooftop extension to Ditton Park Academy that will create a distinct new Sixth Form Centre for the school. The highly sustainable building will provide expanded flexible teaching and social facilities, which can also be used by the local community. See project here.

William Morris Big Local co-design workshop

We recently held a successful design workshop, developing ideas for a new community storage and garden on derelict site in Walthmstow. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of William Morris Big Local, the Forest Recycling Project and dedicated local residents the project is generating a lot of support and excitement.

Jubilee Park Woodland Walk now open

The Christopher Robbins Woodland Walk at Leyton Jubilee Park is now open to the public. Download the trail map (bitly.ws/L5Mk) to explore and learn surprising facts about the physical, natural, and social history of this wonderful place

New sixth form centre for Ditton Park Academy in Slough

A planning application has been submitted for rooftop extension of the existing school building to provide expanded and improved facilities for the Sixth Form in one location. The highly sustainable design creates a distinctive crowning element to the school and provides a range of flexible teaching and social spaces. See project here.

Roland Karthaus speaking at MIPIM 2023

In his role with the Design Council, Matter Director Roland is attending MIPIM in Cannes this year as an invited speaker on three panels: partnership working, Inclusion & Diversity and Transport. Panel details here.

Development framework for Luton estate regeneration

Matter have completed a Development Framework for Luton council to explore the potential for regeneration of a postwar estate. Proposals retain all existing homes and include options for new infill housing with up to 150 new homes, a new community hub, improved public and private spaces and better connections across the neighbourhood.

Public consultation events for Markhouse Corner establish preferred options

Waltham Forest and Matter have undertaken a series of consultation events to engage with the public and local community on our proposed improvements to Markhouse Corner. Feedback from local people will inform a preferred concept design idea that will be developed as the project progresses. See the consultation material here.

Nature trail for Leyton Jubilee Park

Matter has been developing an exciting new nature trail in Leyton Jubilee Park. The pillars are designed using low-carbon cement and recycled aggregates such as brick, limestone and glass.

Public realm design strategy for London Borough of Waltham Forest

Working with Churchman Thornhill Finch, Light Follows Behaviour and Ian Sayer & Co, Matter has completed the first stage public realm strategy and concept design options study for the Markhouse Corner neighbourhood centre in Walthamstow.

School projects in Slough

We are delighted to have been appointed by the SASH Education Trust to design improved facilities for two schools in Slough- Ditton Park Academy and Grove Academy.

Planning permission for new Outdoor Learning & Community Centre for The Grange

Our project for new learning facilities to be built for The Grange Centre for People with Disabilities in Bookham has been granted permission by Mole Valley DC. The complex of new and refurbished buildings will provide a wide range of activity spaces to support the charity’s ‘Skills For Life’ training programme. See project here.

Strategic Design Brief for Ealing Older Adults Accommodation

Ealing Council has adopted our Strategic Design Brief for older adults’ housing across the borough. The model was developed with social impact experts Mobilise and demonstrates how better housing design can reduce the need for health and social care.

Civic Trust Awards 2022

Murdoch’s Connection bridge, with its landscaped public spaces, has been selected as one of only two Regional Finalists in the awards for the Yorkshire & Humberside region and is shortlisted for the national CivicTrust Awards 2022. See the project here.

Murdoch’s Connection bridge in Hull wins a Structural Steel Award

The bridge won a Commendation at the 2021 BCSA Structural Steel Awards for Highways England, Arup, SH Structures, Tilbury Douglas Construction and Matter. The judges commented “it is not just a bridge but an integral part of a new urban public space”. See project here.

West Hendon Community Hub

We’re working with Metropolitan Housing, Barnet Council, Mobilise and the residents of West Hendon to design a new community hub in a new housing scheme. We’re developing the layout of the space and helping establish the community organisation that will manage it once it opens to ensure sustainability.

Matter in New Architects 4

The Architecture Foundation celebrates the work of Britain’s best new architecture practices in a book launched this week. A short film exploring Matter’s approach to designing with communities accompanies the book. See New Architects 4 here and see our film here.

New footbridge opens to the public over the A63 in Hull city centre

Now named ‘Murdoch’s Connection’ (originally Princes Quay Bridge), the new pedestrian bridge designed by Arup and Matter is now open. As well as the distinctive canopy-suspended bridge the design includes new landscaped public spaces at both sides. It has already become a landmark in Hull’s identity. See project here

The London Society webinar programme: four events in March

Matter is curating a programme of online seminars for the London Society on the future of London, together with The Assembly Line. The first seminar will explore the concept of sustainable and inclusive cities with Professor Moreno, the originator of Paris’s 15 Minute City policy, and will be chaired by Matter’s Roland Karthaus.

Freedom and belonging: article published on housing and ageing

The Quality of Life Foundation, a pan-industry body established to improve the design of housing for health and wellbeing, has published an opinion piece written by Matter Director Roland Karthaus. It shows how the Foundation’s activities marry with our own research on intergenerational housing. Read it here

New outdoor learning centre at The Grange

We are delighted to have been selected by The Grange Centre for People with Disabilities to design their new outdoor learning facilities at Bookham, Surrey. We look forward to working closely with the staff and people they support to co-design new spaces for a range of horticulture, creative arts and community uses.

National High Streets Task Force

Matter Director Roland Karthaus has been appointed as a High Streets Task Force Expert as part of a national initiative to support local authorities and communities to transform their high streets. Read about the Task Force here.

Matter and Studio Berman present shortlisted proposal for public space competition

Matter’s Roland Karthaus and Zoë Berman of Studio Berman will present their shortlisted proposal for radically rethinking public space at The Developer’s Festival of Place Bytesize. The event is free and takes place on Wed 30th Sep at 9.45am. Register here.

Design Council & JRF homeless housing research

In June, Matter’s Roland Karthaus was commissioned by Design Council and Joseph Rowntree Foundation to research a housing strategy for homeless people. A wide-ranging stakeholder group, including homeless people was convened online to work through the complex issues and a summary report published here.

Major new competition to re-imagine Network Rail’s stations

Jonathan McDowell is acting as a judge and RIBA Architect Adviser for Network Rail’s competition to re-imagine stations in the 21st century as the interface between community and railway. The competition is in three stages, from open concept ideas through to deliverable detailed designs. See the Competition Brief here.

Matter selected for ‘New Architects 4’

Matter will be included in The Architecture Foundation’s forthcoming publication on the best British architectural practices established in the past ten years

London Society Journal article on Walthamstow High Street

Before the COVID 19 outbreak, Matter’s Roland Karthaus wrote about the strengths of Walthamstow High Street, the challenges it faces and Matter’s work to enhance it.  Now, supporting the future of the High Street seems more critical than ever.  Article here

Revolutionary low-rise housing and tightening the Greenbelt

During January, Roland Karthaus will be chairing an RIBA seminar and discussion on recently published housing research and joining a panel to debate the tightening of the Greenbelt at Architect @ Work conference in London.

Rethinking intergenerational housing

Matter has published the findings of a year-long grant-funded research project as an online resource. Local authorities, housing providers, the GLA and others attended a workshop to explore next steps to implementation. Matter are continuing to develop pilot schemes with Ealing and Camden Councils. See the research here

Princes Quay Bridge installed over A63

The new Princes Quay Bridge structure was successfully transported down the A63 and installed over the dual-carriageway in the centre of Hull on Saturday night. The extensive landscaped approaches either side will now be constructed before the bridge opens to the public in spring 2020. See project here. For time-lapse movie see https://youtu.be/eUF1iuoTYPo

Princes Quay Bridge construction advances

Site assembly of the prefabricated steelwork for the new pedestrian/cycle bridge is now well-advanced on vacant land beside the A63 in the centre of Hull. The bridge structure will shortly be wheeled into its final position, spanning over the highway, before the landscaped approaches and public realm works are completed.

Waltham Forest Mayor opens Linear Park Plot Lines

Cllr Robbins, Mayor of Waltham Forest officially opened the new Linear Park designed and delivered by Matter and artist Lucy Harrison on the 27th July. Peggy and Bert Webster, who lived on the street for decades before the houses were demolished cut the cake and local residents enjoyed herb-flavoured food and drinks.

Matter at upcoming international conferences

Matter is sharing our research work with global audiences at international conferences in the autumn: we’ll be in Ghent, Belgium to present our award-winning work on improving prison design for health and wellbeing; and in London to present the findings of our intergenerational housing study at the Healthy City Design forum.

Ealing older people’s housing

Following a successful funding application to the GLA supported by Matter, Ealing Council have now appointed us to develop a strategy for redeveloping outdated housing sites across the Borough. Nine pilot sites will form a first phase with a broader mix of provision and better service delivery through innovative design.

Clapham Park placemaking strategy

15 years after Director Roland Karthaus worked on the original masterplan for 3,500 homes, Matter have now been appointed to develop a placemaking strategy for Clapham Park in southwest London by Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing. The first phase, including public art and wayfinding will be implemented in 2020.

Design Council training for Waltham Forest planning team

Matter Director Roland Karthaus and Penoyre & Prasad Director Gillian Horne worked together with the Design Council to provide training to Waltham Forest Council’s development management and planning team. The initiative is aimed at raising design standards in the borough.

Healthy housing should not be a radical idea

Matter’s Roland Karthaus argues for housing to rediscover its purpose to support health and wellbeing for all in new industry journal Housing Today. Read the article here

Shortlisted for Education Architect of the Year Award 2019

Matter are delighted to have been shortlisted for BD’s prestigious ‘Architect of the Year Award in the Education category for our series of projects that expand the early years and community outreach programme for Clapham Manor Primary School. These include expansion of a nursery, a new Family Centre and a new community art space.

AJ Opinion piece on garden cities published

In the Architect’s Journal Matter’s Roland Karthaus argues that the original Garden City movement has lost its way. Only by intensifying Garden Towns and Cities can the original visionary principles of healthy, sustainable living be rediscovered. Read the article here

GLA funding for Linear Park Plot Lines

Matter have been awarded a GLA Greener City Fund grant to expand community engagement in our project for Linear Park in Leytonstone with artist Lucy Harrison. Working with community gardener Carole Wright, residents will be supported to cultivate spaces within the new landscape, which will be planted during 2019. GCF website here

A417 ‘Missing Link’ project for Highways England

Matter have been appointed to join Mott MacDonald Sweco’s team as bridge architect for a green bridge and various other bridges which will be required to allow walkers, cyclist, riders, wildlife and vehicles to cross the proposed improved section of highway in the highly sensitive Cotswolds AONB.

RIBA President’s Awards for Research Winner

Matter’s research work on prison design for health and wellbeing, has won the Ethics and Sustainable Development award at the RIBA President’s Awards in December. Our paper will be published in the Journal of Architecture in 2019. See the article here.

Princes Quay Bridge construction starts

Construction of the £12m bridge over the A63 in Hull for Highways England has started on site. The bridge and extensive public realm works at both sides will greatly improve pedestrian and cycle connection between the city centre and waterfront. Matter are continuing to work with Arup on the design of the associated works. See project here.

RIBA President’s Awards for Research

Matter have been shortlisted for the RIBA President’s Awards for Research annual theme of Ethics & Sustainable Development for our work on wellbeing in prison design. The winners will be announced at this year’s President’s Medals ceremony in December.

See our entry here

Housing LIN blog on better housing for ageing

Matter’s Roland Karthaus welcomes the new Age-Friendly Housing design publication and argues that a step-change is critical to making housing better for all ages. Read the blog here

Intergenerational housing research and pilot projects commissioned

Matter have been awarded funding by Innovate UK to research and develop an intergenerational housing model. As well as supporting our grant application, Camden Council have also commissioned us to develop a pilot intergenerational housing scheme in Camden.

Intergenerational housing image

Clapham Manor Children’s Centre

Matter’s project to expand the existing centre was recently handed over and is now being enjoyed by the children, staff and parents. This is the first phase of our masterplan for the site, to better integrate it with the surrounding housing, health centre and public realm. See the project here.

International interest in prison design

Matter’s research and development work with the Ministry of Justice to improve prison design for health and wellbeing recently featured on a Radio 4 documentary (podcast here) and in Wired magazine (read here). Our design guide, funded by the RIBA and Innovate UK can be downloaded here.

Public art competition for Walthamstow High Street

As part of our Walthamstow High Street commission, Matter is helping Waltham Forest organise a competition to select an artist who will work with us to deliver a public realm installation. Proposals will be pitched at a public event on 16th September in the town square. See more here.

Walthamstow High Street strategy

Walthamstow is a thriving town centre, at the heart of London’s first Borough of Culture and home to Europe’s longest street market.  A team led by Matter have been chosen by Waltham Forest Council to deliver a strategy and pilot public realm projects for strengthening and enhancing the High Street and town centre.

Castleford Bridge 10th Anniversary celebrated

The local community in Castleford organised a day of celebrations and a photographic exhibition to mark the 10th anniversary of the opening of the multi-award winning footbridge designed by McDowell+Benedetti.

Community arts space funding bid for Clapham Manor

Matter have drawn up concept designs to convert an industrial building into a community arts space for Clapham Manor primary school. The scheme is being submitted as a bid for grant funding.

Network Rail Footbridge Design Ideas Competition launched

Jonathan McDowell is acting as RIBA Adviser on the recently launched international competition to find innovative design ideas to significantly improve the quality of future bridges across the rail network.

Epping, Harlow and Gilston Town Quality Review Panels

Harlow and Gilston Garden Town is a partnership of five District and County Councils delivering 16,000 new homes by 2033. Roland Karthaus joins the Quality Review panels for the Garden Town as well as Epping Forest District Council, launched this week. The panel will ensure the Garden City principles are embedded in new development.

Harlow and Gilston Garden Town

Transport for London’s ‘Architecture, Design and Urbanism Panel’

Matter have been appointed to TfL’s prestigious ADUP framework for Transport Design, to support the Mayor of London’s regeneration programmes and other public sector funded projects in London.

Matter ‘one to watch’

FX design magazine features Matter Architecture in its March issue as ‘one to watch’. The international design magazine highlights leading designers from the fields of art, product design and architecture.

HS2 Independent Design Panel

Jonathan McDowell has been appointed to join HS2’s Independent Design Panel- acting as an architect with expertise in bridge design to help HS2 deliver design excellence across the new national high speed rail network.

Roland Karthaus and Lily Bernheimer on collaborative design for wellbeing

Matter Director Roland Karthaus and environmental psychologist Lily Bernheimer discuss their collaboration for the Wellbeing in Prison Design project in Architecture Today (February 2018). They propose that interdisciplinary working is key to providing for people’s health and wellbeing in the built environment.  Read the article here

Matter and Lucy Harrison win competition for new public landscape project in Leyton

Our winning scheme for Linear Park in Leyton is part of Making Places, an initiative funded by Waltham Forest Council to deliver creative projects across the borough.  Plot Lines traces the previous housing on the site in strips of lavender, with historic stories inscribed on plaques amongst meadow grasses and flowers. Full details here

Development brief for complex site in central Walthamstow

Matter have been appointed by Waltham Forest Council to draw up a development brief for a site in central Walthamstow. The brief will unlock a complex, constrained site to deliver a new, mixed-use development at a pivotal location for the regeneration of the town centre.

Wellbeing in Prison Design Guide launched

Matter’s team including policy experts and an environmental psychologist have published guidance on prison design to support rehabilitation. Funded by Innovate UK and the RIBA, the team worked alongside the Ministry of Justice’s new prison programme and carried out primary research in HMP Berwyn. The report is available here.

Planning Appeal win

Matter’s design for 7 new flats and two new houses on a tight former garage site in Hendon has won planning consent at Appeal. See the project here.

RIBA Shinfield Community Centre competition

Jonathan McDowell has been appointed as RIBA Advisor on the design competition for a new community centre in Shinfeld, Berkshire. Details here.

RIBA Planning Advisory group

Roland Karthaus has been selected to join the RIBA’s Planning Advisory group.  In his statement, Roland argues for reform of the online planning system, so that policies, plans and consents are more publicly accessible, transparent and predictable. Full details here

Clapham Manor Children’s Centre on site

Construction work has started on Matter’s scheme for the expansion of childcare provision offered by Clapham Manor school.  The project follows a successful funding bid based on our masterplan for the centre and is due to open in early 2018.  See the project here.

Elderly housing scheme to deliver Homes for Londoners

Matter’s almshouse scheme for Pathways Housing Trust has been awarded funding by the Mayor of London to deliver genuinely affordable housing in Ealing as part of the Homes for Londoners programme.  A planning application will be submitted later this month.  See the project here.

Major step forward in the regeneration of Catford

Over the past year, Matter has been supporting Lewisham Council in planning the regeneration of Catford.  In July, the Mayor and Cabinet approved proposals to reconfigure the South Circular Road, which will radically transform the town centre environment.  We are continuing to explore the future of Catford with the Council. Details here

Opinion piece published in RSA Journal on co-design

Matter’s Roland Karthaus argues for the critical importance of co-design in producing better, longer-lasting and more beautiful architecture in the latest edition of the RSA Journal – read the article here

‘Bridge: Heritage of Connecting Places & Cultures’ conference

Jonathan McDowell will speak at the conference and present our ‘Playing The Bridge’ project which, as part of Hull 2017 UK City of Culture, allowed people to explore the sonic potential and physicality of Scale Lane Bridge through a series of workshops, performances and audio-visual installation.

Clapham Manor Children’s Centre expansion

Lambeth Council has granted planning consent for our scheme to expand Clapham Manor Children’s Centre. This is the first phase of our wider masterplan to comprehensively improve the centre. Construction is expected to commence soon.

Reforming prison design conference

Roland Karthaus will talk about his current RIBA Research Trust Award work to improve prison environments for health and wellbeing at an international conference at the RIBA on 2nd June. Leading academic Yvonne Jewkes is convening the conference to share international expertise on reforming prison architecture.

Lake Lothing third crossing, Lowestoft

Suffolk County Council have appointed Jonathan McDowell as architectural design adviser to support the design team on the design of the £73m project for a major new bridge connection for the town.


Clapham Manor Children’s Centre expansion

Following a successful funding application, Matter have now submitted a detailed planning application for the expansion of Clapham Manor Children’s centre. This building will form the first piece of our wider masterplan to comprehensively improve the centre and connect it with neighboring services and the community.

Innovate UK funding award

Matter has been awarded a grant by Innovate UK to improve the design of prison environments.  Working with an environmental psychologist, we will engage with the Ministry of Justice’s current Prison Estate Transformation Programme to embed design measures that promote health and wellbeing with the goal of reducing reoffending.

Playing the Bridge performance

Sunday was a brilliant sunny day for people to enjoy hitting metal on Scale Lane Bridge. Hull Community Gamelan and York University musicians played Javanese gamelan on the bridge roof terrace. Led by composer Nye Parry, workshop members and The Assembled then played the brige itself to create an amazing sonic exploration.


Clapham Manor Children’s Centre expansion

Having helped secure government funding, Matter are now working with Clapham Manor Primary School to deliver the first phase of our comprehensive masterplan to expand one of their children’s centres.


Playing the Bridge

Workshops on 25/26 February explored the sounds and engineering of Scale Lane Bridge in preparation for 26 March performance and audio-visual installation in April organised by composer Nye Parry, artist Madi Boyd and Matter. Participants included students from York and Hull universities, Hull Community Gamelan and City of Culture Volunteers. Event information can be found here:  https://www.facebook.com/PlayingTheBridge/



Jonathan McDowell spoke about bridge design at Architect@Work on Wednesday 25th January 2017 at Olympia London


Supporting Women in Architecture

Matter is proud to be a Partner of the Women in Architecture initiative, established by the Architects Journal and the Architectural Review.

Urban design strategies for Lewisham

Matter have been appointed by Lewisham Council to carry out strategic urban design studies in southeast London.

Public exhibition of elderly housing scheme

Local people braved a wet day to come and discuss our emerging proposals for affordable, elderly housing in Ealing.

The ideas cloud

Working with St James Big Local, Waltham Forest Council and students from the University of East London, Matter delivered an event structure to inspire people to share ideas for the future of a ‘meanwhile’ site in Walthamstow. The best ideas will be used to transform the existing car park into a longer-term, active community space.

Playing the bridge

Grant awarded by Creative Communities Programme to turn Scale Lane Bridge into a giant musical instrument for Hull 2017 UK City of Culture. Matter will collaborate with composer Nye Parry, artist Madi Boyd, and Hull Community Gamelan on workshops, performance and installations to allow people to explore the sonic potential of the bridge.

How Super Cool Stuff Works

Scale Lane Bridge included as one of the ‘breathtaking structures’ in new book ”How Super Cool Stuff Works” published by Dorling Kindersley (www.dk.com)

Affordable and sustainable elderly housing

Matter has been appointed by elderly housing charity Pathways to design new, modern Almshouses with an emphasis on biodiversity and cultivation.

Family centre gains consent

Matter has gained planning approval from Lambeth Council for a new family centre on the edge of Clapham Common in the Metropolitan Open Land. The new building will provide Special Educational Needs nursery facilities and act as a ‘Natural Thinkers’ resource centre for families to explore the Common.

Research Award

RIBA Research Trust Award 2016 granted to Roland Karthaus for ‘Building Rehabilitative Spaces’ research project, which looks at how prisons and MoJ land can be designed and used to support rehabilitation amongst offenders.

Speculative office conversion at 250 Tottenham Court Road completed.

New Lea Valley sailing club scheme

Matter Architecture have been appointed to assist King George Sailing Club in preparing a regeneration masterplan, and to develop exciting new proposals for a bank-side clubhouse.

Spencer Tunick’s fantastic Sea of Hull installation- including 1000 people riding on Scale Lane Bridge!

Matter Architecture launched and opens new office in Bethnal Green.