Practice Profile: PRP

Interpreted Identities features ten installations from architects and artists. For each, designers chose to interpret the identity of an extraordinary woman through architectural means. 

Many of these extraordinary women worked and lived in this local area. These installations celebrate community and architecture in union on Union Street - London SE1.

We spoke to London studio, PRP, who has interpreted the identity of Dr James Barry (more about her here), to find out more about the firm and the reason why it chose James.

Why did you choose your extraordinary woman?
James Barry’s life story is to this day one of mystery and controversy. What we found fascinating was her perseverance in creating a different physical identity to enable her intellectual identity to flourish. 

Even though her contribution to feminism was only triggered post-mortem, the life-long deception generated, alongside a captivating story, a shift in society’s perception of genre specific professions. She made remarkable contributions to medicine in the early 19th century and set the scene for women practicing it later on. This installation portrays the dual identity of James Barry and Margaret Ann Bulkley by recreating the very item that facilitated her daily transformation: the wardrobe. By putting on a men’s suit and leaving her anatomy ‘in the closet’, Margaret found her own way to become the successful Dr. James Barry.

What is your practice best known for?
PRP is an interdisciplinary, design-led practice with over 50 years’ experience in housing design and masterplanning. We deliver intelligent, responsive and enduring design solutions through a collaborative and knowledge-based approach. In housing, we specialize in PRS schemes, social rent housing, mixed-use developments and estate regeneration projects.

What is on the drawing board?
We got a wide range of projects at the moment: mixed-use residential schemes, estate regeneration masterplans, infill sites across London, extra care schemes; productions of working drawings for large PRP schemes (currently on site): Wembley Park, Chobham Manor, Lewisham Gateway. We recently got planning consent for Clapham Park, the single largest approved detailed application in the history of the UK. 

What is your favourite PRP project?
My favourite completed project is Portobello Road Square. It is the most ambitious regeneration scheme in Kensington and Chelsea for decades, built around a newly created London square, with social housing seamlessly integrated with private housing to create a truly tenure-blind development of 1,000 new homes.

How does your folly reflect the approach of PRP?
Central to our culture and ethos is our desire to encourage employees to feel part of the wider PRP team, not only working on their everyday tasks but also aiming to incorporate a bit of fun in there too! 

We enjoy taking on design challenges and encourage everyone across the practice to get involved. Our folly, the wardrobe, was a collaboration between different teams across the practice: from visualizers, model shop, architects, artist, all sharing ideas. Building the wardrobe and setting it up was not only fun but also created a good work atmosphere. These activities are a breath of fresh air and bring co-workers together.

About PRP
PRP is a long-established architectural firm with over 100 awards to its name. An interdisciplinary practice, we offer a full range of design and building services including masterplanning, urban design, landscape, planning, interior design and development consultancy.

10 Lindsey Street

+44 (0)20 7653 1200

To find out more about the Interpreted Identities design challenge, click here.

Olivia Mudie