Practice Profile: RCKa Architects

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-based architecture studio, RCKa, whose folly, supported by Lendlease, interprets the identity of #WomenLikeAlice (more about that here), to find out more about the firm and the reason why they chose #WomenLikeAlice. 

Why did you choose your extraordinary woman?
We chose to celebrate women, not a woman. To celebrate the everyday contemporary women who are active in making a positive contribution to their community. To collect and display their stories to help inspire other people. Alice acts as the figurehead to celebrate all women in the local community who have set up small charities or go above and beyond. The idea is that people will be able to relate to everyday women like Alice and in turn inspire them to help others.

The folly is a public tool to inspire and empower. A collective resource that encourages Londoner's from all walks of life to listen, learn, share and be empowered by contemporary stories of extraordinary women from across the capital. Our city is full of stories of women whose everyday experiences and surprising ingenuity can offer both hope and inspiration to encourage others to make meaningful contributions to their local communities. 

The folly offers a staging point to hear inspiring everyday stories but also to share your own, an opportunity to take something away as well as leave your mark. After the festival, the folly will be flat-packed to enable it to embark on a journey across London. Setting up shop in other locations, carrying stories with it and collecting new ones along the way.

What is your practice best known for?
RCKa has an ethos of socially responsible architecture, responding to place and people to bring together both social and economic value.

What have you got on the drawing board at the moment?
An exciting project that we are working on at the moment is HNCC, Highgate Newtown Community Centre in Camden. We are working with the council and the local community to help to secure a long term future of this valuable local asset. 

What is your favourite RCKa project?
A really great project that we have recently completed is The Granville, a mixed use space and community hub in south Kilburn. For the past two years we have been working to bring together a diverse of different stake holders and users together all under the roof of this 19th century church hall owned by Brent Council. Working with a tight budget the focus was on openness and flexibility. Using a palette of low-cost materials in a playful way, creating a series of open studios arranged around a bright blue staircase. 

How does your folly reflect the approach of RCKa?
In a way, the folly can be seen as an extension of our ethos. We already have plans to repurpose the folly as an engagement to tool, to take it on another journey to gather more stories. 


About RCka
RCKa is a pioneering practice that expands the traditional role of the architect, producing socially responsive architecture – beautifully crafted buildings that realise both social and economic value - to unlock development opportunities for clients and communities.

Third Floor
29 – 31 Cowper Street
London EC2A 4AT

+44 (0) 207 831 7002

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

Olivia Mudie