Dennis Sharp Architects was established in Manchester in 1965 by the well-known Modernist historian, architect and critic Dennis Sharp and moved to St Albans in 1968. The practice has a wealth of expertise working on listed buildings and new builds in the public, private and residential sectors. Based in Clerkenwell and Hertfordshire, the practice is well placed to undertake a wide range of projects. The practice portfolio includes racecourses, schools, dance studios, care homes, exhibitions and installations as well as private homes, refurbishments and extensions.
DSA has a well-established network of consultants and contractors with whom they work to ensure projects are delivered on time and within an agreed budget. DSA is currently working on a number of their own developments including a hotel, housing and refurbishments, giving them real-time experience of funding mechanisms, opportunities and constraints.
DSA undertakes a wide range of pro-bono work. In the last two years, they have helped design an adult education centre in Aswan, built dams in the Sinai, and helped in schools and colleges in the UK. Director, Yasmin Shariff, has volunteered her services on many government and professional boards. She was Hon Secretary of the RIBA and the Architectural Association. The office gives opportunities to young people to nurture their creative talents.
DSA’s holistic and environmental approach nurtures creative and distinctive designs with exciting projects built in straw, cork and cob. Complex projects such as the Listed Buildings at Ascot Racecourse have been reorganised, repaired and renewed for a new generation of racegoers. Energy and water bills are minimised and buildings are integrated into their surroundings maximising views and daylighting.
The Hertfordshire-based arm of the practice specialise in obtaining planning consent for whole-house refurbishments and extensions in North London and around Hertford.
DSA’s designs have been published in national newspapers, won awards and been featured on Sky TV and the BBC.
In 1992, Yasmin Shariff became a director of Dennis Sharp Architects. She has won several awards which includes a lottery grant to build a strawbale dance studio; an EU Thermie Research award for innovative sustainable design; and the Malcolm Dean Heritage Award for the restoration of a very early thin wall concrete house by Colin Lucas (Connell, Ward and Lucas).
She has conducted several highly successful projects including Landmark East, which generated over £4m of free advertising for the Regional Development Agency. Her professional module for the University of Westminster has grown from very strong with time and has enabled over a hundred students to gain work experience annually. The design of this module offers students, the opportunities they value above all other training experiences. Yasmin also started AAXX, a centenary project to research, record and celebrate the talents of women who trained at the Architectural Association.
Yasmin has contributed to several governmental and professional bodies. She was previously a member of the UK Government’s Round Table for Sustainable Development and a non-executive director of the East of England Development Agency. She was elected a member of the Architects Registration Board and a trustee and Hon Secretary of both the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Architectural Association.
She has been Branch Chair of the RIBA Hertfordshire Association of Architects, as well as the RIBA East of England Regional Chair.
Dennis Sharp (1933-2010) was best known as an author, teacher and critic, with countless articles, books, exhibitions, events and magazines to his name. He helped set up Docomomo International and worked tirelessly to save modern buildings from demolition. His work on Modernism, the MARS Group, Odeons, German Expressionism and Connell Ward & Lucas was ground-breaking. He was responsible for the citations for Sydney Opera House and the Fagus Factory when they were being considered for World Heritage status. He maintained an architectural practice throughout his working life. In 1992 he was joined by his wife Yasmin Shariff and together they were responsible for many building projects as well as exhibition designs.
Sharp liked construction, no doubt influenced by the fact that his father and grandfather were builders. His scholarship resulted in involvement on many complex and historic buildings including Chandos House by Robert Adam and Norman Foster’s famous Renault building in Swindon.
His expertise as an exhibition designer was highly sought after and he designed the influential Kurakawa and Calatrava exhibitions at the RIBA. This led to a collaboration with Santiago Calatrava on Trinity Bridge in Salford. He worked with Fast & Epp on the exhibition at Canada House of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics building, showcasing the works of Arthur Erikson and the design of a timber sculpture in Trafalgar square.