London and Hertfordshire
Managing Director and CEO Yasmin Shariff MA DipArch RIBA took over Sharp Architects in 2010 when her husband Dennis died. Yasmin trained at the Architectural Association and the Bartlett University College London and joined her husband as a partner of Sharp Architects in 1992. The business has grown considerably and Sharp Architects work in collaboration with well established, professionally qualified networks of specialists to deliver cost effective outstanding projects.
Sharp Architects has a wealth of expertise working on listed buildings and new builds in the public, private and residential sectors. Based in Clerkenwell - London and Epping Green - Hertfordshire the practice is well placed to undertake a wide range of projects, The portfolio of projects includes care homes, developer housing, racecourses, schools, dance studios, exhibitions and installations as well as private homes, refurbishments and extensions.
Sharp Architects are currently working on a number of their own developments including a hotel, housing and refurbishments, so have hands on experience of funding mechanisms, building costs, opportunities and constraints.
Sharp Architects holistic and environmental approach nurtures creative and distinctive designs with exciting projects built in straw, cork and clay. 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 office specialises in obtaining planning consent for whole-house refurbishments and extensions in North London and around Hertford.
Sharp Architects designs have been published in national newspapers, for winning awards, which have been featured on Sky TV and the BBC.
Sharp Architects provides opportunities for young students to nurture their creative talents and assist in a wide range of pro-bono projects. The practice has helped design an adult education centre in Aswan, helped build dams in the Sinai and are currently working on a community centre in the Isle of Dogs and an ecoplay centre in Montserrat. Yasmin has volunteered her services to many government and professional boards including the East of England Development Agency, RIBA and the Architectural Association where she was elected as a trustee and Hon Secretary.
Sharp Architects, has won several awards including a lottery grant to build a strawbale dance studio; and an EU Thermie Research award for innovative sustainable design. The Malcolm Dean Heritage Award for the restoration of a very early thin wall concrete house by Colin Lucas (Connell, Ward and Lucas) was the first time a modernist building was recognized for its exemplar restoration.
Yasmin’s expertise on listed buildings is extensive and includes work on Ascot Racecourse, Robert Adam’s first house in London and many listed and heritage homes in and around London and the South East. The heritage work is supported by significant research much of which is published in peer reviewed journals. Yasmin has contributed many articles and spoken at events internationally including at Princeton University, the Design Museum, the Architectural Association and at several Universities and many conferences and seminars.
She has devised several highly successful projects including Landmark East, which generated over £4m of free advertising for the Regional Development Agency and won an advertising award. Her initiatives to help students and women get better access to the profession have been remarkably successful. The professional module she invented for the University of Westminster enables over a hundred students to gain work experience annually and her idea for AAXX, a centenary project to research, record and celebrate the talents of women who trained at the Architectural Association has gained international recognition and contributed to many Wiki pages.
Yasmin has been a member of several governmental and professional bodies including the UK Government’s Round Table for Sustainable Development where she championed environmental issues in the built environment. As a non-executive director of the East of England Development Agency she campaigned for better housing standards and innovative commercial buildings. She was elected as a member of the Architects Registration Board and a trustee and Hon Secretary of both the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Architectural Association. She served as branch Chair of the RIBA Hertfordshire Association of Architects and RIBA Regional Chair for the East of England.
Dennis 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 groundbreaking. 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.
Dennis loved 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 the 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