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[Y/N] Studio is a creative platform established to ask questions of the built environment  

The complexity associated with designing and constructing our cities is astounding and a great deal of architecture serves only to add complexity.  We think the role of the designer is to question these established but convoluted processes and reduce complexity.

We work with the various inputs, histories, technologies and constraints with which we are presented to formulate a response rather than imposing an abstract theology, manifesto or style.  We, as architects, are editors of the process.  The questions, and the problems, can be incredibly complex, but a successful answer should be as simple as Yes or No.

While disparate in nature, scale, form and material, our projects are all characterised by a combination of pragmatic problem solving and idealistic ingenuity. We call this approach Pragmatic Idealism.

Since forming as a company in 2017,  we have been working on a diverse range of commissions, including carefully detailed residential extensions, 100+ multi-unit housing schemes, a large workspace in Dalston, A masterplan in Portugal,  a mixed-use tower in South London and a footbridge for Network Rail.

In 2019 we completed our first project, a carefully detailed prefabricated timber and glass house.  Notable other projects include a competition winning scheme for 4 coastal holiday homes in Kent, which are designed as a continuous spiral of floorplates to maximise sea views and reduce circulation space.  More recently we gained planning permission for our largest scheme to date, a 49 home mixed use project in Strood which combines traditional vernacular roof forms with a traditional courtyard housing project.

In 2022 we completed the extension and refurbishment of the Bradbury Street Workspaces which face onto Gillett Square in Hackney. Bradbury Works includes around 1500m2 of new and refurbished affordable workspaces, and start-up retail units which will help to ensure continuity of the unique and diverse community that has emerged since the square was constructed nearly 20 years ago.

The people who work with us are talented and ambitious with backgrounds working in across Europe for internationally recognized practices. As a studio we are active in teaching and academia and appreciate the importance of architectural education. Director Alex Smith currently teaches at Oxford Brookes University, University of Westminster, Canterbury School of Architecture and London Metropolitan University.

Approach ︎

Our Values Add Value

We combine the needs of our clients with the needs of the local community and end user.

We challenge planning policy while working collaboratively with the local authority.

We balance ambitious design with market awareness.

We deliver high quality sustainable buildings using the latest technology.

1.  Working Together

At the start of every project we ask questions to determine the aspirations of the client, a budget and a timescale. Collaboration is the key to this process, we tailor our services to suit the brief.

We will rise to any challenge, whether it be to deliver a school in time for the start of the next academic year, to work with local communities to determine what they need, or to maximise the floor area of a development and it's public realm.

2.  Learning from the Context

Every site is unique and so is every response. Our approach balances all of the site constraints leading to innovative architectural solutions.

We analyse the topography, history, climate and character before settling on an appropriate solution. We research the cultural and legislative context and establish clear dialogues with all stakeholders. We have a 100% planning success rate.

3.  Innovative Design

We challenge ourselves to find answers to all of the established project requirements. The right solution will deliver greater value to you, the context and the building users.

We develop ideas and concepts quickly working with sketches, physical models and digital multimedia. We utilise virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) to allow you to understand your building before construction.

4.  Delivering Quality

Delivery is at the heart of our practice and we work tirelessly to ensure the finished project exceeds expectation.  

Our team are talented and ambitious with backgrounds designing and delivering projects totalling over £1 billion for internationally recognised practices. Through this experience we are well equipped to lead multidisciplinary consultant teams of specialists to bring projects from the concept to completion.

From the outset we use Computer Aided Design (CAD) to improve accuracy and efficiency.  We work with Building Information Modelling (BIM) to ensure well-crafted and fully co-ordinated buildings that can be delivered on time and on budget.

5.  Sustainability

We strive to reduce the impact of our work on the environment and so we monitor sustainability on all of our projects. We work with our clients to set appropriate and achievable targets from the outset.

For us an environmentally aware approach starts from the first sketches considering orientation and form. We look to maximise natural light and natural ventilation. We carefully select materials to be environmentally friendly and renewable from the cladding to the interior finishes. We aim for any additional upfront costs to be offset through bill reduction or a longer product lifespan.

Our team has experience of the relevant accreditation including BREEAM and LEED.

People ︎

Alex Smith

Founding Director

Alex Smith is an architect based in London. He has previous experience of working in Copenhagen for Julien De Smedt and in London for Hawkins/Brown where he completed a series of innovative award winning buildings including The Cube Building in Hackney and Hilden Grange Prep School in Kent.

Alex studied at the Royal College of Art and has taught 3rd year at Canterbury School of Architecture since 2012. He has also been a visiting critic and workshop co-ordinator at the RCA, The University of Brighton, Oxford Brookes and Central St Martins.  Since 2018 he has been a visiting examiner on the professional practice Part 3 course at London Metropolitan University.

Alex leads all studio projects using his significant experience in design and delivery of a variety of building types.  Since forming [Y/N] Studio Ltd in January 2017 he has pushed every project they have undertaken to its maximium potential with support from a talented and growing team.

Team (past and present) ︎

Elena Gruber
Maegan Icke
Stanley Chick
Edward Crooks
Michael Waters
Raffaela Swoboda
Ayse Cagin Bailey
David Lomax
Margherita Zompa
Carolina Borgatti
Daniel Ford
Ainhoa Valle
Ezmira Peraj
Roxani Tseranidou
Luna Ozbek

Jobs ︎

We are always interested to hear from talented people as we look to expand our team.  We believe that a competitive meritocracy leads to the best projects. All team members of [Y/N] Studio are expected to contribute design ideas and criticism and as a result our projects evolve without single ownership.

To be considered, please email your CV/short portfolio to us at:

We will review every CV and keep them on file, if you do not hear from us you have not been considered for a position at this time.

Services ︎

Interior Design
Urban Design / Masterplanning
Landscape Design
Principle Designer
Computer Generated Images
Model Making
Clients ︎

Tech City Ventures
Pocket Living.
Gung Ho Communications.
Hackney Co-operative Developments CIC.
The Greater London Authority.
L&Q Housing Association.
Kurapatwa Ltd.
Setha Group.
Shetson Properties.
Folkestone and Hythe District Council.
New Horizon Youth Centre.
Oslo Architecture Trienale.
Broads Authrority Norfolk.
St Martins Church Brighton.
Cabildo de Lanzarote (Lanzarote Council)
The Landscape Institute
Guimaraes Capital of Culture 2012, Portugal.

Contact ︎

[Y/N] Studio
1A Autumn Yard,
39 Autumn Street,
E3 2TT,
T: 020 8050 3736

General Enquiries