Piercy Conner Architects Create Bespoke Sustainable Architectural Solutions

Stuart Piercy

Born in October 1970 in Yorkshire and completed his Diploma in Architecture in 1993-95 from National University of Singapore, Stuart Piercy joined Nicholas Grimshaw and Partners in 1994 and worked on several large international transportation projects including Zurich Airport, Pusan Rail Terminal and early concept designs for the Eden project in Cornwall and the EIHMS University teaching building in Guildford.

Richard Conner

It was at Grimshaws that Piercy met Richard Conner who was born in Lancashire in 1972. Graduating with a 1st Class BA Hons degree in Architecture from Liverpool University, Richard Conner completed his Part 1 at Nicholas Grimshaw and Partners. Returned to Grimshaws after finishing his Diploma at the Bartlett School of Architecture, Conner worked at the firm for three years before fully qualifying in 1999. During his time at Grimshaws, Conner worked on several large international transportation projects including the Channel Tunnel Rail Link and Pusan Rail Terminal. He also held a lead role in the design of the Millennium Point Building, Birmingham.

In 1999, Piercy and Conner co-founded Piercy Conner Architects. Through competitions and research Piercy, along with Conner, was closely involved with the development of prefabrication and modular construction technology and its application to delivering large-scale projects efficiently.

In 2001, Piercy Conner launched the Microflat affordable housing concept for central London, this project has been published internationally and was the subject of an ITV documentary and the BBC’s Panorama.

From an early age, Piercy’s flair for technical design, coupled with his interest in steel, has driven his career forward. His winning entry for a British Steel Competition while studying for his Diploma in Architecture so impressed one of the judges, the Chairman of Nicholas Grimshaw and Partners, that he was offered a job on the spot.

And on the other hand, Conner’s long-standing passion for design technology and communication has led to the firm’s reputation for ground-breaking visuals and to the creation of Smoothe, a 50-strong design company specialising in image design and film for the built-environment. With studios in London, Manchester, Dubai and Bulgaria, Smoothe has worked on international projets for many years.

Most recently, Piercy and Conner designed India’s first residential steel building for which they were awarded the MIPIM AR Future Project Sustainability Award in 2007.


In 2000, Piercy and Conner won the Velux lifetime homes competition with a fully modular, flexible housing scheme. Through the application and adaptation of commercial construction technology Piercy Conner has developed over twenty housing and hotel concepts and was awarded finalist of the 2002 ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year’ for the Microflat project promoted by Selfridges.

Piercy, along with Conner, was a finalist for the Corus International Young Architect of the Year Award, Winner of the Corus AJ 40 Architects Under 40 ‘Best Use of Steel’ and was shortlisted for the Architecture Foundation’s Next Generation Award. Piercy Conner was also asked by BMW to create their vision for future living based on their concept homes. The form and language of their architecture is crafted by the synthesis of external site forces and ongoing material and construction research.

Important Projects

Airside Centre at Zurich Airport, Switzerland

Airside Centre at Zurich Airport, Switzerland
Zurich’s airport was designed with the precision and quality of a Swiss watch. The potentially chaotic mix of retail, circulation and travel has been ordered and calmed with a floating retail island. This semi-transparent timber casement encloses the retail pods, co-ordinates signage and orientates passengers. Made to the highest specification with luxurious materials, the building articulates the quality that is synonymous with Swiss manufacture. The elevation of the retail island is an intelligent play on the differing scales of a building within a building, ensuring a human scale is maintained within the super-envelope. This 417m CHF (Swiss Franc) Airside Centre covering 43,000m2of space at Zurich Airport was designed for Grimshaw Architects.

Turnmills in London

Turnmills in London
Breathing new life into history railway stables in the centre of London by securing planning permission for a highly contemporary roof extension within Clerkenwell Green’s conservation area in central London was a significant challenge for this project. Piercy Conner’s triumphant concept succeeds by creating a sinuous form generated from the geometry of the footprint of the existing former stables. The translucent glass roof curves in and out of view to give glimpses of high drama to those at ground level without dominating the streetscape. Permission was already granted to this project and vital additional commercial floor space was secured. This £17m development, which recently secured planning consent, comprises 8380m2 of commercial and retail space and was developed for Derwent London.