Alex Ely: ‘Architecture is so central to our culture - it’s a pity it doesn’t seem to gain the traction it deserves’


The founder of the Stirling Prize-winning Mae Architects shares his influences and inspirations with Ben Flatman and concludes that his profession still has much to offer

Few contemporary British architects have managed to mix critical acclaim with wide-ranging impact on the built environment as effectively as Alex Ely. Mae, the practice that he founded in 2001, is recognised as an industry leader in housing, having not only designed numerous projects, but also written the hugely influential London Housing Design Guide 2010 for the Mayor of London. 

And, last November, his practice’s widely praised John Morden Centre won RIBA’s Stirling Prize for best new UK building, confirming Ely’s status as one of the leading British practitioners of his generation.

BD recently caught up with Ely in Marylebone, in the heart of the Church Street Masterplan area. It is a part of London with which he has been closely involved for more than a decade and where Mae has just completed Daventry House, a sector-leading community supported-living scheme for Westminster City Council, consisting of 60 flats for those in later life.

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