Approach

HTA is a practice of around 200 architects, urbanists, planners, landscape architects, interior designers, sustainability specialists, graphic designers and researchers, with a focus on creating great residential places and a 50 year track record of the design and delivery of better housing.

We have grown a practice which is unusual for focusing on the single sector of housing, but also in its breadth of design focus across all aspects of improving the design of housing and residential neighbourhoods. We work together to improve all aspects of housing, from the performance and spatial quality of individual housing typologies, through the experience and qualities of large urban buildings, and the comprehensive masterplanning of new suburban settlements and the regeneration of urban areas. We are experienced across all stages, from concept to completion.

Our inter-disciplinary structure reflects our instinctively collaborative nature, and our four studios in London, Bristol, Manchester and Edinburgh are arranged to maximise creative interaction between teams.

We have always prided ourselves on being a great place to work, and are dedicated to creating a supportive and healthy professional environment that nurtures talent, builds careers We work hard to be the best employer possible and were rewarded by becoming winners of the AJ100 Employer of the Year Award in 2018, as well as being selected as one of Building Magazine’s top 50 Good Employers for the third year running.

The practice was established as Hunt Thompson Associates in 1969, becoming HTA Design LLP in 2013 from which a generation of new partners have the led the transformation and growth of the business.

What we mean by...

When we refer to our practice and people as Creative Collaborators, we mean that we put working collectively and with diverse disciplines at the centre of our work ethic. We like to infuse our work with as much thought, contribution, expression and originality, and to share that as widely as needed, to gain the best possible experience and end result as possible.

A key component in the growth of HTA’s work ethic has been an emphasis on the positive effects of collaboration involving the sharing and dissemination of knowledge and expertise that has enabled it to shape housing policy on a city-wide scale. As a practice, we have collaborated with many individuals and collective practices, including some of the most highly regarded design and architectural studios.  We learn from each other, sharing ideas and enhancing projects collectively. This way of working and learning has been extremely successful, with some of our best work resulting from these sorts of collaborative relationships. 

Our values

HTA Design, as a contemporary practice, continues to acknowledge its roots in community architecture, which is apparent in our longstanding values. In addition to basic ethical principles of honesty and integrity we follow certain principles and standards of behaviour which form our cultural and commercial values. These are: creativity, collaboration, commercial value, care for each other, and continuous improvement.

Each value was selected by our staff, through an open discussion about they believe to be the fundamental values of the practice and what it stands for, as well as what we aim to deliver in our work. Consensus was reached through intimate conversation in smaller groups, each given the task to focus on a specific business area, before bringing the discussion back to the whole office.

We believe that our values embody our practice and our project work; how we relate to each other, our clients and the communities in which we work.

Origins

We were born in 1969, when Bernard Hunt and John Thompson established Hunt Thompson Associates in London’s Camden Town. Ben Derbyshire joined the firm in 1973 and is HTA’s current Chairman having overseen the succession of the practice to HTA Design LLP in 2013.

From its earliest beginnings the practice established a reputation for innovation within the prevalent ethos that considered architecture as delivering public good. HTA were pioneers of techniques for community engagement in the design of housing environments that have subsequently been absorbed into mainstream practice.

Other innovations followed with a number of pioneering schemes and initiatives including a social research subsidiary (USER Research), the first radical rolling programmes of estate refurbishment and redevelopment, and community planning events. More recently the Housing Quality Indicators, and the housing design group, Design for Homes, were initiatives that started life at HTA whilst our engagement with the wider profession has resulted in contributions to writings and research across a wide range of housing related matters. 

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