Russell with Co. is a nationally awarded multi disciplined design practice. Our experience of hands-on building has enabled us to explore the interaction and social engagement of people, a sites’ connection to place, and use of materials and making, to show honest craft. Russell with Co. use traditional techniques of pen, paper and cardboard models in the early stages ensuring we are integrally connected to the design process.  

James Russell
Russell with Co. James Russell


People, place and craft are integral to all Russell with Co. works.  

These guiding principles of people, place and craft are the underpinning of a rigorous design process that each project goes through - each project is unique and purposeful as a result.

Our climate gives us great freedom in design that is not possible in many parts of the world. Here architecture can be reduced to a minimal shelter which allows us to enjoy and experience our environment.  Russell with Co. designs to allow for interaction with all elements of the environment being much more than just a view; land under foot, sun, moon, prevailing breezes, smells, sounds, prospect and protection – place.  

Russell with Co. designs encourage people to interact with each other, their environment and surrounding neighbourhood. Social opportunities are made through building orientation, plan and section, and adjustable spaces that mould to social events and seasons.  There is an awareness, a heightened experience and an appreciation of the surrounds that comes from this approach. Adjustment of spaces uses skins that are often low tech, allowing them to be tweaked to suit the conditions.  Russell with Co.’s office space is an exemplar of this.

Our craft is never about being fashionable or of a fashion. It is about making.  Material from its place, being made with lessons from the past and handprints of the craftsperson that stay with the building. These crafted buildings express inherent beauty through the details of the structure, the joins, the way they protect from weather … the making.

Russell with Co.’s craft includes locally designed and made items for our projects such as light fittings, door hardware, ceramic materials.


Russell with Co. Minimal Shelter


Russell with Co. is a design based practice using traditional pen on paper and cardboard models through early stages of design. When design has calmed we move to 3D modeling and cut all drawings from this. The drawings often include shop drawings for steel or concrete. By keeping drawings in house we control detail rather than becoming the reviewer. We are a group of design professionals that build. Architect, students, landscape architect and engineer.

We use building as a tool for investigating and developing our knowledge of a material and the way we put it together. We make fittings for most of our projects (lights etc.) and in some instances build the whole project. Architecture is not all behind a desk, we practice two to three days a week and build the rest of the time. The site is full of banter, no radio. We explore architecture through making. Our hands will always get dirty and unresolved details are discussed and drawn before making.

Working here is like an apprenticeship; we work closely and learn actively. Loch, Lucas, Andy, Ash and Chris all continue to build and have been registered as builders since graduating from architecture.


Concept drawing


Russell with Co. Concept Drawing