Richard Murphy founded his practice in 1991. Its early reputation was built on highly crafted and innovative domestic work in the Edinburgh Area. A considerable number of awards and publicity has lead to larger projects, often arts related, and the practice now has projects in England, Ireland, Japan, Wales, Sri Lanka, Malta and in the Netherlands, as well as in Scotland. In an article in the Sunday Times, Hugh Pearman coined the phrase "maximalist" for their work; that is that the greatest architectural effects are obtained from the smallest and least promising contexts.
THE architect Richard Murphy and his Edinburgh firm have swept the board with four top accolades at the Scottish Design Awards.
Regarding to the report of Scotsman, 31 May 2006, Richard Murphy Architects won the "Best Housing Project" for the recently completed flats at Dean Bank Lane in Edinburgh for Kilmartin Homes.
The firm won "Best Building for Public Use" for the Galeri arts project in Caernarfon, North Wales, which includes a 400-seat theatre, art space and café bar.
The Caernarfon project also won the main award of the evening, the "Architecture Grand Prix", the first time the prize has been given to a building outside Scotland.
And Mr Murphy topped the poll of readers of the architecture magazine Prospect as "Scottish Architect of the Year". The citation said: "His work has had a significant impact on a generation of architects, redefining the character of contemporary Scottish design."
Richard Murphy defined their goals as to make architecture equally of its place and of its time. This selection of projects illustrates that approach looking equally at careful contextual responses to designing within and adjacent to existing buildings and also constructing new buildings within the contexts of established landscape and urban patterns.
This project for Kilmartin Developments occupies the site of a former engineering office which itself grew to occupy a number of buildings along side the Water of Leith. The site is unusual in that is has two very different elevations: a street side elevation to Dean Bank Lane (itself a jumble of buildings leading to the splendour of Saxe Coburg Place) and a much larger and more exciting elevation terminating directly into the Water of Leith, and viewed in particular from the bridge across the river at Stockbridge.
Murphy's proposal envisaged the demolition of the existing unexceptional former industrial building on the site and its replacement with a block of 11 apartments. At the lower level these are single bedroom flats but elsewhere are through aspect flats between the street and the river with the first floor flats using the device of sunken terraces to the steet to achieve a through aspect. The usual ventilated lobby requirements are avoided at the upper levels by the common stair coming to an external balcony access with the final penthouse flat being accessed by a spiral staircase suspended from the roof.
The materials are green oak and steel to the river with the gable elevations being an extension of the roof metal material. The project started on site in February 2004 and was completed in June 2005.