Adam Caruso and Peter St John established their practice in 1990, and have gained an international reputation for excellence in designing contemporary projects in the public realm. The practice came to public attention with the New Art Gallery in Walsall, a commission won in an international competition in 1995. From these origins in the visual arts, where a sensitivity to experience and context is required, the practice has extended its expertise and now works on a broad range of projects in the public and private realms. Current clients include Tate Britain, the City of Lille, Bremer Landesbank and the SBB (Swiss National Railways). Caruso St John aims to have a wide range of work at a variety of scales and want to resist the trend of increased size and specialisation that dominates contemporary architecture.
The practice is interested in the emotional potential and physical qualities of construction. This attitude has developed out of a fascination for materials, backed up with an involvement in academic and office based research. Built projects incorporate this research and respond to their physical context and brief in unexpected ways. The projects stand out by resisting off the peg construction. Both the New Art Gallery, Walsall (2000) and the Brick House, London (2006) have been short listed for the Stirling Prize, the UK’s most prestigious architecture award, in recognition of this ambition.
Adam Caruso and Peter St John are closely involved in the design of all projects, with one of the partners attending client meetings and leading the project together with an architect project leader. The practice is international in its outlook and in its make up, with many of the staff, including the partners, involved in teaching in schools of architecture. The office of approximately 25 work in an open studio in a 1930s factory building in East London which the practice converted to studio use for themselves. In 2010 a second office was opened by the practice in Zurich.