Conor O’Keefe comes from a quiet, small village of about 1000 people in Newtownbutler, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland – surrounded by small lakes and bogland. Conor vividly recalls having a great childhood while growing up on a farm. He says everyone in the village knows one another, so when he gets back home for a visit they all ask about him and what it’s like living in London. Such a close-knit community!
What are you working on now?
I am currently working on two projects: Basildon – GREAT OAKS, a 300 unit residential scheme with public space; and Vicarage Road – a residential site of 36 units, opposite to the conservation area and close to the Watford football ground. It’s a red brick scheme and will be built using modular construction. The project was supposed to be a traditional build, but it has been interesting to have to translate the design into a format that could be delivered in a modular way.
What do you love about architecture?
Every person lives in a house and even though people don’t think about architecture, an architect has been involved in making their home or workplace. We think of things, sometimes small things that make a big difference in how people live and work.
What’s your favourite building?
The woodland cemetery, also known as Skogskyrkogården, on the outskirts of Stockholm. It’s a beautifully designed building. Its design, by Gunnar Asplund and Sigurd Lewerentz, reflects the development of architecture from Nordic Classicism to mature functionalism. In 1994, the World Heritage Committee decided to make the Skogskyrkogården number 558 on the World Heritage List.
What’s the best project you have worked on?
Downs Road, Hackney Wick. It’s a big planning project that I worked on the edge of Hackney down park. We designed 4 separate buildings in 1 site that ranges in scale – not just a building, but a new street, we created courtyards and improved the space.