An experienced architect, supported by a community of experts and creatives bringing understanding and joy to educational, community-minded, and privately commissioned design.
A wealth of experience
Caroline Buckingham established her independent architectural firm, Caroline Buckingham Architects, in 2013, following a stellar career at a multinational architectural practice. Caroline has over twenty-five years experience working as an architect; she was a Director and the Head of Educational Design at HLM; was Non-Executive Director at Llewelyn Davies; and is currently the Vice President of Practice and Profession at RIBA. Whilst at HLM, Caroline won numerous awards for her work. Caroline Buckingham Architects has completed many bespoke commissions in both the public and private sectors.
With her extensive experience in the public sector – particularly in education – Caroline is widely regarded as an expert in this field.
She continues to work as both architect and consultant on innumerable projects that are designed to enhance the lives of those working and learning in the public sector. Caroline also welcomes projects in the private sector, and has a long established history of helping clients realise their unique vision.
Cultivating an understanding
Listening is at the heart of Caroline’s approach toward design. Design, she believes, ought be led by the unique needs of the client, as well as being sympathetic towards a building’s surrounding.
She recognises that an effective design not only caters to particular needs; a building has the ability to positively shape the lives and culture of those that occupy them. It is this immersive, “hands-on” approach that has earned Caroline her reputation for being able to interpret briefs that both reflect as well as enrich her client’s vision.
For Caroline Buckingham Architects, best practice is born out of a combination of expertise and experience.
The firm delivers highly crafted, innovative solutions by drawing on a community of creatives, technicians, and other like-minded practices that Caroline has built relationships with over the years.
What we do?
Caroline Buckingham Architects specialises in the three core areas of development: education, community, and residential projects
Caroline Buckingham brings decades of experience and expertise to the creation of exceptional learning environments. Caroline has overseen a Government Schools programme, which covered all twenty-five primary, secondary and special needs schools in Tower Hamlets. She is currently Client Education Advisor for Hackney on the Britannia Project. As with her approach to all her projects, the crucial first step is to understand the individual philosophy of the school, which, she points out, is not something one generally finds in a Strategy for Change document. Educational design ought not only to reflect a school’s core values, it should celebrate them. Design, after all, ought to be joyful.
Caroline is passionate about design that serves a social purpose. As well as her extensive work with schools in Tower Hamlets, she has helped to transform social housing and community spaces in this area. In Mile End she created a building entirely dedicated to social purpose, comprised of several units of social housing as well as a community space on the ground floor. Caroline was also tasked with transforming an existing community building near Bethnal Green as a part of the Community Hubs project.
Caroline firmly believes that buildings should relate to their surroundings, working to bring people together and helping to overcome the challenges that often present in the public sector.
Caroline Buckingham Architects takes on unique, often unusual, private projects. Designing her own home in the Isle of Wight marked the beginning of Caroline’s foray into setting up her own practice. She has since taken on a number of private commissions, including equestrian buildings and the restoration of a 1916 country estate, both in Surrey Hills, an area of outstanding natural beauty.
Caroline takes an empathetic approach towards the client’s brief and to the building’s history and setting. She revels in research, ensuring that restoration maintains the integrity of a building’s history and character.
What they say
A self-confessed ‘bit of a doer’ Caroline is a whirlwind of bright ideas, expertise, perceptive intuition and energy, fed by a desire to do the very best to improve the lot of and output from the profession. As RIBA Vice President Practice and Profession her achievements have been amazing and varied. These include effective support for high quality school design, a particularly successful run of annual Smart Practice conferences and Future Leaders seminars, setting up the Trailblazer Group for Apprenticeship to Architecture and launching Gender Pay Gap guidance. Not just a doer, but a highly effective, effusive and charming one.
Jane Duncan OBE, RIBA Past President, ABS President, Jane Duncan Architects Ltd
Caroline is fantastic at translating schools' needs and wants into specifications and designs, providing support and advice, but never dictating the outcome. She has the knack of demystifying this complex process and engaging participants equally
Michael Coleman, Strategic Head of Education Property, London Borough of Hackney
Caroline has been a key influencer around the design of learning spaces in recent years. A creative thinker, she is keen to connect people with ideas, encouraging colleagues from a range of sectors to collaborate and also to challenge ourselves. Caroline is an accomplished presenter, shows great drive on her projects and is a pleasure to work with.
Rachel Jones, Head teacher at The Blue School
Caroline led the design of the new £18million Brannel School. This stunning school exists in the heart of the 'clay country', giving students inspiration and enthusiasm as soon as they enter the doors of school. Without Caroline the new Brannel School would have been built, but it certainly wouldn't be the very special, clever and inspirational place it is today.
Mark Braham, Chief Information Officer (CIO) at Newquay Education Trust & Peninsula Learning Trust