The Institute of Psychoanalysis competition

The AF invites expressions of interest from emerging practices for the remodelling of Byron House

The Architecture Foundation is today launching a competition to find an architect for the redevelopment of Byron House, the west London home of the Institute of Psychoanalysis.  Involving the remodeling of both the Institute’s suite of childrens’ consultation rooms and the Sigmund Freud lecture room, the construction has provisionally been budgeted in the region of £600,000.   It is anticipated that the project will be delivered in two phases between 2016 and 2017.

The Architecture Foundation and the Institute of Psychoanalysis view this as an appropriately-scaled project for an emerging practice.  We are therefore seeking applications exclusively from Architecture Foundation member practices that have been established in the past decade.  Four practices will be shortlisted and invited to a competitive interview in mid-March.  Each will be paid a £1000 honorarium.  The jury will include Catalina Bronstein and David Riley of the Institute of Psychoanalysis, Sir Jeremy Dixon (Dixon Jones Architects), Hanif Kara (AKT II), Tim Pitman (Pitman Tozer Architects) and Ellis Woodman (The Architecture Foundation).

To put your practice forward for consideration please create a maximum 8-page A4 pdf submission showing a selection of relevant work, built or unbuilt, and identifying your reasons for applying. This should be submitted online by 5.00pm on Friday February 19th.  A £50+VAT entry fee will be directed towards administration costs.

We appreciate that the built work of recently established practices may be limited.  We therefore welcome information about the relevant experience that applicants  may have acquired prior to setting up their own practices.  The jury is open to the possibility that the project may represent the largest that the successful practice has undertaken to date.


Update: Shortlist Announced

Four practices have been invited to interview:

Casswell Bank Architects

Matheson Whiteley with Simon Jones Studio

Roz Barr Architects

Timothy Smith and Jonathan Taylor LLP

March 1st 2016


Brief for Redevelopment of Byron House, 112A Shirland Rd, London W9 2BT


The Institute of Psychoanalysis is the main learned society for psychoanalysts in the UK. It has a long history, being founded by one of Freud’s early colleagues, Ernest Jones, in 1924 and has a worldwide reputation. The Institute trains people to become psychoanalysts, hosts lectures and conferences for psychoanalysts, holds events and courses for others with an interest in psychoanalysis, provides low fee psychoanalytic treatment for patients, and publishes the longest established and most widely distributed journal in the field – the International Journal of Psychoanalysis.

The Institute has an ambitious strategy for growth, which includes making changes to encourage more and younger people to train to become psychoanalysts, launching e-learning and bespoke educational programmes for a wide range of audiences worldwide, and widening the scope of our training to those outside London (we have recently introduced a training programme in Leeds, and established a Memorandum of Understanding with another training body in Northern Ireland). The redevelopment of our home, Byron House, is part of this strategy for growth.

The main users of our building are our members (psychoanalysts), patients in our Clinic, both child and adult, staff, other mental health care professionals, and the wider public (in particular those from other academic disciplines with an interest in psychoanalysis). We envisage that our building will increasingly be used by a wide range of people as we seek to gain an income from the rental of our meeting rooms and lecture facilities to other organisations.

Phase 1 of the redevelopment was completed in the summer of 2015, involving the creation of additional consulting rooms in our Clinic, new seminar rooms, and a new staff office area. Phases 2 and 3 will involve the refurbishment of our child and adolescent consulting rooms and our archive in the basement of our building (phase 2, to be completed in 2016 preferably during August/early September) and the redevelopment of our main lecture room, the Sigmund Freud Room (phase 3, to be completed in 2017).  Phases 2 and 3 will be integrated by the design of the Reception Area; guidance needed here on whether work on the Reception Area is included in Phase 2 or Phase 3.

Our members, many of whom are renowned in the field, expect high standards. The age range of our membership is 40 – 90, although our aim is to attract younger people to undertake our training (late 20s-30s). We want the overall aesthetic of our building to reflect the seriousness of what we do, without being stuffy or elitist, and to exemplify the high standards our members demand. It will need to capture the importance of our history, of which we are very proud, whilst clearly demonstrating that we are a forward-looking organisation, which is not obsessed with the past, but rather emphasises progression to a bright future.

The winning design will incorporate the above considerations which will be integrated to create a particular atmosphere; an atmosphere which will be apparent upon entering the building and which will be maintained throughout.  That is, to blend both the deeply private e.g. clinical work with patients, on the one hand, and on the other, our public face e.g. lectures, conferences.

Sigmund Freud Room

The Sigmund Freud room is our main lecture space. It currently holds up to 150 people, and is located in the basement of 114 Shirland Road, with access from 112a Shirland Road (Byron House). The room also has a space for coffee/tea, and 3 smaller seminar rooms. The room suffers from poor air quality, and has a long narrow area for lectures which is not popular with our membership. The seminar rooms lack any natural light, and there are soundproofing issues. Disabled access is not easy in this room, and there is no disabled toilet.

We need our lecture space to continue to hold up to 150 people, for our larger events, but it is important to note that, more routinely, lectures held in this space attract 40-80 people. Therefore, the space needs to be able to accommodate the larger number, without feeling cavernous for smaller audiences. A horseshoe shape is preferred for smaller groups, and we would want to avoid the current long narrow layout for larger events. Flexibility with regard to how the room might be laid out is important. This probably means a combination of fixed and moveable seating and a partitioning arrangement.

Good acoustics together with easy visual contact between speaker and audience and intra-audience are a key requirement. Most of our events involve someone giving a lecture, relayed over our sound system, but will also involve a high degree of discussion and participation from audience members, for which we use a roving mic. We have struggled to make our sound system work effectively in the current space. Lectures are also frequently filmed, and in the future we would like to introduce live streaming of lectures by web link and/or via video conferencing to other centres in the UK. In short, we envisage making investments to ensure our audio-visual capabilities are of the highest quality, and the Sigmund Freud room must be able to accommodate these requirements together with warmer and more flexible lighting.

We will need an area for people to drink coffee/tea/wine before and after lectures, and to talk to one another, as our events are valued opportunities for psychoanalysts to network. This area should be soundproofed from the large lecture area, whilst being easily accessible from the main entrance, and give ready access to that lecture area. We envisage this area will also be used at other times for visitors to Byron House when events are not happening so that they may drink coffee and chat in comfortable surroundings. For some events, cold lunches or snacks are provided. We generally use outside catering for this, but we will need a small kitchen space to support the catering area.

We would wish to retain at least three smaller seminar rooms in this space (for 10-15 people). Again, flexibility is a key requirement. We envisage using moveable partitions so we have the choice of creating larger seminar spaces if required. Excellent soundproofing between these rooms is essential.

Improved disabled access is a requirement to the main lecture space from both the front and rear of the building, plus a disabled toilet.

Toilet facilities, appropriate for up to 150 people, are essential and the current cloakroom facility is constricted, could this be improved?

Most lectures are currently held in the evening (from 8pm onwards). However, we envisage that the space will be increasingly used for private rental during the day and at weekends.

As mentioned above we plan to rent out rooms both to corporate clients and other professional groups. Whilst we are in a zone 2 location in London, we would want our facilities to compete with zone 1 conference facilities, to make us an attractive and interesting option for meetings, conferences, away days etc. The successful bid will therefore take into account our need for a revenue stream from future rentals as part of the financial planning for this project.


Expressions of Interest online form