DROO - Da Costa Mahindroo Architects


Our society is premised on this need for moving in a direction and for the better part of the 20th and early 21st century this has been based on ‘more’. For the past decade we have been seeking answers on how to grow in a more cyclical way, by building and reinventing what we have, addressing typology, spatial organisation, modes of construction, the environment and inclusive design to continue evolving intelligently with what we have.

Our approach always layers strands of the past, present, and future into contemporary spaces and architectural tectonics. The existing fabric of a city is constantly developed upon, which means the role of the architect represents only a short moment in a longer history of a building, and, importantly, its future.

Our work is informed by an over-arching philosophy to lengthen the life of existing structures by giving them the opportunity to evolve to future uses and audiences.  We continue to work in conservation, not as historic architects but as contemporary architects trying to create new chapters in the life of existing buildings and developing them like strata in dialogue with their past and their future.

Paintworks interior
Paintworks Apartments, a mixed use building. Image via DROO.

Our works remain open to future generations to continue writing them.  Friction is a really powerful force in design, and cities are the hotbed of this friction. Urban environments are complex, multi-layered and often confront you with the unexpected. Cities are perhaps the last beacon of the ‘unpredictable’ where your encounters are still left to chance.

Some of our most creative work comes from the most constrained urban contexts where we were confronted with the greatest challenges; site constraints, light, sound, economics, social differences, history, future, parallel ambitions. In short friction has been essential to our most creative output.