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ALT-Architecture’s ethos is to create buildings and places which are coherently simple, elegantly composed, progressive and imaginative, intrinsically sustainable and, most importantly, embrace the spirit of place.

Founded by Rhian Thomas and Amanda Spence, ALT-Architecture builds on our collective 28 years of experience designing delightful and functional spaces for people to live, to learn and to work. We call Cardiff our home but much of our work is across Wales and beyond. ALT-Architecture pursues contemporary projects across a diverse range of type, scale and budget; from installation, to building, to landscape and urbanism.

Our alternative approach to practice explores the edge of architecture, where it meets the disciplines of art, landscape and theory. It is this territory between architecture and other creative practices which we find the most interesting, as it provides opportunities for exploration, innovation and generating new dialogues between the arts, landscape, theory, architecture and its surroundings. This intentionally places us away from the middle of the road and challenges preconceptions of value in architecture.

ALT-Architecture recently won a commission with Trust New Arts, which is the National Trust's programme to connect people to their places through the contemporary arts, and we will be installing our experiential artwork, 'Channel of Peace' at Lacock Abbey in late April 2019. 'Channel of Peace' will be in situ until mid July 2019. We are also working on a number of residential projects, and in February, we we were invited to do a Residency at Ruthin Craft Centre with glass artist Rhian Haf, who we have been exploring the theme of 'in and between' with over the past 12 months.

ALT-Architecture builds on the experience Amanda and Rhian gained whilst working together at the Design Research Unit Wales (DRU-w) at Cardiff University between 2005 and 2012, where they played a formative role. At DRU-w, work combined the creative activities of the design studio with a sound research-based approach. DRU-w were finalists in the Young Architect of the Year Award (YAYA) in 2007 and 2010. Both Rhian and Amanda continue to be design tutors at the Welsh School of Architecture at Cardiff University.

Amanda joined the Design Commission for Wales (DCFW) as a Design Advisor in 2013, after spending two years working at Award winning Hudson Architects in Norwich. The DCFW promotes good design in the built environment and communicates its benefits throughout Wales. At DCFW, Amanda gained significant experience writing design and planning guidance, curating design exhibitions, developing toolkits for community engagement, facilitating training with local authorities and organising conferences and interactive workshops.

Rhian was project architect on a range of challenging projects at Manser Medal winning Loyn+Co Architects in Penarth between 2013 and 2017, including a proposal for a residential community of 30 apartments along the cliff side at Penarth headland, and a development for 15 courtyard houses in a rural setting outside of Brecon.

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