Tom Emerson (architect)

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Tom Emerson

Born (1970-09-29) 29 September 1970 (age 52)
Education University of Cambridge, University of Bath, Royal College of Art
Occupation architect
Years active2001–present
Known for 6a architects
Notable work Raven Row, South London Gallery, Studio for Juergen Teller, Cowan Court Churchill College Cambridge, MK Gallery
Partner Stephanie Macdonald
Awards RIBA Awards (2011,14, 17, 19, 21, 23), Schelling Medal 2012, Tessenow Gold Medal 2023, Conrad Ferdinand Meyer Prize 2018

Thomas Vincent Emerson OBE (born 29 September 1970, in Paris) is a British architect based in London and Zürich. His practice, 6a architects, founded with Stephanie Macdonald in 2001 is best known for designing buildings for the arts and education for which it has won several RIBA Awards, the Schelling Medal for architecture. [1] and the Tessenow Medal 2023 [2] . He was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2021 New Year Honours for services to architecture and education. [3] [4] [5] . In 2023 Emerson and Macdonald were elected Royal Academicians by the Royal Academy in London.



Emerson was born in France and brought up in Belgium. [6] For his studies, he came to the United Kingdom. He studied architecture at the University of Bath, the University of Cambridge and at the Royal College of Art where he met his partner Macdonald. [6]

Architectural work

In 2001, Emerson founded 6a architects alongside Macdonald. Projects have included Raven Row, 2009, South London Gallery 2010-18 incorporating a garden by Gabriel Orozco and the conversion of the Fire Station, [7] the V&A fashion gallery, Sadie Coles HQ in London and MK Gallery in Milton Keynes winner of an RIBA South Award in 2021. The studio complex for Juergen Teller won RIBA London Building of the Year 2017 and was nominated for the Stirling Prize 2017. 6a architects' competition-winning design for a new court at Churchill College Cambridge was completed in 2016. Works by 6a architects are particularly noted for their use of materials of strong relationship to landscape and gardens.

Academic work and teaching

Since 2010 he has been Professor of Architecture and Construction at the ETH Zurich Faculty of Architecture, where he is also Dean since 2021. [8] As part of his teaching and research on landscape and making, his students produced the Pavilion of Reflections floating on Lake Zurich for Manifesta 11 and urban landscape studies on Forst, Galway and Glasgow which was exhibited at Glasgow International in 2016. Before ETH Zurich, he taught architecture at the Architectural Association (2000–04) and the University of Cambridge (2004–10). He was awarded the Conrad Ferdinand Meyer Prize in 2018 for his academic work with ETH. [9]

Emerson has written several academic journal articles including for AA Files, [10] as well as articles for Architects' Journal .

Personal life

Tom Emerson lives in London and Zürich. In London, he lives with his partner Stephanie Macdonald. [11]  

Projects by 6a architects


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  1. "6a architects". Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  2. "6a architects". Retrieved 29 June 2023.
  3. "No. 63218". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2020. p. N11.
  4. "The full list of everyone recognised in the New Year's Honours list". 4 January 2021. Retrieved 25 July 2021.
  5. "David Chipperfield and Yinka Ilori recognised in Queen's New Year Honours list". Dezeen. 31 December 2020. Retrieved 25 July 2021.
  6. 1 2 "Interview: Tom Emerson & Stephanie Macdonald, 6a architects". Something Curated. 5 April 2017. Retrieved 25 July 2021.
  7. "The Radical Cosiness of South London Gallery's New Fire Station Annexe | Frieze". Frieze. Retrieved 25 July 2021.
  8. "Executive Board". Retrieved 25 July 2021.
  9. "List of Conrad Ferdinand Meyer Prize winners - list". Retrieved 25 July 2021.
  10. Emerson, Tom (2001). "From Lieux to Life..." AA Files (45/46): 92–97. ISSN   0261-6823.
  11. Roux, Caroline (20 February 2021). "'Zaha Hadid couldn't stand being called a woman architect - I've never given a damn'". The Telegraph. ISSN   0307-1235 . Retrieved 25 July 2021.