Kids Corner


Gurmeet Singh Sian: Award-Winning Sikh-Brit Architect




Gurmeet Singh Sian is standing outside his Hackney Shed - the studio he built for a writer and a documentary film-maker at the end of their garden - which was shortlisted for the Architects' Journal Small Projects prize 2011.

"It's the smallest project on the books but it's got the most amount of publicity," Gurmeet Singh says, with a self-deprecating smile.

But this, of course, is exactly what young architects want from these small, low-fee or no-fee projects: something with which they can innovate, and get their name out there, particularly those architects who want "to build things, not just come up with concepts".

And it's perfect for clients, too. Especially those with small budgets but big ideas. "Clients should take advantage of younger practices pushing things in interesting directions."

Which is exactly what Gurmeet did for two friends who wanted rid of their unsightly asbestos hut. The building he's replaced it with has fully retractable doors that create an adaptable environment that perfectly suits the growing number of freelancers able to work outside of traditional office spaces. 

"It's a form of sustainable living," says Gurmeet. "You have no travel costs. You can appreciate your garden space. You make your life more carbon friendly... The clever use of space is what architects should be banging on about all the time."

He cut down on the wastage by using standardised panels and maximized space by embedding the library in the structural members. The hidden skylight allows for a glimpse of the heavens and the oak-framed full-height doors ensure that the light floods in at all times. And although he acknowledges that the studio took a while to build, "[the result is] something bespoke and unique. It's another room in the house and it's somewhere beautiful to work."

He's currently working on a restaurant and is not sure if he'll do another studio shed but stresses that the form is one for the future. As well as being relatively simple to get through planning, these compact workplaces are, Gurmeet believes, perfect for our space-starved cities. "These should be going up all around London."



Gurmeet Singh read architecture at the University of Liverpool between 1996 and 2002, and undertook a year's architectural experience in Goa, in 1999. Whilst at Liverpool, he was nominated for the RIBA President's Silver Medal, and was awarded the Sir Charles Reilly Medal for the best thesis project at Diploma level. He was also published in Building Design's 'Class of 2002', identifying him as one of that year's best architectural graduates. 


Office Sian is an RIBA Chartered Architecture and Design Studio based in London. Established by Architect Gurmeet Singh Sian, the studio is involved in a number of domestic, corporate and arts projects, for both private and developer clients in the UK and abroad. Office Sian also works with various charity organisations in and around London.

Office Sian
's completed commissions have been shortlisted for international, national and local architecture and arts awards. The 'Hackney Shed' Project was shortlisted by the Architect's Journal as one of the 24 best small projects in the UK, and the 'East End' Project was chosen by New London Architecture as one of the 50 Best Home Improvement Refurbishments in 2010. 


[Courtesy: GQ]

November 2, 2011

Conversation about this article

1: Sangat Singh (kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), November 02, 2011, 9:29 AM.

Is there any field of endeavour where Sikhs have not excelled? Each day you spring a delightful surprise. Looks like we will soon have to say: "Very pleased, but not surprised!" This chardi kalaa comes as every Sikh's birthright.

2: Arvind Pal Singh (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada), November 02, 2011, 10:57 AM.

Very proud of you, Gurmeet :) Keep up the great work. I believe you have many more accolades to come.

3: Palwinder -Singh Bhamra ( Maidenhead, United Kingdom), November 02, 2011, 4:02 PM.

It is amazing what you can do when you aspire and achieve at such a young age. Looking forward to seeing your next projects ... and awards! Well done.

4: Thakur Dalip Singh (Delhi, India), November 06, 2011, 12:03 PM.

Gurmeet Singh has made his family, friends and panth proud. We are very proud of him not just for this award but also his innovative and creative work. Satguru ji kirpa karan! ... and may you achieve many more laurels.

5: Simon Turner (Cookham, United Kingdom), November 07, 2011, 4:58 PM.

Having seen some of your other designs too, I can only say that your award is well deserved.

6: Sudipinder Sian (Maidenhead, United Kingdom), November 10, 2011, 5:30 PM.

Well done, Gurmeet, my most amazing brother. I am extremely proud of seeing you getting these accolades. Your aspirations are inspirational. Keep stretching forward and reaching ahead - we will see many more achievements from you.

7: George King (London, United Kingdom), November 26, 2011, 3:47 PM.

Gurmeet, I read the article with great interest - it is good to see my client succeeding in a very competitive field. Congratulations!

8: Akashdeep Singh Dukhi (New Bombay, India), December 25, 2011, 5:46 AM.

Great to hear about your projects and achievements. It is a lot of hard work that you have done. I really hope that I can achieve some thing like that. Best of luck.

9: Sukhjir Raj Singh Dukhi (Berkshire, United Kingdom), February 03, 2016, 12:30 PM.

Well done, Gurmeet Singh. Amazing, younger brother. Very proud of you. Keep it up and keep moving forward ... towards more awards and honours.

10: M. Lakin (Stoke, United Kingdom), February 11, 2016, 4:55 PM.

Really impressed with his designs on £100K house. He actually improved his clients' lives, instead of the usual architects who impose their fantasies, which are totally impractical.

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