How We Work

We use our skills in architecture, urban design and landscape architecture to work on housing, education, health, arts and commercial projects of all shapes and sizes across the country. Throughout, we collaborate with clients, communities and end-users – listening, questioning and challenging when appropriate. Our thorough briefing process ensures we form a clear, shared vision for the project – allowing us to unearth ideas, establish its essence, inspire all those involved and create something truly transformative.

Studios

We work in smaller studio groups – each of which is led by a Director and has developed expertise in particular types of work – to foster a more collaborative and creative design process. By designing and reviewing our work in this way, everyone can contribute, share and learn from one another.

This approach also improves the quality of what we do. With our clients, consultants and the local community, we get under the skin of a project to design inventive buildings, spaces and places that belong to their users and grow in their environment.

We also have in-house interdisciplinary groups focused on topics such as housing, sustainability, conservation and offsite construction. These are open to all so that everyone can pursue their interests and gain further knowledge in a particular area.

London and Manchester
We were born and raised in London, but have always thought of Manchester as our northern home through our long association with the city and work at the Royal Exchange Theatre. Our Manchester design studio opened in 2013, providing a local base for our many projects in the north.

Socially responsible. From the start.

1968—Today

Beginnings

Levitt Bernstein was founded in 1968, shortly after David Levitt met David Bernstein whilst working on the ground-breaking Brunswick Centre. They decided to set up a practice focused on revitalising London’s decaying inner city. The capital was also in the throes of a housing crisis and the pair were dedicated to creating better homes for all – a principle that is as fundamental to our work now as it was then.

Making our mark

After initially focusing on social housing, we began to branch out into other sectors. A turning point was winning the commission to design a theatre in Manchester’s derelict Victorian trading hall. The new Royal Exchange Theatre won us our first RIBA Award and was the beginning of many public building commissions for the Practice. By the end of the 70s, we were well known for our work in urban regeneration, housing and cultural buildings, and still are today.

Today

Ever since, we have grown organically and now have over 120 staff working on projects across the housing, arts, education, health and commercial sectors from our London and Manchester design studios.

In 2018, we celebrated our 50th birthday. To mark the occasion, we had a year-long partnership with Shelter to support their incredible work by fundraising, volunteering and campaigning. At a time when homelessness figures seem to know no bounds, we felt it more important than ever to add our support – so that more people have a proper place to call home.

“We always look beyond the red line of a site to maximise the common good. It’s in our DNA to unlock the social value of our work – within specific neighbourhoods and our own creative community.” Jo McCafferty, Director

“In the face of the climate crisis, we are working with the London Energy Transformation Initiative to address gaps in guidance and planning policy, moving many more buildings towards zero carbon.” Clare Murray, Head of Sustainability