S333 co-founders Dominic Papa and Jonathan Woodroffe set up Studio 333 in London in the early 1990s with three New Zealanders, Chris Moller, Nicolas Barrat-Boyes and Stephen McDougall.

Studio 333's aim was to generate debate about contemporary urbanism in Europe by participating in competitions, publications and workshops.

The phenomenon of rapid global urbanisation was already apparent and presenting a wide range of professional opportunities. Studio 333 realised that it was also throwing into question conventional urban design solutions.

It seemed to Studio 333 that new combinations in building functions were called for, together with a deeper understanding of how buildings work at different scales and a fresh approach to engaging with others throughout the design process.

Studio 333's first urban competition entry in 1991 beat 750 other entrants to land a commission for a masterplan to revitalise the centre of Samarkand, Uzbekistan. It's second, for the city of Karlesruhe in Germany, developed with Ove Arup and Partners, won a national design award for its explorative approach to environmental design.

With the birth of the internet and laptop technology, Studio 333's ambitions to expand the scope for architectural practice geographically and professionally suddenly became a reality. A series of urban consultancy commissions followed, working for municipalities in Central and Eastern Europe.

In 1993 Moller, Papa and Woodroffe chose to re-locate to the Netherlands, at the time the centre of progressive European architecture and urban design, while Barratt-Boyes and McDougall moved back to New Zealand.

The international group became two practices: S333 (with co-founder Burton hamfelt) based in Amsterdam and Studio Pacific (with co-founder Evzen Novak). The practices continue to work together.

The studio’s first completed project, a mixed-use housing project in Groningen, won international recognition and positioned S333 at the leading edge of contemporary urban design.

Since then, success in international competitions has focused attention on the distinctive qualities of S333’s work and helped to win new contracts. A growing reputation in the UK led to the establishment of a London office in 2005.

S333 history in key dates

1990
Studio 333's five partners first meet

1991
Studio 333 win masterplan for Samarkand

1993
Studio 333 become two practices: S333 and SPA

1994
S333 win Europan 3

1996
S333 win Europan 4

1997
S333's head office set up formally in Amsterdam

2000
S333 win Anglo-Dutch Awards For Enterprise

2003
Schots 1+2 shortlisted for Mies van der Rohe Award

2005
S333 opens office in London

2007
S333's first solo exhibition

2007
S333's head office moves from Amsterdam to London

2009
Tarling is UK's first social housing to be nominated for Manser Award

2010
S333 wins first masterplan commission in PRC

2011
S333 selected to co-design 2,400 homes in Gateshead, UK

2011
S333 wins second masterplan commission in PRC