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DEGW Archive – University of Reading

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DEGW Archive

Research project

DEGW was founded as an architectural and space planning consultancy specialising in workplace design.

degw-pic-2DEGW became a prominent actor in shaping the field of office space planning, internationally, by enriching architectural knowledge through their research. The legacy is alive globally and is flourishing across the built environment sectors. Especially in AECOM, as Strategy Plus, the legacy practice continues to evolve.

The archive of the first 25 years of DEGW's work has recently arrived at the Special Collections, University of Reading. Spanning from 1971 to 1997, the archive comprises of about 800 documents: project reports, presentations and drawings, research reports and the firm's business reports. The items in the archive were part of the 'DEGW Knowledge Centre', an in-house library of the firm which might have been continuously referred to during the course of the firm's operations.

The DEGW archive is further complemented by the collections of two of the firm's founders: Frank Duffy and Luigi Giffone. The Frank Duffy Collection is an exhaustive compilation of publications authored by him and includes monographs, edited books and articles. The Luigi Giffone Collection is eclectic and contains office brochures and newsletters along with his sketches, project drawings and presentations.

This research project aims to understand the development of DEGW's design methods linking

  • Organisations to built environment
  • Research and practice
  • Workplace to various urban scales

Explicating the classification issues of these archival materials are also part for our current endeavour. Envisaging this as a 'living archive', further research will explore adaptations of DEGW concepts within the work of current researchers and practitioners.

Current Events

The DEGW Archive workshop

26th April 2017, University of Reading

The aim of this workshop is to explore how we can use the key themes of DEGW to structure the archive and continue to evolve it as a living repository of ideas and future innovation. Through the workshop, we want to identify areas of enrichment for the archive and inform modes of future engagement with the DEGW members and wider audiences. The participants include members of DEGW, academics from the University of Reading and invited external members. The workshop will involve discussions around following four themes:

  • Understanding clients and adding business value
  • Research and design methodologies
  • Linking supply and demand, and its impact on procurement
  • Designing across scales and the importance of urbanism

Alongside the workshop, a pop-up exhibition will be displayed at the Special Collections, Museum of English Rural Life.

For further information about the event, please feel free to contact us.

Past events

Architecture Public Lecture Series: Foundation Lecture by John Worthington MBE, 27th October 2016

"DEGW: Five Decades and a Glimpse of the Future - Practice by Learning, Learning through Practice"

The lecture


The lecture was accompanied by an exhibition of materials from the DEGW Archive, exploring the design methods adopted and developed by DEGW. Through analysing the design methods, it becomes possible to engage with the key concepts of DEGW: the Supply and Demand model highlighting the importance of user research, and the 4S model demonstrating the different rates of change within various building elements. The DEGW Archive provides substantive cases to understand implications of these concepts in designing the built environment.

The exhibition

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