Here is where your story of space begins – with a different kind of architects in Cornwall.
Here is where your story of space begins – with a different kind of architects in Cornwall.
From the glimmer of an idea to the stroke of a pencil, the first turn of a door handle to the flickering of a smile across a face, at Märraum we bring more to your space – and take your story beyond its walls.
And we begin with you. Because at the heart of each architecture project – studio spaces, private loft conversions, commercial builds or building that dream home – are the people who use it.
They’re the yawns that stretch to eye-widening views in the morning. They’re the feet feeling cool concrete underfoot. They’re the eyes looking for inspiration at their desks. And the shoulders that hunker down in the evening. These are the people whose surroundings bring more to each and every experience.
With years of architecture and design experience in both Cornwall and Germany, and accreditation from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) – paired with aesthetic drive, strong ethics and constant curiosity – we know how to make space work harder for you.
So from beginning, middle and end – discover how you can bring your own story of space to life.
Designing a house or workspace is about building on the best aspects of space and linking them together. And because this talent runs through our veins, the same had to be true of our name – weaving playfully together sounds and meaning to create something entirely new.
It starts with the Märchen, German folktales traded from one village to the next, kept alive and thriving by word of mouth. These living stories reflect how we as architects put your story together. Through each step in this process, we’re adding another chapter to your tale, to give you a deeper level of experience. So wherever we build, whoever we build for, your space becomes part of a greater story. A story where location, surroundings and landscape become key characters within it – setting the stage for your own Märchen to play out.
Raum in German means ‘space’ – but for us, the name goes further than that. A building is much more than the walls around you, or the roof over your head. Space plays a vital part in the fabric of your day-to-day, and even the environment beyond it. We’re bridging these together, drawing out the best of space to create builds that mean more to you and the landscape around them.
As coincidence would have it, Mär also sounds like the German for sea, from which we gain inspiration everyday with our office right on the waterfront. And because it also echoes the German word for ‘more’, you can be sure that we’re elevating your experience at every turn.
Seeing more than what’s put before us. Giving space the respect it deserves. Making the very best of what we’ve got to work with. Our vision is always centered around how we can give more to the people that matter – our clients – while being conscious of the world around us.
From drawing to designing, engineering to enhancing all of the possibilities that a space opens up, at Märraum we’re building our business from layers of knowledge and an appetite for always being better. It’s what gets us out of bed in the morning, and drives our clients’ projects – so that the outcome is always more than they were expecting.
With an eye on the detail, and a reputation for integrity grown through years of thoughtful and expansive projects, we're pushing a different way of working – where our clients are valued as much as their spaces. Where creative flair is measured with a realistic approach that drives the best of both.
Sharing our thinking and working with you so we can be as effective as possible. This is what makes working with Märraum architects distinctive; it’s what ensures every project has the opportunity to push its potential further. So you see the value in your space and the benefit of working with a flexible, energetic team that understands what a ‘living space’ really means.
With a waterfront office nestled in the sustainable development of Jubilee Wharf, Penryn, inspiration is always close at hand.
As architects in Cornwall, we’re passionate about complimenting the best that our environment has to offer by bringing it into each and every build. From light-flooded attic spaces to balconies that break into the outdoors, work spaces floating on the water to an Atlantic wind-blasted outdoor art installation on the Isles of Scilly, you’ll see how we like to blur the lines between inside and out.
Marrying landscapes with culture and innovation, we’re always pushing the boundaries of contemporary architecture, with an energy that's seen us take our creativity international.
By combining elements of land, sea and sky, and using the best local craftspeople and materials we can lay our hands on, we’re making Cornwall the perfect place to awaken the possibilities of your space.
Dipl.-Ing. Michael Hormann – Architect, Founder of märraum & Director
ARB registered and RIBA Chartered Architect
“When you work in different environments, you learn a lot about the role space plays. So when, like me, you’ve found yourself working in hospitals, care homes as part of my Civil Service in Germany and further in my career in many different offices, on exhibitions and in factories, you start seeing more in the atmospheres around you. It affirms how some spaces work, and how some spaces really don’t.
Space should be something that works in harmony with people. It should function, live, look good and, above all, be comfortable and easy to simply ‘be’ in.
I moved to Cornwall to set up Märraum from Coesfeld in Germany in 2006 – where I’d pursued my love of space and construction for over 15 years. In Germany I had undertaken a 3 year qualification as a technician in civil engineering, and then worked as a technician for a year. I realised I wanted to be a fully qualified architect and so I studied architecture at the University of Applied Science of Münster, Germany, for a full 6 years. My studies and degree internships focussed on residential planning, urban and leisure planning, industrial design and mobile architecture including tree houses. Meanwhile I worked as a qualified tennis coach (where space and skill are intertwined) and on a major national mapping project for a cartography company (giving me different perspectives on the relationships of spaces). In Cornwall, I initially worked for a local architecture practice before founding Märraum in 2010.
These experiences have allowed me to see the role architecture and space play in our lives; how they should always be defined by the user (and not the architect’s ego!). This has pushed me towards the concept that most of the time (but not always) architecture should follow the Vitruvian rules of being ‘solid, useful and beautiful’. Something we work towards at Märraum.
From old churches to monuments, cities like Regensburg and Venice to the modern buildings of Le Corbusier and Bauhaus – my influences are broad. I even draw inspiration from the treehouses built by tribes in the Amazon. But at the heart of it, I believe that creating a good building is like telling a good story of spaces and people and creates an inspiring stage for more stories.”
Adam Laskey – Director FdSc Sustainable Construction, Architectural Designer and Technician
“You know the kid who went the extra mile with Design & Technology projects at school? Well, that was me. Making things, designing them from start to finish, that’s what made me tick.
And it’s been the same ever since, from designing customised mountain bikes and cruise riders at college to mastering CAD programmes in my own free time over ten years ago – all the way up to earning my architectural credentials.
Since then, I’ve travelled the world, camping in the Amazon, rehabilitating endangered gibbons, and experiencing the slums of Mumbai and Rio – where I learnt to appreciate the social side of architecture.
I’m deeply influenced by great design. Design that's not only aesthetically pleasing, but also considers the way a building is used. I really respect architects who think how people move through a building – combining logic and reason. Where not an inch of space is wasted. That's far better than fitting a house to the rafters with technology. Finding a better use of space and the value it can bring? Now that’s sustainable architecture.”
Daisy Sawle – Director BA Hons Fine Art, Office Manager
“It all started with a felt tip pen and a cardboard box, which became a tortoise shell, which became a space rocket and then became a house with a kitchen. Even at this early age, it seemed my future was set out in brushstrokes and imagination carefully placed onto paper.
Designing, creating and making has always been my passion. So my busy hands and active mind led me to move to London as soon as I could to study Fine Art. I never dreamed that the lines on the page would one day draw real-life buildings on a grand scale.
I take learnings from artists who have got something to say – like Victor Grippo and Gustav Metzger – who make a clever point of defining it through their work. In fact I find the worlds of art and architecture constantly overlap.
Because I’m such a good list-maker and all-round organiser, I’m really putting all of my skills to work at Märraum. Making sure that we can be as efficient as possible, improving our systems, managing our client relationships, researching projects and lending my hands to each part of the design process. Part of my job is to keep everyone on track timing-wise, but no matter what Michael says, I’m not bossy. Honestly!”
Mina Booth – Office Co-ordinator
"I joined Märraum because I genuinely get a kick out of making other people’s lives easier, and have an obsessive desire to make sure things are run and organised professionally.
My journey to here has been eclectic. For many years I was involved in event management for multi-national corporations. At one point I managed one of Yorkshire’s premier golf courses - without ever actually being able to play!
I also love adventure, whether riding pillion on my husbands motorbike or extensive worldwide travel. On a ‘recent’ birthday (I’m not sure i want everyone to know my age!) I walked the stunning Inca trail in Peru, a truly inspirational trip.
Great design has been a life long passion, even if I’m not always able to fund my own ideas. The same can be said of my love of shoes and handbags...
I may well be your first point of contact at Märraum so I look forward to meeting you and helping to ensure that your project is perfectly organised."
Nick Cattaneo, Architectural Technician
“For me, it’s all about the detail, be it on a modern contemporary building, a historic building or the lines of an Italian sports car. For almost 40 years now, I’ve been working in architecture – from large multi-disciplinary architectural offices, to small specialist practices, applying my technical skills to everything from prestigious listed buildings, to bespoke housing, barn conversions to commercial and industrial projects.
I love surveying a building, working out how it was built and how it may have evolved, from first stepping into a property right through to pressing the print button on the final drawing, it gives me a buzz.
Now I’m working as part of the Märraum team, applying my hand to measured building surveys, detailed technical drawings and everything in-between. Being part of the team is really exciting, especially the way technology has been embraced – it’s a really progressive company.
Outside of work you’ll usually find me on, in or by the ocean, it’s my playground. I love the Cornish coast, stand-up paddleboard racing, surfing and exploring. I’m also a self-confessed petrol head and a dedicated family man.”
Oliver Kellett – Junior Architectural Technician, BA Hons Illustration
“Perspective, space, light, shadow, colour and form, I’ve always been interested in how these elements affect us humans. So, considering each of them when transforming a space from a bland building into something more exciting is a real challenge.
From a young age I was always drawing and painting people and places from life, and enjoyed intricate design and detail. I studied a degree in illustration at Falmouth University, and after looked for a hands-on practical job. This lead me to labouring, which taught me how buildings were constructed from the ground up. I then returned to college to complete my qualifications in carpentry and joinery and served an apprenticeship.
Now at Märraum, I’m learning a new 3D architectural software – to draw up plans for buildings – it’s a great way to visualise a space. I love the way the industry is evolving with the influence of technology like VR and laser scanners for surveys –it’s really exciting.
Beyond architecture, I love to travel. I’ve hitchhiked from the UK to Tajikistan overland, and Chile to Colombia. Whilst the landscapes are incredible and each country has its own uniqueness, it’s the characters, kindness and generosity of people that’s the interesting bit – it’s something money can’t buy.”
Emma Bowker-Phillips – Part 1 Architectural Assistant, BA Hons Architecture, MCIM
“I’ve wanted to be an architect ever since I was six years old. I was always doodling floor plans and setting up houses for my toys. I’m immensely proud to be following my dream in such a stunning location, and with such a great team.
Before joining Märraum, I worked as a chartered marketing professional within the construction industry both in the UK and abroad, yet I always strived to get involved in the design process.
To me, homes should be a reflection of the people that’ll live in them. I love adding flourishes that bring their personalities into the design, be it through colours, favourite items of furniture they may own, or simply by observing and drawing from their idiosyncrasies. In my work, nothing makes me happier than bouncing ideas for designs between colleagues and the client, and watching them get excited about the space we could create.”
My main inspiration comes from Bjarke Ingels of BIG. The way he works and the future he sees for architecture is exciting and fresh, without losing the personal aspect of creating places for people, that also incorporates major focus on sustainable design.
Outside of work I love learning new things, spending time with my family, and travelling. I’m also an avid gamer, so our VR capabilities at Märraum are very exciting!”