Designing the design processes
Rotterdam, NL

Operating internationally out of Rotterdam, DROM is directed by Timur Karimullin, Sofia Koutsenko and Timur Shabaev. As a collective of diverse thinkers with experience ranging from exhibitions and architecture to masterplans, they engage each new project with critical and analytical research and design tools while constantly valuing good design as a process, striving to achieve optimal solutions with limited resources.


Coming together

Timur Karimullin and Timur Shabaev met in Moscow in 2009 during a workshop for a selected group of young architects in Russia. They reconnected again months later while studying in the Netherlands at TU Delft and Berlage respectively. Sofia met both Timurs in 2013 in Rotterdam, while working at OMA. In 2015, two of us (Timur Shabaev and Sofia) submitted a concept sketch for an invited competition for a 3-tower residential project in Novosibirsk. We were selected to develop the project further, working extra after work and on weekends. As new work started to materialise, we went out on our own. Eventually, Timur Karimullin also joined us. 


Productivity through apparent chaos

After a period of working from home, we joined a shared space with a friend. Eventually we moved into our own space, in which we have since expanded to occupy two rooms. We use one as a general workspace and the other for private calls, partner meetings, and daily lunches. Each of us is highly involved in all the projects of the office and we all make time to have joint reviews with the entire team. Most of these meetings are informal conversations that take place in random places in the office. Sometimes the process can feel chaotic, but it is also often when we do our best creative work.


Designing processes

We were architects for several years before starting our practice and we were all in a phase of our careers where we felt that it was time to become independent. The start of our office was serendipitous, and we didn’t have many expectations besides hoping that we can grow a practice and build. Fortunately, that reality became true pretty quickly and the growth we have experienced since has brought new sets of challenges. We are surprised by how our practice is transforming and by the fact that we are now spending more of our time thinking about designing the processes by which we realise projects.  


Conscious growth

The main challenge today is to continue to have awareness about how our practice is growing and transforming and to guide this transformation in a conscious way. As such, the main challenges are in growing a great team while improving organisation and keeping the collaborative atmosphere.

photo studiogeis.DROM.Partners02

Photography studiogeis

DROM Azatlyk Square photo Dmitry Chebanenko

Photography Dmitry Chebanenko

DROM Tower24 photo Valery Kostyunin

Photography Valery Kostyunin

DROM Sobinco collab with Office CCXD Render Nathan Van den Bossche

Rendering Nathan Van den Bossche

a project powered by Itinerant Office

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