During her time in Japan, Kathryn’s most notable projects were the Truss Wall House and Soft and Hairy House. Speaking about how her experience of Japan influences her work nowadays she says “I have a love of natural materials. There imperfection gives them a hand-crafted feel, which I love. They make buildings more than mere diagrams and achieve a beauty which grows over time.” Kathryn Findlay's practice, Ushida Findlay, is now regarded as a pioneering force in British architecture and has an international reputation for innovative design. Findlay was the first architect to build contemporary curved architecture and now designs by combining unusual materials with traditional crafts, such as bringing thatch into the 21st century. Her style has been called ' future-rustic'.
Ushida Findlay was the appointed architectural practice for Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond's ArcelorMittal Orbit based at the heart of the Olympic Park in Stratford. Regarding the opportunity to work on such a high-profile project, Kathryn told us that “It was a life-time experience to work with Anish and Cecil. Sharing their insights into experiential space and non-linear geometries was inspiring.” However, she faced many challenges in making the sculpture into something that people can inhabit. “There were very many pragmatic issues that we had to deal with and minimise their effect on the sculptural form and experience for the visitor.”
The Orbit has indeed been a huge success with thousands of spectators in the Olympic Park having visited the attraction. Kathryn’s own thoughts on what impressions she thought that people would take away from the Orbit were ‘fushigi na keiken…..” (a mystifying experience), and she also hoped that people consider “how many ephemeral impressions they gained from such a monumental form”.