DEGW Archive – The Research Project

John Worthington at a DEGW archive display

DEGW was founded as an architectural and space planning consultancy specialising in workplace design an 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 is held with the Special Collections. Spanning the years 1971 to 1997, the archive comprises 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.

Building on the strength of the archive, this ongoing research project aims to understand the development of DEGW’s design methods linking:

  • organisations to the built environment
  • research and practice
  • workplace to various urban scales.

Taking a ‘living archive’ approach, further research will explore adaptations of DEGW concepts within the work of current researchers and practitioners. We are also examining the classification issues presented by these archival materials.


DEGW Lecture 10 October 2018
Part 1: Work and the Future Office
Nicola Gillen, Director and Global Practice Leader, Strategy+ at AECOM

Part 2: Work and the City: Directions for Change
Andrew Laing, PhD, Principal of Andrew Laing Consulting LLC, and Visiting Lecturer at Princeton University, School of Architecture

DEGW Foundation Lecture 5 October 2017
Transforming the workplace
Despina Katsikakis
with accompanying display at Special Collections

DEGW Symposium 5 October 2017
A living archive: Possibilities for/through the DEGW archive

An exploration through the DEGW archive 16 June 2017
Archive, memory and materiality
As part of the London Festival of Architecture 2017 with events at Broadgate and Aldgate Tower

The DEGW Archive workshop 26 April 2017
with accompanying display at Special Collections

Architecture Public Lecture Series: Foundation Lecture 27 October 2016
DEGW: Five Decades and a Glimpse of the Future – Practice by Learning, Learning through Practice
John Worthington MBE