Our story

Max Boisot and Brian Waters worked together as postgraduate student architects in Cambridge. Max then spent five semesters at Harvard/MIT gaining a Masters in city planning and an MSc in business studies. Brian, having worked part time for the City of London architect and planning officer in his fifth year at Cambridge then worked for two years as a housing architect at the GLC, housing Division B. He then moved on to work for Shankland Cox and Associates on a tourist development plan for the Adriatic coast of Yugoslavia and as team leader for the Hampstead Garden Suburb conservation plan adopted by the London Borough of Barnet.

During this time Brian was enduring a four-year day release town planning course at the Central London Polytechnic and was one of a short lived group of architects who were allowed to join the Royal Town Planning Institute as “architect planners”.

Max returned from Massachusetts and worked for house builder Trafalgar House Developments, owners of the Cunard Line, building houses in the banlieues of Paris. He then joined with Brian, hosted in an attic in Grosvenor Street, to work on an entry for the international competition for the Parliament Building, the team including Nick Davis of Davis Langton and Everest quantity surveyors and Robin Dartington, a structural engineer with Arup Associates.

This proved to be a warm-up act for setting up BWCP – The Boisot Waters Cohen Partnership, the C being David Cohen RICS whom Brian met on the town planning course and who had been trained by Conrad Ritblatt and the College of Estate Management and was then working as a development surveyor in Europe for Bovis.

BWCP was loaned an attic in Grosvenor Street by Michael Rosenauer, architect of the Inn on the Park hotel (when he was 92 years old!) in order that Max Boisot and Brian Waters could work on the Parliament Building competition of 1971. We then set it up as a business in some office space in Covent Garden provided by the famous engineer Anthony Hunt. However he was part of the team that won the Parliament Building competition – although it was never built – and so he needed the space back and we had a week or two at the end of 1972 to find somewhere to go.

Max found a huge Cubitt property in Sussex Street, Pimlico which had not been occupied since the war. With a loan of 200 per cent of the freehold purchase price provided by John Rittblat, who had had a hand in training surveyor partner David Cohen, we moved in immediately to the lower floors, converting the upper part and adding a floor and eventually selling off the flats and repaying the debt. Hard times in the late 70s made us lease the office and we moved to Wilton Road once we sold the building.

In 1986 Brian, by then the sole principal, took a 35 year Crown lease on the riverfront space at Crown Reach by Vauxhall Bridge, setting up, with engineer Jack Attas, Studio & Gallery Crown Reach – a serviced office for design firms. When Jack retired David Cohen’s brother Ralph – BWCP’s accountant and financial advisor – bought his share. After over 25 years the Crown bought the space back for residential development in the early 2000’s and BWCP ‘downsized’ with the retirement of key chief architects Eugenia Demetriou and Donald Needham and planner Leslie Robinson who had been with the practice since the mid 1970s or early 80s.

Partnership accountant, Ralph Cohen FCA (younger brother to founding surveyor partner David) has been a mainstay of the firm from its start and remains so as a partner-advisor today. Ralph trained with Coopers & Lybrand and T B M (now EY) before becoming finance director of a number of public companies.

The ‘gallery’ of portraits includes those who were responsible for some of the illustrated projects. Brian continues to to collaborate with some of them, especially Georgina Holden and also the late Bryan Avery’s co-director Anthony Carlile. He is often called on by other architects for support at the strategic level and with planning and also coordinates teams for clients.

Brian’s network, having been a vice president of the RIBA, twice president of the Association of Consultant Architects and chairman of the National Planning Forum and the London Planning & Development Forum, Architecture forum of the Cambridge University Land Society, and as editor of Planning in London allows him to act as ‘client advisor’ and to advise on the appointment of other architects and on town planning matters.

BRIAN WATERS MA DipArch(Cantab) DipTP RIBA MRTPI past President ACA FRSA

BRIAN is principal of architects and planning consultants The Boisot Waters Cohen Partnership (BWCP) founded in 1972.

A chartered architect, he studied architecture at St John’s College, Cambridge where he was a Trevelyan Scholar; a chartered town planner, he studied at the Polytechnic of Central London.