Our Ethos


We are a small practice with a deep passion for design. Being small, (generally five or less) we offer a personal service to all our clients.

It’s our policy to constantly explore new technologies to add further speed, quality and service to our clients. In order to keep ourselves fresh as designers we work on all types of building. Doing so means that advances in either residential or commercial sectors can be shared between them.

Our mission concerns itself with light, space, beauty, efficiency, form and quality. By learning from yesterday we focus our efforts on tomorrow in the hope that we can provide the current and next generations with a better environment than the one we currently enjoy.

Above all, we are dedicated to designing treasures for everyday use and firmly believe that good design will always add value.

Very importantly we are always busy, love Apple Macs, brew too much coffee and eat too many cakes.


Our History


In 1988 David Underhill set up business as a Chartered Architect in his garden chalet. His previous experience had included working for a local authority plus small and medium sized practices including that of Sir Denys Lasdun. Commissions rapidly followed and it wasn’t long before the chalet was abandoned for new accommodation which was added to the front of the house.

It was here at Beechnut Studio where the practice flourished for a quarter of a century. In 2001 William Lycett a fellow architect joined David as a business partner. William had previously gained experience in Africa, designing community buildings such as schools and hospitals.

In 2002 they jointly formed one of the country’s first limited liability partnerships, trading as DUA Architecture.

Martin Hammond joined the practice in 2007 as a ‘Year-Out’ student. He wasn’t the first or last to return to DUA after gaining experience elsewhere and in 2012 equipped with a second degree he became our third partner.

Although our ethos hasn’t changed since those early days, the structure and working methods have evolved a great deal. Today, particularly with the benefits of IT and enhanced forms of communication, DUA has a high skill base with a largely automated administrative back-up. As a result, we believe the quality and service we provide surpasses that which was previously possible.

Our Team


  • Connector.

    David Underhill - Dip Arch RIBA

    David became a qualified Architect in 1980. Before establishing DUA Architecture in 1988, he gained local authority and private practice experience, including with Sir Denys Lasdun. He has previously served as chairman of the Dorset Branch RIBA. He founded and runs the Christchurch area Architects‘ Panel. He has lectured and organised many events and seminars. He also works as an RIBA CPD Assessor. Lives under the illusion that we’re here to have fun.

  • Connector.

    Will Lycett - BSc Dip Arch RIBA

    Will is a chartered Architect with a degree from Bath University and post graduate diploma from Plymouth University. He spent three and a half years in East Africa, with two years as Country Directory for an American non profit organisation, designing hospitals and schools. Will has very broad experience and expertise and, always at home with technical matters, he is the practice IT impresario. A born diplomat with an indefatigable sense of humour, who is a very keen cyclist.

  • Connector.

    Martin Hammond - BA(hons) Dip Arch RIBA

    Martin joined DUA Architecture in 2007 after graduating from the University of Westminster with a first class honours degree in Architecture. He has subsequently gained the RIBA Part II Professional Diploma in Architecture at London Metropolitan University. Between these two, he also fitted in a round the World trip. Most recently, Martin undertook the final stage of his training and is now a qualified, chartered Architect.

  • Connector.

    Ben Rothnie - BA(Hons) MArch

    Ben joined DUA Architecture in June 2009 after studying at Plymouth University where he gained an Honours Degree in Architecture. Ben has since gained his RIBA Part II at the University of Kent in Canterbury. He is currently tackling the final part of his training towards becoming a chartered Architect. Outside of work Ben is a keen cyclist and photographer. Ben also built this website!

Our Highcliffe Studio


In 2014, after spending over 20 years in a studio attached to David’s house, we moved into our new home in Brearley House on Highcliffe High Street, which we renovated ourselves. The old office has now been converted into a creche for David’s grandchildren! Our studio is typically open every weekday between 09:00am and 5:00pm. Please feel free to pay us a visit.