Nikolai studied architecture at Stuttgart University. He previously worked as a project architect for Michael Squire and Partners on a series of residential and commercial schemes, and as project director for Adjaye Associates in London. Whilst at Adjaye Associates, he was responsible for the delivery of public projects such as the Rivington Place Arts Centre in Shoreditch, the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo as well as Tower Hamlets’ new Idea Stores. These projects were included in a number of architectural biennales and the Idea Store Whitechapel was shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling Prize in 2006. Nikolai taught at London Metropolitan University and was appointed as a Design Fellow at Cambridge University in 2008. He currently sits on the Design Review Panel of the London Borough of Hackney.