Young Nicholas was a quick study, and he readily absorbed the skills of his master. From 1684 on Hawksmoor worked with Wren on all his major architectural projects, including Chelsea Hospital, the rebuilding of the London churches damaged in the great Fire of London, St. Paul's Cathedral, Hampton Court Palace, and Greenwich Hospital.
Along the way Hawksmoor acquired a number of posts which speak to his developing skill; in 1689 he was named Clerk of the Works at Kensington Palace, and in 1705 Deputy Surveyor of Works at Greenwich.
At about the turn of the century Hawksmoor began to help one of the other fashionable architects of the day, John Vanbrugh.
With Vanbrugh he was involved in the building of Blenheim Palace for John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, and Castle Howard for the 3rd Earl of Carlisle.
Shortly after his work with Vanbrugh, Hawksmoor began to take commissions on his own. His style differed from both the prominent men he had worked with. It was neither so gracefully classical as Wren, nor as enthusiastically ornate as Vanbrugh's Baroque excesses.
Unlike many of his contemporaries, such as James Gibbs and Thomas Archer, Hawksmoor had never traveled abroad to be influenced by Italianate fashion. Instead, much of his Roman classical style was gained through close study of books.
Showing his versatility, Hawksmoor designed the Clarendon Building in Roman classical style, and the wall screening Queen's College from High Street in exuberant Baroque
On the ecclesiastical front, Hawksmoor was responsible for 6 new churches in London, built to serve the expanding London suburbs. Each of these designs is different, each unique. Of these churches only St. Mary Woolnoth is actually in the City.
One of Hawksmoor's final great works was on another church, Westminster Abbey. When Christopher Wren died in 1723, Hawksmoor became Surveyor of the Abbey in Wren's place.
It is perhaps unfortunate that Nicholas Hawksmoor had such a famous master, for he deserves to be remembered for his own abilities as one of the finest British architects of any era.