2013 has been a busy year at Axis Design for self-build and custom build ideas and projects. Here’s a roundup of all the progress we’re making supporting people looking for alternative choices to the standard housing market.
Stoke-on-Trent Custom Build
Our involvement with one of the UK’s earliest custom build projects has continued this year and we’re delighted to report that the plots have now been sold at auction and 6 families will be embarking on their project in the New Year. The project also won ‘Best Custom Build Scheme’ at the 2013 Build It awards in November.
Collective Custom Build
We shared our experience on the Stoke project with the team at Sheffield Uni behind the Collective Custom Build research project earlier in the year and were proud to take part in the launch event of the final outcome. An extensive resource of information across numerous topics is presented in a very accessible web site accompanied by an explanatory video at collectivecustombuild.org. The site has been a useful tool to help explain the idea behind custom home build to both our clients and resident groups.
Self-Build on a Shoestring
As one of the shortlisted entries to the NaSBA competition to design a house costing less than £50k we also traveled to London to take part in a debate between designers about the different submissions. It was fascinating to compare the construction techniques proposed and the group has begun to discuss the possibility of a ‘shoestring design group’. A video of the event is available online thanks to hosts Ash Sakula.
Custom Build West Midlands Group
If you want to support more opportunities for custom build groups then where better place to start than in your own neighbourhood? We’ve launched a call for group members in the West Midlands and the first meeting will take place in Wolverhampton in January. Sign up at the following web page if you’d like to be added to the contact list: http://tinyurl.com/customhomebuild
An inspiring collection of community action ideas were presented at this year’s Make:Shift event in Wolverhampton and we were delighted to be able to take part and use it as a platform to launch our West Midlands group. A copy of the presentation used at the event to start a debate on housing is available on the Make:Shift web site.
Alongside the meetings, debates and drawings there has also been plenty of self-build construction activity with the start on site of a personal project for one of the Directors. The experiment in modern methods of construction using both pre-fabricated and on-site techniques is well under way and progress can be followed on the dedicated web site: home4self.tumblr.com. The full account of the project history can also be found on Rob’s own blog: no2self.net.
Using products and processes taken from numerous areas of research into natural materials, Passivhaus methodology and breathable construction we’ve been able to test ideas that we think are ideal for other self-builders.
We’re looking forward to sharing this experience with clients in 2014. Let us know if you’d like a site visit!
‘Sphere of Influence’ Event courtesy of the Friends of The Birmingham School of Architecture
The Birmingham School of Architecture was founded in 1905 and over the past 105 years has helped inspire and influence generations of young architects and designers. Last night our practice was fortunate enough to be invited to the ‘Sphere of Influence’ event at the Birmingham School of Architecture at their new home at the recently completed Eastside campus.
The event celebrates the impact the schools staff and student alumni have had on the world of architecture and teaching. Nominations were submitted which saw a wide range of alumni who have made an impact on an international, national and local level featuring architects, industry professionals, academics and current BCU staff. Last night consisted of an exhibition of the final selection of nominees detailing the past and present activities of the various names and their lasting influence on the industry and school.
Axis Design has always had strong links with the school and two past partners were included in the nominations (Allan Haines & Joe Holyoak) as well as current Director Mike Menzies. Mike was a senior lecturer as the school from 1974-1987 with a specific responsibly for the teaching of Environmental Psychology and Urban Design and was nominated for his inspirational teaching. Our connection with the school remains today with Director Rob Annable now teaching on the MArch course and the practice has provided employment for many past students over the years.
An enjoyable evening was had by all and it was great to see so many familiar faces that have helped shape and contribute to the success of the school. It was also a chance to have a look around the new BCU campus and school facilities which provide a fantastic space for future students of architecture.
Our latest completed project for Birmingham Municipal Housing Trust is looking great in the sunshine. The final phase of flats has now been occupied alongside the houses that were handed over a few months ago and this morning we’ve been out in Garretts Green to take a few photos.
Garretts Green, begun in 1939 and completed in 1960, was to developed to rehouse people from inner-city slum dwellings and many of its public buildings shared features of municipal modernism often dubbed ‘moderne’ because of its streamlined and Art Deco motifs.
Meon Grove, a development of 18 flats and 13 family houses, takes its lead from this and in its prominent position, provides a significant new landmark in the area. The three storey flats are an unusual triangular arrangement around common staircases, embracing the two retained trees at each corner with parking/storage underneath.
Their style reinterprets 30’s moderne, a deliberate attempt to lighten the rather heavy post-war municipal housing by alluding to inter-war modernist flats in Europe and America’s west coast, particularly those by Schindler & Neutra.
The composition of brick base with render panels, carefully composed windows and balconies serve to give the flats an urbane quality, as opposed to being enlarged versions of two storey houses. The new housing is closely related in material and window treatments with box bay windows used as visual markers on corners and threshold gables.
Thanks to the whole team for their work on the project, we’ve enjoyed collaborating with Jessup Brothers, Capita, Stewart & Harris and BCC. The success of BMHT continues and this was also recognised again last night with an RTPI award for planning excellence.
(the design process was also featured in a past blog post about our use of BIM and BMHT)
Last week we attended the Greenbuild Expo in Manchester, exploring innovative products such as load bearing insulation for thermal bridge reduction and recycled plastics for external works. We also had the pleasure of being finalists in the Greenbuild Awards.
The Greenbuild Awards 2013 recognise true achievement looking for low-energy buildings that go the extra mile to reduce their environmental impact. The Blurton Community Hub in Stoke on Trent was a finalist within the Breakthrough Award for Innovation. The building features integrated low energy measures including a 33kw GSHP, 9kw PV roof mounted arrays, large scale heat recovery system solar thermal water heating, infra red lighting controls and rainwater storage and recycling. We are monitoring the buildings performance against its expected BREEAM Excellent rating and will use the info to assist the successful future management of the building.
The building is part of the Ingestre Square development, a phased mixed use project including housing, flats, commercial/retail units as well as the Hub and its community garden. The project, due to be completed this summer, is being developed by Aspire Housing Group and Stoke on Trent City Council.
Our thanks to our clients, our project team colleagues Poole Dick Associates, RED Landscape, and Sustain, and the contractor Kier Partnership Homes.
A few weeks ago Axis Design nominated the BMHT team at Birmingham City Council for WMCCE’s Client of the Year award. We were invited to join Capita Symond’s table at the annual Celebrating Construction awards dinner last week and we were delighted to learn that our nomination had been successful. Here’s what the judges said:
The deserving winner in this category is Birmingham City Council’s Homes & Neighbourhoods Directorate. They have shown a clear commitment to meeting the urgent need for high quality sustainable homes and communities providing a growing legacy for the city through BMHT.
Axis Design Architects have nominated the BMHT Team for this category because they believe the project has greatly benefited from their positive attitude to open collaboration throughout – engaging in dialogue and supporting innovative housing solutions.
There’s more information over here on WMCCE’s website: http://www.wmcce.org/awards/2012_client_of_the_year_winner.html
Axis Design have been working with Birmingham City Council since 2009 to help deliver the local authority’s ambitious social housing project, Birmingham Municipal Housing Trust (BMHT). To date we have designed new housing on seven different sites across Birmingham and over the last few months, the team’s hard work has been rewarded with a total of four awards including the top prize in two of the industry’s most prestigious awards ceremonies.
In September 2011, BMHT was the overall winner (Grand Prix) at Regeneration & Renewal Magazine’s Annual awards and also picked up an additional award in the Best Use of Housing category.
“I think that one of the things that impressed me, and still does, is the quality of the team. They’ve got very strong leadership, officers, developer partners – everybody lived and breathed this enterprise. The dedication is amazing.”
Mary Holt director of planning and development at Scott Wilson and judge for the ‘Best Use of Housing’ category at the Regeneration & Renewal Awards, 2011.
In November we were pleased to achieve another double win at the Inside Housing Magazine Awards (left); taking the trophy in the Outstanding Achievement in Housing in England category and also becoming the overall UK winner.
Finally, BHMT was also shortlisted for Sustainable Housing Finance category of the 2011 Inside Housing Sustainable Housing Awards.
We’re delighted by the success of the BMHT Programme and are looking forward to continuing our collaboration with Birmingham City Council and the BMHT Team in 2012.
An update on one of our previous projects… A number of years ago we designed the first phase of a project called Pride in Camp Hill in Tuttle Hill, Nuneaton. We’ve mentioned it here previously in the project section but we’re returning to it again today and sharing more images because we’ve just discovered that the development has been awarded ‘Project of the Decade’ at the recent Regen WM awards. The awards covered a number of categories including this overarching one that asks the chair of the panel to choose their favourite of all the shortlisted nominations.
We’re delighted to have been involved in a project that has achieved such a fantastic accolade. Thanks to all the team members at Pride in Camp Hill and Lovell that we collaborated with.
More details of the award can be found at the Regen WM web site and also the Pride in Camp Hill web site. More photos are available on our flickr page.
Following a busy month of award shortlists, we’re delighted to announce that ecoterrace has won Building magazine’s ’99% Campaign Award for Refurbishment’.
The project was also a finalist in the CIH Housing Awards and Inside Housing magazine’s Sustainability Awards.
Queens Road was also a finalist in the Inside Housing magazine award, shortlisted under ‘Sustainable smaller social housing project of the year’
We can announce that our ecoterrace project has been highly commended at the recent Staffordshire Construction Awards. We’re looking forward to phase 2 and the delivery of the next four properties.