Coworking concepts

We are currently supporting Witton Lakes Community Association with concept proposals for the refurbishment and re-use of a public baths building, exploring ideas around co-working and community services through project team and stakeholder discussions, precedent study visits, drawings and visualisations.

Collaboration with a cost consultant and considering possible phasing and fundraising is also a critical part of our role for the client and our work will form the backbone of future funding applications to revitalise the street and building.

Flood Resilient Social Housing Study

Birmingham City Council were concerned about the number of housing clearance sites which lay within the floodplain of local rivers and asked us to propose generic housetypes which could be resistant to flooding using low cost, robust and maintainable technologies within the cost/construction parameters of social housing.

The result was a range of 2 to 5 bedroom terraced and semi-detached types designed with carefully developed external and internal levels to resist flooding to depth of up to 1.2m without significant damage to the fabric.

Extensive hydrological modeling was undertaken in collaboration with Hydroland Consultancy and two demonstration project sites are due to commence construction in 2020.

Cedar Cobb – home extension

Paul and Tracey wanted to provide extra bedrooms by extending their dated bungalow. They wanted a more contemporary feel with an improved front entrance and much better views of their garden, its Lebanese Cedar tree and the surrounding countryside.

They got all of that plus a balcony, full en-suite, ramped covered entrance, built-in storage and a window seat for the cat.

The client reaction says it all; ‘The house is a triumph! Your vision translated into a building.’

Bluebell Cottage – Lyndney

After much searching David & Colin found the ideal corner site in the Forest of Dean, the only obstacle to their dreams of an eco-friendly, contemporary house was the sixties house already occupying the site.

With extensions front and rear, and a roof over, it vanished within the apparently new 4 bed house which now occupies the site. The house features an array of low energy tech, a passive solar orangerie and a dog grooming room for Belle after those muddy walks in the woods.

BIM in Birmingham 2020

Rob will be presenting at this year’s BIM in Birmingham event and sharing past research into digital tools, self-build and home user guides. The talk will describe how BIM, online tools, 3D printing, video and IoT (Internet of Things) products were combined in the award-winning home4self project to explore how the design and construction process should shape future user guides and maintenance information in our homes. This research was undertaken with funding provided by the Technology Strategy Board in collaboration with Slider Studio.

SHAP Performance Standard research

SHAP (Sustainable Housing Action Partnership) needed expert advice to assist in the development of a housing design performance standard document.

This short piece of research resulted in a matrix of recommended measures demonstrating how the existing history of best practice guidance, policy documents and regulations can be called upon to provide a simple strategy for stepped improvement.

In addition to the matrix of recommendations and links, a diagram was created to both explain the proposal and provide a tool for future critical analysis of schemes. Envisioned as the first step in possible future recommendations, it is hoped that future interest around the West Midlands will allow testing, development and adoption.

Ryall Meadow – family home

A family of five needed an exceptional piece of architecture on an exciting site. On their behalf, we recently secured a planning approval under paragraph 79 of the NPPF (previously para 55) citing exceptional architectural quality for an impressive riverside site in the Malvern Hills.

Interpreting the family’s hopes for their future home, working with the Malvern Hills District Council and MADE design review panel feedback we developed several evolutions and tested each with extensive digital modelling and drawing.

The final proposal was a synthesis of responding to the topography and river edge, distant views across the landscape and energy consumption and generation management.

BIM software and parametric modelling were utilised to test energy performance and overheating risks, resulting in an integration of technology and decoration using bespoke screens to manage the desire for a predominantly glazed living space – mediating between privacy needs and solar gain control.

Witton Lakes Ecohub

Witton Lakes Community Association wished to create a new future for the Park Keeper’s cottage by the reservoir, provided to them via an asset transfer from Birmingham City Council.

We assisted from the beginning of the concept, collaborating with them in meetings and funding applications to raise money to realise their goal.

The project creates a new community hall extension to the existing building and envisages a base for hosting events and displays around the subject of fuel and energy-saving, landscape and ecology.

Sustainable construction and detailing will be central to the design of the scheme and we have collaborated with Price & Myers structural engineers to create a glulam timber frame structure visible throughout the interior.

Birmingham Settlement Community Building

A Birmingham charity needed a new base on their waterside green space. We recently secured planning approval for a new community building on behalf of Birmingham Settlement to be built on their playing field site next to Edgbaston Reservoir.

The new building sites itself on the original footprint of the previous building to serve the field, with a minor increase in size to accommodate space for group events and toilet facilities. The building aims to create a new beacon set against the green landscape of the site to make it visible to passers-by from the reservoir path and uses an unusual roof form and colour palette to announce its presence.

Construction detailing is underway and we are collaborating with Webb Yates engineers on the detailing and quality of low-carbon, natural materials including Porotherm clay blocks, cellulose insulation and timber.

Cotteridge Park Community Building

Friends of Cotteridge Park needed a new building to help support their extensive work with the local community. The facility will provide a meeting space and shelter throughout the year and is designed to be a robust, permanent solution yet have minimal impact on the landscape.

Designed in collaboration with Wikihouse, the innovative plywood structure is created from CNC routed bespoke pieces, forming box panels and beams that are fully insulated and assembled on site. The final structure is finished in a plain metal cladding to receive a community art mural and kept warm and efficient with triple glazing. A sedum roof will help the building respond to the changing seasons reduce overheating.