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.

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.

Blurton Hub – official opening

One of the most enjoyable aspects of our work in community projects is getting to know the neighbourhood we’re working in over a long period of time and being able to see a project through from start to finish. Blurton in Stoke on Trent is one such project that we’ve had the privilege of being a part of and last week we attended the official opening event for the new Blurton Hub community building, alongside the new housing and retail which is now complete.

Blurton Hub opening

A project like this has involved many people and organisations over many years, not least of which is the Blurton Farm Resident Association we first met during our initial masterplanning consultation many years ago. Their dedication has been central to the success of the project and we’re looking forward to keeping in touch in the coming months to help them manage their new building and its green technology.

Here’s Christine Pratt, the resident group leader, quoted in the local press about the opening:

“This is a vision that we have had for over 15 years so it is fantastic to see it completed. The hub and new homes are already having a massive impact and making changes to people’s lives.”

Congratulations to Christine and her colleagues and best wishes for the future of the new facility at the heart of Blurton’s community.

I want to be an architect

We’ve been visited today by an A-level student who had the foresight to visit a number of offices to find out more about the profession before she committed herself to life as an architect. To complete her experience it seemed appropriate to ask her to blog about her experience…

When I tell people I want to be an Architect, they usually reply with one of two things. The first (usually from from my fellow A level students) is to remark on the length of the university course, the second is to decide that it’s a fantastic choice because I’m a girl. Basically, people point out the obstacles. In truth, neither of these things really phased me. Many of the architects I visit have (jokingly) tried to put me off, but it can’t really be that bad? 

I want to be an architect because the skills seem really appealing. I see buildings as a public art that everybody sees, as well as a clever use of light, space and materials. I love art and maths, and architecture seems to find the perfect balance between the two. The offices I’ve visited (Axis Design is the third) have all shown me what they do and so far I can’t complain. They’ve shown me drawings, sketches, models and how to survive on multiple cups of tea. I’ve been to client meetings, site visits and finished projects. I’ve also been shown the importance of organization, the relationship with clients and the responsibilities as a designer. Importantly for me, I’ve really enjoyed the atmospheres. Architecture involves many skills, one in particular being able to communicate with people and because of this, everybody I have met has been friendly and helpful, and although some try not to show it, enthusiastic about my future plans for university. 

The best part of my visits to architecture practices is that I’ve been shown things I already know how to do. I can’t pretend I wasn’t nervous visiting a group of new people for the first time over and over again, but I was quickly reassured by the fact I can already draw, already alphabetize and MAKE tea. I haven’t found anything boring and at certain points in the day, hours have flown by. I just need to get myself a university degree and a stronger need for caffeine and hopefully one day I’ll fit in an architect firm just right. In truth, all careers have obstacles, and for the time being I’m still going to pursue this one.

focp shelter

This week we’ve been working on sketch proposals for a building for the Friends of Cotteridge Park resident group. Designed to be a robust part of the landscape that can be quickly/cheaply put up in stages, the project uses a combination of off-the-shelf products and earth sheltering. You can see full details at the project site:


Blurton, Stoke on Trent

Blurton, Stoke on Trent, 2005—present

Axis Design were appointed by Aspire Housing to provide consultation and masterplanning services for an estate of approximately 3500 households.

Alongside the standard methods of enquiry we provided a custom built web site to enhance the reach of the consultation process.

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