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.
“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.
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.
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.
Our latest housing planning submission is a development of our BMHT work, delivering 12 new Code Level 4 houses on a difficult infill site in Bartley Green. Unusually for a project like this, the best layout solution proved to be to follow a similar arrangement to the previous housing on the site. The challenge with new housing however is the provision of right level of off street parking in locations that had none previously, and delivering the right quality of housing that meets standards such as Lifetime Homes and HCA quality indicators.
Construction of the community centre at the heart of our masterplan for Blurton in Stoke on Trent continues with the installation of a large photovoltaic array that will benefit from the Feed in Tariff.
The 8 kWp system will deliver signifcant daytime electrical load helping to power a 33kW ground based heat pump using five 110m bore holes mining for heat rather than coal.This significant community resource funded by Stoke City Council is part of a mixed used development with Aspire Housing Association.
The first of our Birmingham Municipal Housing Trust projects was handed over recently and we were delighted to take part in the ceremony and meet the family moving in. Here are some details from the press release:
“The homes are the first to be delivered by Birmingham City Council’s Municipal Housing Trust under its large-scale new-build housing programme. The scheme, which will see more than 550 new council homes built in the city, is being carried out with investment from Birmingham City Council and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA). The first four families received the keys to their new homes from Councillor John Lines, Birmingham City Council’s cabinet member for housing, and Lovell regional director David Gough at a specially-arranged ceremony.Mumtaz Begum, 32, was one of the first tenants to take possession of her four-bedroom house. She and her family are set to move from their current home in Acocks Green to their new property in the next few weeks.”It all seems so unreal. I had given up hope of ever transferring to a bigger property,” she says. “I’m just so happy at the move. Previously there were six of us living in a three-bedroom property, and with two disabled children, it was a real struggle. This new home represents a fresh start for the whole family and we all can’t wait to move in.”
Today sees the official opening of the passive solar spaces we designed on behalf of Waterloo Housing for the latest phase of Brandwood End in Kings Heath. Thanks to funding assistance from Birmingham City Council we’ve been able to provide two storey glazed spaces to the rear of ten houses of mixed tenure. Designed as flexible spaces alongside the kitchen/dining room we believe that the life style benefits of sun spaces are equally as important as the energy/economic benefits.
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: http://cotteridgepark.org.uk/shelter