We cycle here and we cycle there…


On my way back from a meeting a couple of weeks ago, I cycled down Marchmont Street next to the Brunswick Centre, and  saw that they were doing a photo shoot for the new London Cycle Hire Scheme docking posts. I had already seen the new bikes in the reception of Westminster planning and had come to the conclusion that they looked a bit clunky. I presumed they were designed…

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Extra-care Housing


We were invited recently by a well known livery company to tender our architectural services for the design of 61 new extra-care housing units in Lewisham. The extra-care units were to replace existing almshouses (a much better term for a similar typology) on the same site. It is often said that an architect’s best work is on a building type new to him or her; bringing a freshness of approach…

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Birds Play Electric Guitars


This exhibition by Céleste Boursier-Mougenot at the Barbican doesn’t sound too exciting but is, in fact, quite mesmerising. Small birds flit around the gallery space and perch on various instruments: electric guitars and cymbals filled with grain – the sounds created by the ensuing movements on the guitar strings are emitted from nearby amplifiers. The gentle cheeping of the birds and random murmurs from the guitars intermingle to create a calming,…

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Eco Build – a bit of tyre ticking


We visited Eco Build recently, and as always we did a bit of tyre kicking on the products. The exhibition this year was much better than previous ones – not just full of boilers! One insulation product on the innovation stand involved the use of the left over bits of tyres after the rubber has been removed. The only technical hitch is that a residual amount of rubber does remain and…

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Refurbishment – it’s not a new thing


On a recent trip to Lucca in Tuscany, I visited the Piazza del’Anfiteatro. An intriguing space – the square is an oval and very simple in nature. The buildings that form the oval are stucco with punched windows and vary in height by a storey or two. The Piazza has a very comfortable feel to it – like a familiar pair of shoes: lived in, not needing to make a…

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