It was such a privilege to be asked to contribute to the latest ‘Solve’ magazine, published by Portsmouth University. The publication showcases past Portsmouth alumni who are busy across all sectors, creating a better world for all and it was great discussing our work at Studio BAD, our passions and philosophy around critical thinking and problem solving.
It was truly humbling to be included in this impressive list including: Roni Savage BEng the founder of ‘Jomas Associates’ who work with the construction industry to ensure sites are fit for development; Kia Hallaji BSc Hons Senior Inventor at ‘?What If!’ helping companies invent new things, products, services or brands; and the truly inspiring Mille Clare BA Hons, although a recent graduate she has already launched ‘Human Beauty’ to show the beauty industry why ‘perfect’ is boring but ‘human’ is beautiful.
In the article I discuss the concept, which is central to Studio BAD’s ethos, that architecture holds the potential to be a vehicle for social and economic change for the better. We believe that to be an architect now it isn’t just about designing physical buildings and structures, but fundamentally it is about creative problem solving. For example in our recent Bedford Place project we worked to engage with the road closures during the pandemic, creating a dynamic pedestrianised area that enhanced the area.
The full article, Architects of a better tomorrow, can be found here.
Culverlands Farm is progressing well on site. It is always such a joy when projects move from the drawing board and into the physical world, we really enjoy and celebrate seeing our designs start to take shape.
The project has reimagined the Farm House with a contemporary 2 storey extension onto the traditional Victorian Farm House located in West Berkshire.
The clients have been very conscious through the site clearing process, looking to embrace a circular economy to reduce waste and reuse as many materials as they possibly can. Reclaimed bricks, from redundant structures on the site, are getting reused in the build, adding a unique and rich texture to the new addition.
In collaboration with John Barkley Architects.
We have started onsite for the new ‘Summer Lounge’ project in Southampton.
The collaborative project reimagines the historic Guildhall Square, animating the space with the introduction of pop up markets, performance space, seating and an 480sqm urban beach. This week we have been painting the ‘urban rug’, the bold artwork that will cohesively bring all the elements together.
For more information
We were thrilled to see our Bedford Place scheme in Southampton, and the work we collaborated on for the Southampton Tactical Urbanism project, featuring in the report on future of urban centers by Metro Dynamics. The report was prepared conjunction with the 36 key cities & core cities network across the UK, looked into our changing urban landscape.
The study has highlighted the unique, post pandemic, opportunity we have to make real and positive changes to our cities. ‘A straight bounce back for urban centers is neither likely, nor desirable.’ It uses various case studies from across the UK, demonstrating possible solutions that can assist other urban areas with their economic recovery, creating more liveable cities and greener cities.
They applauded the work Southampton has done in tackling urban changes, to create new uses for the high street and establishing culture as a key part of its economic recovery. The Bedford Place and Southampton Vinyl project are key example of these aspects coming together, working with local artists and businesses to create active, creative projects that deliver ‘go-to’ destinations.
The full report can be downloaded here
The above image is an aerial shot of Bedford/Carlton Place, Southampton, taken in July 2021. The Bedford/Carlton Place Activation Project is a scheme I worked on recently in collaboration with Studio B.A.D, designing the artwork for the street mural. This was applied in semi-permanent coloured paint to encourage pedestrian interaction with this road surface, temporarily closed to vehicles in relation to COVID-19 social distancing measures. The street mural was further furnished with lighting, planters, tables, chairs and also other items placed by local traders which further developed the project over time.
I originally trained as a sculptor before deciding to study architecture as I hoped to work on creative projects within more of a team environment, rather than the typically more solitary artist studio environment. I also aimed to work on projects which would be of benefit to a wider community and become less of a commodity than fine art works can sometimes be. For me, moving into public art over the last few years has integrated various skills from both disciplines including; researching local context, imaginative design, selecting materials, project management, working with others and assessing community feedback.
Over the last few months I have also been collaborating on other projects with Studio B.A.D including the Summer Lounge activation scheme due to be installed in Guildhall Square, Southampton, later this month. Studio B.A.D work with a range of collaborators and this is my first instance of working with an architectural practice where the artwork has been thought of as an intrinsic part of the overall scheme. Too often different creative disciplines sit at arm’s length in built environment projects. In the Bedford Place scheme, the artwork was fundamental to the placement of the other designed elements. The success of the project has been the day-to-day use of the artwork to informally test permanent solutions for this area of public space. This type of wide-ranging collaboration is a growing trend and an opportunity to bring in creatives from outside of the traditional masterplanning backgrounds to create more unique experiences.
For more information on Studio B.A.D collaborators.
Studio B.A.D were proud to sponsor an award, for the third consecutive year, and be an active part of the judging panel at the famed INTERIOR ARCHITECTURE SCHOOL led by the hugely inspirational Gemma Barton. Gemma has been collaborating with Studio B.A.D on our Bedford Place Tactical Urbanism project. We, as a collective, are always keen to support, and promote the next generation of designers, it is an important aspect of the practice’s ethos. The ‘Studio B.A.D + Chora Award’ recognises Interior Architecture graduating students for narrative and storytelling, through excellence in drawing and representation.
The entries for this year were of a very high level, with some very inspiring and through provoking designs ideas. We commend all the shortlisted nominations; it was a difficult decision to select just two winners in this category.
First prize was awarded to Matilda Swift-Bernard for her ‘Extinction Rebellion HQ’ project.
Darren Bray commented ‘A wonderful revolutionary project, very much rooted in the now, with a quite beautiful narrative of how two environmental activists come together for form an amazing partnership and alliance to do good in the world, responding to the pressures of climate change. A gorgeous heady mixture of powerful storey telling through rigorous tectonic architecture, some beautifully sensitive representation showing the quite wonderful bird bath structure. The reuse of plastic in a reimagined innovative new construction material in the atmospheric subterranean world is both ingenious and a real spectacle. There are so many layers to this thoroughly well considered project. Matilda is to be congratulated for such energy and inventiveness!’
Second prize was awarded to Iona Hepworth for her ‘The Mussel Club’ project.
Darren Bray commented ‘The Mussel club is quite majestic in its concept and incredibly strong entrepreneurial narrative. The idea of working with water and the way in which this is harnessed for the process of mussel farming is delivered with real passion and rigor. The beautiful iterative platform drawings are reminiscent of Matisse’s abstract cut outs and give a real glimpse and flavor of how one would use and interact with such a space, with some powerful sensory moments, especially those demonstrated through the atmospheric film. There are some quite wonderful representation technique’s employed where the sections show both the tectonic qualities of the existing structure but also the sensitivity nature of the water collection fabric. Iona has created a wonderful world of sensory overload, which beautifully represented.’