Forbes magazine quote Studio BAD

We were delighted to get a mention in Forbes this week, the prestigious business magazine, in an article ‘Architects Seek to Design both Building and their Business’ by journalist Jeffery Steele looking at the changing face of architectural businesses.

The article highlights the changes to the design business, changes which were underway but has been accelerated with the impact of Covid. During the past 18 months many practices have seen a downturn in revenue and workload, Rion Willard sums it up perfectly ‘The architect can no longer reply on past methodology to survive in a post-Covid world. New education, entrepreneurial and business thinking will unlock new pathways for architects to venture powerfully.’

This fits within our belief at Studio BAD, that architecture can now take many forms, it is not just about designing buildings but can look at so many aspects of the design business, as quoted “There’s a notion that we have to follow this kind of traditional method of designing, delivering and building businesses, I think moving forward, there are other methods of being creative.”

The article comes after a conversation we had with Rion Willard, for the Business of Architecture podcast, looking at The Business of Listening which you can find more details on here.

The full Forbes article can be found here.

St Margaret’s Church photos

We had St Margaret’s church photographed by the hugely talented Richard Chivers and are delighted with the images, they really show the essence of this project.

It has been an amazingly collaborative project to work on and we could not have been prouder to have been part of the journey and see the rebirth of the church. We have been working together with the Francis and the team at St Margaret’s Church (or Maggie’s as we affectionately call her) for several years now. When we first started the physical church had been condemned, in desperate need of repair and without any heating. Phase 1 (insert link) of the reimagination of the church has delivered a warm, usable space which is now once again a focal point of the local community.

We are particularly pleased with the Sunday School door, a beautiful birch door that creates a private area off the main nave. The solid wooden door has irregular, glazed cut outs, the design is a reflection of the churches ethos to welcome all, letting the light out into the community, accepting all.

Phase 2, yet to be started, will look at installing a new copper clad porch, to create a warm and inviting entrance that activates the public realm.


Community Retrofits Webinar

We were delighted to be invited to deliver a talk for MESH Energy on the topic of ‘Community Retrofits’. As social architects this is an area we feel very passionately about. As a practice we are interested in work that is for the good of the people and planet, and are especially drawn to schemes which don’t involve demolition. In this talk we discuss a selection of our community retrofits, from a refurbished church to a reimagined high street.

Our largest scale retrofit project we have delivered is St Margaret’s church in Portsmouth. The church had been previously condemned, due to the roof, and the congregation were using a town hall nearby, leaving the beautiful church building to decay.

At the very start of the project, we engaged with the community to listen to what they really needed from the project, rather than going in with plans that might not fit their needs. Through this collaborative approach we have delivered the original church back to the community, a light and bright space with modern heating, community space for a variety of needs (such as a food bank, children’s play area and second-hand clothes store) and additional washroom facilities.

It is humbling to think what a positive impact we have had on the city, if the church had been left to rot just think how worse off the community would have been. A refit project may not always be easy but it is so worthwhile, to see the impact this has had on the city.

In Bedford Place in Southampton, we reimagined the urban realm following the road closures, in connection to Covid measurements. Our proposal looked at cost effective strategies to activate and animate the area, looking at opportunities around the road closure which could benefit all in the community. This was a very emotive topic, with so many stakeholders involved, and our countries reliance on personal cars, it was always going to be difficult. Instead of getting entangled in that argument, we changed the conversation focus and talked about the 15-minute city, this allowed us to circumnavigate those initial resistances.

The project has been a massive success, hospitality in the area has not just survived over this difficult time, but thrived. The area of Carlton Terrace has even set up a working group, looking to make the area of Carlton Terrace permanently closed to traffic.  This project has proved what a positive change we can make to the existing conditions of the urban realm, through small changes it is possible to still have a beneficial influence on society.

As a design practice we fundamentally believe that each project can have a positive impact to the built environment, this is not just something we give lip service to, we want to make real change.

You can find the full talk for free on the MeshWorks platform, a low-energy and sustainable building design community portal, we hope you enjoy it and it can inspire you to make a positive change.

Planning hat-trick

We finished last week with such great news; three of our projects have achieved planning permission. Obviously, this is the outcome we hope for, but until you get the official green light there is always a slight nervousness. All the project are private residential schemes but are all quite different in typology and location, they really are a great showcase of our scope.

In central Southampton, Hampshire, the Skinny House is a brownfield redevelopment which creates a new three bedroom house on the corner plot of the existing property. The site is currently an overgrown patch of scrubland with unsightly garages on it, underused by us and an ideal brownfield redevelopment site.

In south Devon we have been given approval for the reimagination of Harbour View House in Brixham. The 1960’s bungalow sits on an elevated site, with stunning and uninterrupted views over Brixham harbour and Torbay. Our plans look to upgrade the home and extend the dwelling, the main objective was to alter the layout so it could be more flexible, whilst also engaging the house with its stunning setting and maximise the incredible views.

The third project is the reimagination of a mid-terrace, late 1960’s house in Bristol. The new owners wanted refurbish the existing house to create a more contemporary, spacious and bright home.

We are thrilled to see these designs progress and look forward to the next milestone in the design journey.

Making a difference through innovation

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 site progress

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.