Working with the brilliant team at E&J Videography, we have put together a short film detailing our St Margaret’s Church. In the video we discuss the design and the concept behind it, by talking to key members of the team from all aspects of the church – management, end user and of course the design team.
I was recently interviewed by Marley, the UK’s leading roofing product company, about our success at the Architects Journal Small Project Award which they sponsor. The St Margaret’s Church project won the Sustainability prize at this year’s award, which was a huge honour for the myself and the collaborative team.
The award ties in succinctly with the founding ethos I had when setting up Studio BAD, we are interested in two things, one is social architecture and the social impact of architecture. The other is our passion for the reuse and reimagination of existing buildings. I always had a crazy idea that as architects, we could run sustainable businesses by doing pieces of work that question whether you actually have to build anything at all. The success of St Margaret’s Church has demonstrated that my crazy idea is possible!
At this project we only touched the church lightly, yet have achieved a huge transformation for the building and the community that use it. I think it was brave for AJ to give the award to a project that isn’t glamorous architecture. This award is important for all of the Studio BAD team, and is equally important to our client.
The full article can be found here.
We were delighted to have taken part in the recent webinar with Architects Journal, discussing sustainability in small projects, hosted by their sustainability editor Hattie Hartman. It was a really interesting conversation which looked at the approach to sustainability in two very different projects, if you missed the seminar you can catch up with a recording here.
We presented and discussed our St Margaret’s Church project, a large community hub redevelopment which won this year’s AJ Small Projects Sustainability Award. We were joined by Summer Islam from Material Cultures, who discussed their small Block House project which focused on experimental materials, and which had also been shortlisted in this year’s sustainability awards.
It is increasingly important to shine a light on projects that lead the way in sustainability, which is something that we all understand to be important within the build industry but unfortunately it is not always imbedded in design. During the seminar we discuss and explore ideas of retrofitting, collaboration and innovative use of materials.
The seminar concluded with some interested questions from the audience, including what the process was for focusing on the heating of the church, why we choose to use concrete within a historic building, how the church is now use by the community and what we would have done differently.
A really interesting conversation you do not want to miss!
RIBA St Margaret’s Church Tour & Talk
Last week we hosted a RIBA talk at St Margaret’s Church, the free event gave anyone, and everyone an opportunity to visit the church and ask the design team questions regarding this brilliant scheme. Luckily someone had the foresight to record our talk and Q&A session, well worth a watch if you were not able to join us.
We were joined by the wonderful Andrew Malbon, a key member of the church team and also a fellow architect. He gives a great introduction to the project, offering an insight into the project from the church perspective – ‘Keep the thing the thing – no matter how gorgeous and lovely the (architecture is), and it is, it is here to support the people who come in the building.’
Andrew was also able to share some figures which highlight the positive impact the scheme has had on the local community. The food bank, for example, fed about 100 people a week throughout the pandemic, totally around 10,000 meals provided which could not have been done without the physical space of the church. The children’s soft play now hosts around 50 children visiting per week (not including those who use it over the weekend during services), it has become a safe and inexpensive space for families (not just from the congregation) to come together and use.
From the Q&A session, one question that really stood out for us was:
‘What has come out of this which wasn’t planned – any unintended happy accidents?’
Andrew explains how the project has expanded across the building; people no longer just congregate in the center of the church but have grown into all corners of the building. He explains how at the first wedding in the refurbished church there was an amazing, fluid use of space, which was amazing to see how the church could be utalised in such a way.
Darren explains how this project has taught Studio BAD the importance of starting each project without any preconceived ideas. Since the success of St Margaret’s, they have been asked to recreate the scheme elsewhere, however it is important not to just copy but to see the needs for each community and shape the project that way.
The future of a church is not just about Sunday, it is about community and what the physical building can offer.
The talk starts around 4 minutes into the video, Darren comes in around 22 minutes.
RICS Award Shortlist 2022
The awards were set up by RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) to annually celebrate the most inspirational projects that also have a positive impact on the local community, or natural environment. We feel especially proud to be included in the shortlist for this award, as throughout the church project the community has been at the heart of the design, so we are grateful to to have this celebrated and recognised by others.
We would like to thank the whole collaborative team who have helped to deliver this scheme, alongside our most wonderful clients at the church who have been so open and welcoming to our design ideas.
Congratulations to all the projects shortlisted, we are amongst some brilliant schemes which all deserve to be celebrated. The regional winners will be announced on YouTube on the 18th May.
This is our second inclusion in the RICS Awards, previously our October Books project was shortlisted in the 2020 awards.
The church had been one of the 20 projects shortlisted in this year’s awards, due to the high level of the other projects shortlisted we hadn’t anticipated coming home with a trophy, to be honest we were just going to enjoy the evening! It was such a wonderful shock when our project was announced.
As part of the process for these awards all those shortlisted were invited to present the project in 2 minutes! Followed by an in-depth Q&A session afterwards from the judges, which was slightly intimidating but a good way to really get to the heart of the project, it must be extremely hard for judges to understand the nuances of each scheme just from a standard award submission.
Thank you to all our wonderful collaborative team who were involved in this project, it could not have been done without us all working together. Also, this project could not have been achieved without our amazing and encouraging client, always so open to our ideas and really became an integral part of the design process, making for a richer and more successful scheme.
This award is so important to us, not the trophy but what it represents. As a practice we strongly believe that architecture hold the potential to be a vehicle for social and economic change for the better, we strongly advocate the idea of reusing and reimagining where possible as it can deliver more sustainable and far richer designs.
Congratulations to all those shortlisted in the awards and to Atkin Studio the overall winner for their Drovers’ Bough project, and to Unknown Works for Brightbox which took the People’s Choice Award. There is an exhibition running for the next month of all shortlisted projects at the APT studio at 235 St John Street, London. If you get a chance it is well worth visiting and is free to all.