Prototype Build aka The Bishops Hat

As part of our Collaborative Process Exhibition we designed and build a 1:1 prototype structure, exploring the concept of flat pack, temporary architecture.

The design, affectionately nicknamed ‘The Bishop’s Hat’, was first sketched following a series of community engagement workshops we held at various churches in Ryde, on the Isle of Wight. Faced with the challenge of activating and heating old, large and often protected spaces like churches, the studio explored the idea of ‘a room within a room.’ By building a smaller temporary structure within a larger volume the community could continue to use the space while only needing to heat the smaller area. In the warmer months the structure could open out, split apart and be reconfigured to house different activities, once again utilising the larger volume within the church.

The design is demountable, modular and simplified into a ‘kit of parts’ requiring only an Allen key to fully assemble. It is made with a timber frame and OSB clad, built as corners that can come together or break apart, each ‘part’ can slot in and be re-configured upon the base. The 1:1 prototype build was intended as a proof of the concept, that the design can be constructed, utilised, deconstructed and re­configured in different places and forms. We were all happy that it worked successfully; after four days constructing all the parts, it only took 1 hour to take down and flat-pack!

The vision was to create a structure that can act as a temporary activator. By deploying the structure into an existing space in need of reimagining, it can gather its community in a safe and warm space to host activities and conversations and spark new ideas. With the next iteration we hope to explore its functionality further, with integrated upgrades such as insulation, electricity and cladding so this simple structure could take on many more forms.

We collaborated with Reading School of Architecture to involve two of their students, Dorina Boros and Anna Knight Gonzalez, to join in the building of the structure and to reimagine the design in different formations and locations across Southampton. The students’ designs were presented, along with the built structure, at our exhibition at God’s House Tower in Southampton.

Many thanks to the amazing build team, Peter Bolton, Robin Price, Kane Applegate and Laura Whitney. Also, thanks to Bentley SIP Systems who provided the materials and to God’s House Tower for letting us create a lot of sawdust in their amazing exhibition space!

We plan for the structure to evolve and take a journey with us to new projects and places. If you can imagine the Bishop’s Hat in one of your spaces, please reach out to our team!

 

‘Beyond The Streets’ opening

We were thrilled to be involved in the design work supporting the ‘Beyond the Streets’ exhibition, currently being on show at the Saachi Gallery in Chelsea, London. Over the last few months, it has been such an experience collaborating with the team at the Gallery and the Cadogan Estate, to find a way of bringing a taste of the exhibition out and into the public realm. Last week the Studio BAD team were invited to a private tour of the show, before it was opened to the public, which was such an honour to be able to see all the iconic work up close before the crowds were allowed in.

The ‘Beyond the Streets’ exhibition is the most comprehensive street art & graffiti exhibition to be held in the UK, the show celebrates the fusion between art, music and the fashion industries. The show has previously been successfully shown in New York and Los Angeles, featuring over 100 international artists showing new and iconic works, with each destination exploring the local artists that have roots within this scene, through to the important cultural figures influenced by their work.

The design installations proposed by Studio BAD aim to bring the theme, energy and vibrancy of the Beyond the Streets Exhibition, out of the gallery and into the public realm. Our proposal creates a curated walk up the Kings Road, through Duke of York Square and naturally onto the Saachi Gallery. The proposed public art includes high level banners, pop-up art galleries, a mural and a sculpture. These installations seek to offer a dynamic and lively offer to the public realm, an authentic move for this exhibition, where it had originated in the street.

The show runs until 9th May, tickets are available here.

Collaborative Process Exhibition

Last week we hosted our first exhibition, held at the awesome God’s House Tower in the heart of the old town of Southampton. The show was in part a celebration of Studio BAD’s 4th anniversary, and in part a commemoration of our collaborative process of working. The show looked at some of the key projects for our practice, past, present and future, that have been uniquely shaped by the way we work.

The show was a huge success, over the weekend we were honoured to welcomed over 300 people to the show. On the Saturday night we hosted a special drinks reception, a moment to stop, reflect and celebrate with our friends, colleagues and collaborators.

We worked with Reading University architectural students to create a centrepiece for the exhibition. We gave a design brief to design and build a prototype temporary ‘room within a room’ to sit within large internal spaces, as you often find within churches. The idea was to create a structure that can be used as a private space, to hold meetings, private contemplation or just to create a more comfortable, space smaller in scale.

The prototype device was built in-situ within God’s House Tower, creating a wonderfully warm room, which we have nicknamed the ‘Bishops Hat’ due to the overall space and detailing. Crafted from chip board with a Perspex window, laid out in a simple cross shape, the design offers a small scale room which is designed to fit comfortably within a church environment.

We would like to thank our sponsors of the event, University of Reading, Arts Committee, Eckersley O’Callaghan, Mesh Energy, Bentley SIPS Systems and Muse Coffee (who have defiantly fuelled this exhibition!) without all their support we could not have gone ahead with the event. We would also like to thank God’s House Tower; the team have been so helpful and the space is beautiful and so versatile.

Finally, we would like to thank the whole of the Studio BAD collaborative team, you can find the list of our team here, each and everyone has shaped the practice.  Studio BAD is a rich tapestry of all our skills, experience and heritage, the company has thrived from our collaborative approach and I could not be prouder of what we have all achieved together.

St Margaret’s Church Film

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.

St Margaret's Church Film

Building Trends for 2023

THE AGE OF DEEP RETROFIT AND REIMAGINED EXISTING BUILDINGS

I was asked to predict the a key trend for 2023, by Homebuilding & Renovating Magazine. The one trend I can see being high on all those self-build enthusiasts list this year, is deep retrofit of existing buildings.

We are already seeing this in the self-build industry, where homeowners and those investing in new properties and projects are looking to invest in the fabric of their buildings so that they can save energy in the long term. This is in response to the challenging times we face, with energy costs, rising inflation and how this impacts on construction costs.

So this may include new triple glazed windows, insulating the fabric of a building first, existing walls, roof and floor. It makes sense to put investment into the existing envelope of the building first, before investing in the interiors such as kitchens, bathrooms, lighting and decoration. There is a move to upgrade building fabric now, so that money can be saved and put aside for further improvements on buildings.

We are working with many clients on existing buildings and a phased approach or meanwhile delivery is becoming more prevalent where funds are prioritised to invest on upgrading elements, prior to delivery of perhaps new elements and extensions. In some cases, extensions may be built up to a shell level, so insulated and weather tight, until funds become available to complete and install finishes.

I think we will see a continuing trend for client’s and architects, being smart, taking these moves in order that the continuing pressure on budgets energy, material costs and interest rates, will simple mean that this has come out of a necessity, to have a clear strategy of how you plan your self-build refurbishment, sourcing and prioritised affordable materials, in an age where materials are constantly increasing.

Marley interview, AJ Award

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.