Belleville Rendez-Vous a Ronde – 28 Juillet 2015

Watching Sylvain Chomet’s Belleville Rendez-Vous in Bicycle Outfitters  Ronde in Stockbridge. An appropriately stylish location for this beautiful animation, I think.Ronde - 150731 It’s a cycling theme as this is our last fundraising event before our team of twelve ride 100 miles (each) this weekend. Through incredibly kind donations, we’ve raised over £15,000 for homelessness charity Shelter. Many thanks to everyone who has helped through donations, gifting raffle prizes, baking cakes or offering free use of venues.

It’s been great fun. Now to ride the 100 miles…

Scottish Aviation & Some People – 25 July 2015

A plane, manufactured in Scotland.

Scottish AviationThis one’s in East Fortune. We were there to watch a Spitfire and a Eurofighter Typhoon, amongst others. The last Spitfire was produced in 1948 and 46 years later technology had advanced so incredibly we were able to build the first Eurofighter. It’s the most extraordinary man made thing I have ever seen.

A couple of good speakers:

Peter Oborn - 150721Peter Oborn talking about the role of the RIBA promoting architecture around the world, and how things will change as construction shifts from the developed to the developing world.

GE BRIK - 150717CPD’s on technical systems are often to be endured, but Julian Venus was an engaging presenter with an interesting product.

I looked after the kids for the day, to give their mum some time to commit shopping. Innes ended up in a pond in a public park, momentarily submerged.

Innes- 150724He’s fine, but my child care credentials are shot.

north london line - 150721

A man on the North London line.

Sketching Workshop in Leeds – 15 July 2015

Sitting in Leeds in the evening sunshine drawing a rapidly changing city. There are thirty of us taking part in a workshop at the launch of a sketching competition in memory of the late Denis Mason Jones. I’ve done a little talk on why I think sketching is important for designers.

Leeds - 15 July 2015 Very enthusiastic people, very enjoyable night. easyjet - 13 July 2015In Gatwick. I’m not that fond of flying, but I do like the relentless cheeriness of the European easyjet staff. They seem to enjoy this more than is entirely credible.

Shelter Quiz in Hemma – 1 July 2015

We are raising money for Shelter, so had a pub quiz to raise some cash. Hemma gave us the venue for free, and we had generous donations for prizes. We raised £1300, about 10% of our target. The fundraising page is here, if you’d like to help. Many thanks to those who already have. 150701 ShelterLater, a holiday touring lochs in the Trossachs.

150708 - Loch KatrineWindy Katrine on the Sir Walter Scott.

150707 - Loch LomondRainy Lomond.

150706 - Innes

We did most of it by bike, which is very tiring if you are three.

150709 - SmaxThe rest by bulky Ford.

Meeting Gavin Turk – 30 June 2015

At New London Architecture’s Thomas Heatherwick lecture: an inspiring experience. He clearly inhabits the same world of difficult sites, demanding briefs and tight budgets as the rest of us, but he manages to conjure something completely extraordinary from the same ingredients. The lecture slides are straightforward: it’s the ideas that shine through, and how they solve relevant problems.

Thomas Heatherwick - 29 June 2015Contemplating his amazing work and optimistic office the next morning, I wanted to draw something simple and utilitarian, to get back in touch with my own ‘reality': a truck making deliveries at St Pancras. KM_C454e-20150630090939After breakfast I headed for Hackney, expecting I’d seen enough inspiring characters for one trip, and it was time to do some real work (the protestant work ethic is never far away). Instead,  I ran into Gavin Turk and talked about how you might make space for creative free thinkers in the overheated, investment focused, London property market.


Well he talked, I sketched and noted the presence of paintbrush in the hand of a YBA. I was pleased he signed my sketchbook. It says:

Gavin Turk

did not draw this”.

A Long Drawing of a Long Lunch – 23 June 2015

In Manchester discussing how devolving power to regions can lead to more effective and more appropriate solutions to the current housing crisis. Lots of support for this and lots of good ideas. I think Scottish devolution has opened people’s eyes to the benefits of local decision making but they haven’t yet experienced it’s overwhelming, empowering, energy.

CIH Lunch -23 June 2014Lunch over, I headed out into the warm Manchester sunshine and was surprised to see it was 5.00pm. Lunch and ideas are important, but they are a means to the end: designing better places.

Castleward - 24 June 2015Next day: Derby. We’ve started the design of Phase Two of Castleward so it’s a good time to think about the bits of Phase One that work (mixed use/ mixed tenure/ mixed typologies/ the biggest trees we’ve ever planted/ streets) and the bits that don’t. If being an architect is sometimes quite hard work, it’s all made worthwhile when you see things you imagined realised.

Making Jaguars in Coventry & Warwickshire, in the Shard – 16 June 2015

At an event in the Shard hearing about the power of a research, design and manufacturing based economy in the Midlands. Prosperity, creativity, enviable quality.

Cov and War - 16 June 2015Jaguar CEO Dr Ralph Speth gave the keynote address. Manufacturing economies are prosperous economies when the quality of product is as high as this, and we heard about the combination of education, investment and supply chain required to operate at this level. You need a good supply of great places for people to live too, and we’d love to help with that.

I’m increasingly fascinated by design and manufacture, so I’ll ask if I can sketch the factory.

Want a hug? – 11 May 2015

Want a (free) hug? This is outside Camden tube during a pointlessly brief trip to London.

150611 free hugsFree Hugs is an international movement, but I haven’t spotted it in Edinburgh yet. It’s for fairly expressive people I think: a big hug with someone you’ve never met on a busy corner in London. Am I too Scottish?

Earlier in the week we went out for tea with Jonathon and Pavlina who are sadly leaving.

160510 jonathon & pavlina

Now that might just be reason for a hug.

Golden Lane – 24 May 2015

Chamberlin Powell & Bon designed the Golden Lane Estate in London before they designed it’s larger and more famous neighbour, the Barbican. They’re both outstanding, but I prefer Golden Lane.150524 London Sketch Club-1

We went for a visit with HTA’s London Sketch Club and the London Society. The ‘kids’ weren’t that impressed, which certainly ups the ante next time I’m reviewing their work.


It’s a bit windy and not that warm but this could well be summer, so the real kids and I played outside whilst Julie did some shopping.

2405 Baked PotatoBaked potatoes for tea.

Building Paradise – 6 June 2015

This is Cala D’Or, Mallorca.

150502 Don Jose Costa FerrerThe place is the creation of Don Jose Costa Ferrer, Don Pep, who bought the beautiful but unproductive land in 1933 for the equivalent of 80 euros. He made a masterplan, sold the plots, and designed the houses using a simple palette and sold them to his creative friends. 150504 Why I like thisA stone’s throw from the tourists enjoying the natural beauty of the beaches you can find the place Don Pep created. As the houses have been upgraded or replaced people have stuck to the rules he set, to their credit.

Palm TreeCombine the architecture with the trees, both the familiar pine and the exotic palm, and you can see the Don Pep vision.

Whilst there I enjoyed cycling up to San Salvador at a bit less than half the pace of a pro, on a bashed up Pinarello.


Mostly we were swimming off the beach and…

150603 Relaxing at the villa

Casa Binimelis

… at Casa Binimelis.

150606 Palma Airport Going Home

We are sad to go home but Palma de Majorca is our new favourite airport. 150530 Off to majorcaGrumpy reading Private Eye on the plane.