Posts Tagged: architecture

Life’s Too Short at Urban Design London – 21 November 2013

I spoke at an Urban Design London event about the fun we’ve been having designing for how people live, with Fizzy. Life, Places, Buildings, as the Scottish Government says.

Life's Too Short 21November 2013This is Fizzy’s Mark Allnutt combining a provocative presentation with a pitch for some land. James Pargeter and Rosemary Slater are listening. I’m listening too, but that’s a cracking view across the reservoir back to the city. It’s the long horizontal strip window that makes the view, but we don’t do them in housing anymore, everything’s vertical. Why’s that?

It’s time we got on with PRS, and maybe it’s time we got over the Georgian window.


Sketching in the Olympic Park

Walking round the Olympic Park with HTA Sketch Club admiring the set piece buildings and retreating to Hackney Wick for a pint and review of our work. I didn’t get much drawn but for other people’s super views of the velodrome and other sites go to:

SKMBT_C28413092508590Steve Tomlinson of the London Legacy Development Corporation showed us round.

Stratford International 2 October 2013

Back at Stratford International a week later enjoying it’s Futurist drama.

HTA Edinburgh’s Last Day in Hudson House 20 September 2013

last day in hudson house 20 September 2013Six years after moving into Hudson House we’ve grown out of it’s biggest space and it’s time to get our own place. Broughton Street is a good part of town but there’s a limit to how many people you can squeeze into the former drawing room of a New Town terraced house. Twelve is too many, I think.

Three Presentations: 3 September – 10 September

Jerome 10 Spetember 201310/9 The state we are in today: L&Q (London & Quadrant)’s Jerome Geoghegan let us in on a few stats on the state of housing in the south east. It’s ambitious stuff. I was left thinking that the UK economy has two aces: London and North Sea Oil. Is that a reason to go indepenedent or to stay unified?

Saltire Awards 9 September 20139/9 Looking Back: Lesley Riddoch handing out the Saltire Housing Design Awards at the Lighthouse in Glasgow. A couple of years ago these were often for second homes! For me, the cream of this years less divisive crop was:

Grow yur own home 3 Spetember 20133/9 Looking Forward: HTA’s ‘Grow-Your-Own-Home’ is shorlisted in the Sunday Times Home of the Future Competition. You can vote for it (or one of the others) here:

If we win it, they’ll build it.



11/9 Having breakfast in Hoxton, a chance to reflect on the above. My reflection is: it’s all very well listening to people talking about stuff, but I better go and do some work.

Bridgeton 8 July 2013

Bridgeton. There’s loads of space to develop. The new stuff is as good as the legacy buildings from the area’s industrial heyday.  The Library/ Grade A Office/ Boxing Gym is a super building with an approach to mixed use you’d expect to have been vetoed at some point.

Bridgeton 8 July 2013


I came by bike after well balanced Saltire Awards judging in Edinburgh and toured around by car. The car reckoned it was 30 degrees.

Cool business space from a snooker hall:

Amazing mixed use:





Canongate Tolbooth 4th July 2013

Cycling round Edinburgh looking at new office space.  The parliament end of the old town is my current favourite location and this is local landmark the Tolbooth. It was apparently built in 1591 but could be much younger. Not much changes through the generations in this architecture lark.Canongate Tolbooth 4th July 2013

Talking about Private Rent over lunch in Manchester 26 June 2013

I gave a short presentation about our work for Fizzy and how to design for a business, as opposed to a building. SKMBT_C28413062714540


We’d assembled a good crowd, (there were three other speakers) so a good discussion ensued. It’s written up on HTA’s website:


Saltire Tour 20 – 21 June 2013

I had to miss the start of this to go to Manchester on the look out for a brilliant wee project.SKMBT_C28413062715231

Got up to Banchory in plenty time for dinner with the team and lively debate over a few drinks after (they asked us to put the lights out when we were done).


It was mostly constructive, and set us up for the next day’s tour. Any notes are just my thoughts: the jury doesn’t meet until late July to decide who might win what.










For me, every project was worth looking at and I’d have been proud of any of them.

Richard Murphy’s House Going Up 17 June 2013


Richard Murphy is building his own house just a long the street from the office. Sketching it is like unravellng a little puzzle so I can’t imagine building it is all that straightforward.

Almere – 10 June 2013

Almere 10 June 2013-flat-smallA day out at a self build project in the Dutch city of Almere. Every town should have a place where those who want to go and build their own house can do so. From speaking to the people we met, it can be a hugely positive experience. Out of 600 individually built houses, they’ve had three significant problems.