A previous client messaged me about a housing project that he had come across on the internet called the Ordos 100. A project with ambitious aims that had failed to get built – and no one seemed to know what had become of it. Not knowing anything about the project, I set about finding out what happened to Ordos 100 – albeit from behind my desk.
“The Japanese House Reinvented” by Philip Jodidio is the latest addition to our library of design books. It was the only book about self build homes on small urban plots that enticed me at the end of my visit to “The Japanese House: Architecture and Life after 1945” exhibition at the Barbican. A must-see exhibition if self build homes or housing in general is of interest. On my initial flick through, I thought the book had struck a good balance between beautiful architectural photography, plans and sections as well as text to explain the features a camera cannot reach. Too many architecture & design books include stunning photography but lack drawings or text to explain what is really going on beyond the one or two shots. All the houses included in the book have been designed by renowned Japanese architects and there is a theme of experimentation and inventiveness, especially in the projects built either in Tokyo or other dense urban cities in Japan. I wondered whether there were lessons to learn from how Japanese architects and their clients have optimised self build homes on small urban plots often acquired at a premium.
A glass box extension is the ideal design solution for creating a space that connects with the exterior whilst providing the thermal comfort of an interior. A client approached us to design a glass box extension for a side return that is surrounded on three sides by brick walls. A small kitchen diner currently opens into the area through French doors and the side return serves merely as thoroughfare to the garden. The size of the space and the nature of its surroundings was suited to a glass box extension, but the budgetary constraints meant that other options needed to be explored. Here are some of the points that have come up during our design explorations with the client. Read more
Renovating a home in 2017 is no longer limited to improving the spatial flow, the installation of double glazing nor the fitting of on trend finishes, technology is opening up a realm of possibilities for what a delightful yet energy efficient home could be. Combining both hardware and software, I will share with you some of the methods that we have used to make recent projects more efficient in their energy consumption.
In London, the dominance of brick in house designs often means that other materials get overlooked. Unless it’s glass which is readily understood as modern and a clear break away from brick. In our studio, we have various samples of bricks of different textures and colours so it’s a material that we’re keen to explore in our projects. Brickwork can add visual interest to a facade through the variations that can be achieved from different bond patterns, textures and arrangements. But what other materials are there for house designs that have the low maintenance of brick whilst providing the clear distinction between new additions and original buildings that better suits some projects?