Community, Cultural, Projects

Sevenoaks Wetland Centre

ur proposal for a new Nature and Wellbeing Centre in Sevenoaks embraces a majestic oak tree,
which stands in a clearing signalling the gateway into the Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve.
The surrounding landscape is ‘lifted up’ forming a large protective canopy over a number of
activity spaces below and a continued habitat for flora and fauna above.

This “Archipelago” of spaces references the masterplan connecting the existing collection
of islands in the West Lake with the proposed islands in the East Lake.

Community, Cultural, Masterplanning, Projects, Public Realm

Loughborough Junction Affordable workshops

The proposal for Loughborough Junction Affordable workshops aimed to create a mixed-use affordable workspace for local makers in the thriving centre of Loughborough Junction. The existing site though designated as a Key Industrial and Business area had remained derelict for many years. In the meantime, a local community group had brought the site back into productivity as an urban farm.
The workspaces were to be of a variety of scales, ranging from small desk based coworking spaces to two larger anchor units that housed a CNC Mill and a series of kitchens for use by local businesses. The challenge was to develop a strategy that integrated the existing Loughborough Farm within a thriving works space community.
To keep within the tight budget we proposed a series of low-cost modular units and furniture that could be manufactured on site within the CNC mill. We designed the modular system to be simple enough to be built by lay people and proposed a methodology whereby the units could be built by potential users in exchange for rent rebates over the course of their tenancy.
Variant Office in collaboration with Erect Architecture were placed 2nd in this competition.

Art, Community, Cultural, Projects

Lovers’ Telephone

Lovers’ Telephone was devised in collaboration with Brixton Community Base & Sixteen Feet Productions as part of Brixton Design Trail 2017.
The Lovers’ telephone is a multi-sensory installation occupying the stairway of Brixton Community Base. Visitors will be encouraged to engage by listening and sharing oral histories of Brixton. The tubular cloud was installed in the stairway creating opportunities to engage with the recordings in a spatial and collective way. Some will house looped audio recordings featuring accounts of Brixtonian’s from the Windrush Generation (part of the ‘Vintage Voices’ project by Sixteenfeet Productions), and others encouraged you to tell your own story of Brixton.

Community, Cultural, Education, Projects

Under the Canopy

“Under the Canopy” is our proposal for the Woodlands Trust Competition
“Under the Canopy” is rooted in the instinct of a farmer building a barn or a soldier making camp: to raise a roof and take cover underneath. It begins with a broad truss of interlocking timbers, raised on wooden columns. Under this roof, the main room is an open space that gives onto the landscape.
It is entirely flexible, surrounded by doors and shutters that be closed shut or thrown open depending on the weather and the many differing needs of the visitors. To the fourth side is a private, insulated block containing office, kitchen and toilets.
The end grains of the timbers in the truss can be painted in memoriam. When interlinked to create the joint, they act an evocation of the strong bonds forged during the war, as well as dappling the sunlight passing through in an echo of a forest canopy.
The straightforward panelised system lends itself to organic growth as needs require and funds allow, so that the building can expand and the rooms within be transformed or upgraded. Much as generations of farmers changed and repaired their buildings, these spaces will thrive with the forest.

Cultural, Projects

Alvar Aalto Museum Extension

This was a competition to propose a new link space for a museum space between two museums in Jyväskylä, in Finland – both designed by the great Finnish architect Alvar Aalto. According to the competition brief, this new link space was to connect the ground floor of the Museum of Central Finland to the first floor of the Alvar Aalto Museum, via a ramp. After close study of the existing situation, we proposed a radical yet appropriate alternative.

Currently, circulation around and between the two museums is complex, unclear, and not always universally accessible. We proposed that the new link space could join together more than two floors – in our scheme, a long ramps links the every floor of the Alvar Aalto Museum with the two key floors of the Museum of Central Finland. This ramp knots both buildings tightly together in an organic swirl. This is an organic architecture derived from simple needs, an echo of Aalto’s spirit.

The ramp that we propose wraps itself around the new shop, serving as both circulation

and façade. It peels lightly off from the side of the Aalto museum, continuing the axis created by the stepped pools. This movement carries the lowest part of the ramp under the coils of the ramp above, creating a sheltered porch space overlooking a set of landscaped terraces, inspired by Aalto’s stepped pools. The ramp then spirals inwards as it rises, enclosing the space inside and deferring to the great building on either side.

The ramp that we propose has no start or finish point, as it serves to facilitate connection between the disparate spaces of the two museums. At the top – the exhibition level of the Museum of Central Finland – the ramp reinstates Aalto’s original entrance to the museum. From here, it spirals downward to brush gently against the Aalto museum, and allow access to the exhibition floor. The ramp continues to the entrance floor of the Museum of Central Finland, at which level it opens onto the shopfloor, and then continues downward to join the Café Alvar at the entrance level of the Aalto museum. A revolving door allows exit from the shop to the terraces outside.

Taking cues from the patterns of Aalto’s façades, our building is screened by a forest of timber fins that front either solid panels or glazed panes, creating a rhythm of open and closed that also dapples the light that passes through to the centre. The shop itself sits under a roof pierced by a large oculus rooflight, like an island in a Finnish lake. A single ramp and a single central space thus create a multiplicity of subtle spaces that both serve Aalto’s works and express their own integrities.

Location : Jyväskylä, Finland
Client : Alvar Aalto Foundation / City of Jyväskylä
Sector : Cultural
Area :  640 sqm
Status: Competition