Community, Projects

Misty Mountain Kindergarten

Location : Molewa, Ruichang, China
Client : Hua Yan Group
Area : N/A
Status: Competition

The Misty Mountain is a kindergarten in a city. The built area is large and the plot ratio high for a kindergarten: we must allow for 4000sqm plus parking. On an acutely-angled site with on-grade parking, this became particularly challenging. Thus, we determined our key design challenges to be threefold:
one, create a dense building which still retains a sense of low scale;
two, ensure engagement with the city while keeping the children private and secure;
three, allow for strong internal-external links, with each classroom having access to its own terrace,
four, provide a sunny playground of sufficient scale.

Projects, Residential, Uncategorized

Beddington Gardens

Location : Carshalton, London, England
Client : Private
Area : £150,000
Status: Pre-Planning

The clients at Beddington Gardens appointed us to extend their house by providing an orangery to the rear of the property. The existing house was large and similar to a lot of older houses had been subject to piecemeal extensions over the years. By looking at the opportunities available within the existing envelope we were able to develop an alternative strategy, which provided them with the space they required within the exisitng curtilege of the house. This allowed us to speed up the overall programme by removing the need for planning and a protracted party wall process with the adjoining properties.

This internal reorganisation in turn freed equity, allowing them to convert their attic into 3 rooms under permitted development. Which would allow them to continue to live on site during the reorganisation of the main house. We are currently finalising the tender documents for this preliminary phase of the works.

See more of our residential work in our residential section

Art, Projects

Inverted Aquatic Lounge

Location : Rotherhithe, London, England
Client : Self realised
Area : N/A
Status: Complete

The ideas developed in the ‘-scape prototype’ were further developed for the second iteration, entitled “Inverted Aquatic Lounge.” Here, again, lay-flat hose was used to create a seat, but taking into account the properties of the material tested in the prototype, a far more advanced and fluid form was created. An ergonomically refined seat was designed, following the contours of an ideal chair, and carefully composed to occupy a tight space in the terrace of the gallery.

The lay-flat hose was conceptualised even more so as a unifying element, set proud of a hidden steel frame, and looping row by row to generate the entire membrane from a single continuous coil. The end of the coil hangs from one of a set of steel bars crossing the ceiling. These steel bars hold clear plastic bags, hanging past eye level, which serve as habitats for tropical aquatic life forms.

This interpretation of the same language of hose, steel, and plant here creates a spatially compressed moment, where the comfort and ease of the seat and the softness of the vegetation is counterposed by the industrial steel and the spatial complexity of movement through this enveloping sculpture.

The piece was installed at Horatio Jr in collaboration with Rachael Champion as the second part to the exhibition ‘Architecture of Enjoyment’ curated by Marcelle Joseph. The exhibition will run from MAy 9th to June 9th 2015

Art, Projects, Public Realm

‘-scape’ prototype I

Location : Athens, Greece
Client : Self Realised
Area : N/A
Status: Complete

We have been collaborating with the awesome artist and friend of Variant Office, Rachael Champion to design a piece of furniture for an exhibition curated by Marcelle Joseph Projects  that will tour between Fokidos21, Athens and Horatio Jr. London, beginning October 6th 2014.

The exhibition is inspired by French Pholosopher Henri Lefebvre’s forgotten manuscript entitled ‘Towards an architecture of enjoyment’ written in 18973 and published in May 2014, where Lefebvre redefines architecture as a mode of imagination and calls for an architecture of jouissance—of pleasure or enjoyment—centered on the body and its rhythms and based on the possibilities of the senses.

The prototype -scape developed for Fokidos21 picks up on the themes prevalent in Champion’s work exploring the relationship between industry, technology and nature.   The layflat hose when arranged in series, re appropriates itself to form a surface for inhabitation and infill.  This material acts as both a membrane and container for plant life within the piece.  We see each show as an opportunity to reimagine the potential of the material and format of -scape.

The piece is currently being exhibited in Athens and sits within Rachael Champion’s work ‘context for -scape’

Community, Projects

Briosco Community Library

Location : Briosco, IT
Client : Comune di Briosco
Area : 450sqm
Budget : £700K
Status: Competiton
Competition entry for  the design of a  local public library in Briosco, Lombardy, Italy. The scheme nestles into the existing park landscape with an intensive green roof that maximises the existing community use while reprogramming the site to create a a series of piazzas with varying degrees of privacy.

The Library facade picks up on the region’s strong tradition in the manufacture of terracotta bricks and tiles, referencing the brick patterning of local farm buildings. Building on the morphology of the ‘cascine’ and courtyards prevalent in the local rural buildings, the library brings footfall from the upper park level via a sunken courtyard lightwell.

The building is designed as a series of flexible spaces that are accessed off the main circulation spine and includes lending and reference sections, a childrens library and a flexible community space that is accessible outside of library opening hours.

The project envelope is built to passivehaus standards, taking advantage of the its partial embedding in the topography and passive solar design to keep reduce its environmental impact. The central courtyard allows for good natural cross ventilation of the building.



Projects, Residential

Rear Extension : Belsize Park, London


This project is to provide a new rear extension to a victorian mid-terrace house in the Belsize Park conservation area.

As our client is a musician who enjoys having dinner parties and holding events in the space of her current living room, our proposal aims to provide a continuous space from the kitchen through to the garden via a living and dining area enclosed in a new fully glazed rear extension where she can entertain and perform for her guests. The garden now becomes a key element of the living space allowing for the spaces to be opened up in summer and for there to be light right into the kitchen space throughout the winter.

A linear shelving unit provides detachable elements for bespoke furniture required for social events and our clients expanding book collection whilst also providing visual continuity between the new and old.

Project Team: Ashvin de Vos, Patrick Macdonald, Daniel Fitzpatrick
Location : Belsize Park
Client : Private client
Area : 50 sqm

Projects, Public Realm

Evelyn Court Play Area

Architecture Design : Ashvin de Vos with Erect Architecture
Project Architect : Ashvin de Vos
Location : Hackney, London
Client : Daniel Fitzpatrick with The Learning Trust, London Borough of Hackney
Area : 750 sqm
Completed : July 2010
Budget : £56,000
Photographer : James Whitaker

The Evelyn Court play area is an extension to an existing early-years playground located in a high density housing estate in Hackney. The only available green space within the estate was situated on a raised level adjacent to the existing playground and was fenced off and inaccessible to the community. The objective was to make the green space accessible and usable, establish a connection between the levels in a playful manner and create an entrance of a different kind into the estate.

The design is comprised of a series of geometrical mounds of different character. The mounds are either solid earth forms, timber structures or climbing nets. They offer interesting spaces on top, underneath and in-between for both play and socialising. These in-between spaces facilitate different rhythms and speeds of activities. They are as valued by the children as the more traditional pieces of play equipment, providing incentive to imaginatively explore, inhabit and take ownership of the playground.

It was key to create a playground for children of different ages to play together. We were keen to integrate seating and social areas for older children and adults overseeing their children, to make the site accessible and usable for all. We kept the existing under 5s area and redefined the edges towards the older area to be more open and usable as seating for parents.


Community, Projects

Olympic Legacy Park

Architecture Design : Ashvin de Vos with Erect Architecture
Location : Stratford, London
Client : London Legacy Development Corporation
Sector : Public Building
Completed : 2013
Budget : £1.8m
Photographer : David Grandorge

The North Park Hub building is the first of the Olympic Legacy projects. It was on a fast-track, 15-month programme to completion. As Associate at Erect Architecture during this time, Ashvin led the in-house team in the design and delivery of the project, from the open competition entry right through to completion. The project required the management of the complex statutory requirements set by the specially created five-borough planning authority, the client and the contractor to deliver this project on time, ready for the opening.

The project received the BREEAM Excellent rating, the World’s foremost environmental assessment method. It went on to win the 2014 Civic Trust Award and Selwyn Goldsmith Award for Accessibility.

The space combines  café, community space and public toilet provisions for the North Park, as well as open area. Clad in thermally treated oak timber on a Cross laminated timber structure the building acts as a continuation of the park’s landcsape – the large forms of the stadia and the sweeping planting of the park. The wide awning allows for sheltered space outside, whereas inside the natural light and views allow for a majestic yet intimate family space to evolve.


Projects, Public Realm

Geffrye Pocket Park

The Geffrye Estate Community centre in Hoxton approached us to come up with some ideas for how an empty pocket of concreted land to the south of the estate could be better utilised. They wanted a social, exciting and playful space that would encourage child-play whilst discouraging antisocial behaviour.

The design played on the idea of seating and climbing structures; built using blocks which are too narrow or uncomfortable for an adult foot, the structure would be seen as the domain of younger children who would be able to climb, sit and play on the structure, which with its sculptural form, would itself attract the community to enjoy the new space.

Location : Hoxton
Client : Geffrye Estate Community Centre
Area : 20 sqm

Masterplanning, Projects

Vauxhall Masterplan

Proposals for how a new masterplan for Vauxhall could transform the area through community engagement and key physical interventions.

The project developed was for a competition run by the Vauxhall Business Improvement District (BID). The vision outlined was that of networking community.  Although a physical realm design brief, we argued that it would be through the strengthening of the role of the community, that the meshing of business, the residents and visitors would create a stronger identity for Vauxhall Riverside. Allowing the north–south linkages of the riverside to become enlivened, not just by people moving through the space, but also inhabiting, owning and transforming their space.  The idea of community is not just an abstract concept in Vauxhall: there are residents, people who work and have their businesses, as well as people who come to play – at all times of the day and night.  Basically, the old adage “build it and they’ll come” would not work here unless we managed to network into the community, which would be the physical and concrete elements of spaces and their connections as well as the social element of the local communities’ involvement and ownership.  In order to achieve the latter effectively the proposal is to set up a Vauxhall Community Opportunity Group (Vauxhall COG) who will add a community interest in the process of commissioning of the public realm proposals, alongside the Vauxhall BID.

Proposals were drawn up in a modular fashion so that they could be used as initial discrete interventions and then spread if and when they are successful and there would be support from local people through their involvement, ownership and use. The final plan is the vision at an ecologically evolved climax stage when edges have been activated, such as along the riverside and Vauxhall walk, the fronts, dead spaces, forgotten spaces have been tapped into creating connections between the active areas and current proposals. The diagrams included seed points and direction points which provided indication where projects would start and then spread from.

The over arching vision is therefore based on the concept of enabling what already exists  bubbling beneath the surface to come alive through discrete interventions with innovative design, strong network connections and multiple nodes of attraction. However, the vision is underpinned by the idea that ownership by local people as co-creators, is essential.

Project Team: Ashvin de Vos, Patrick Macdonald, Daniel Fitzpatrick, Kit Gunaratne
Location : Vauxhall
Client : Vauxhall BID
Area : 40,000 sqm