Tag Archives: culture

Free Architect consultations – Shrewsbury May 18th


If you are thinking about a building project, want some help with planning, design or construction we are running another afternoon of free architecture clinics in Shrewsbury on 18th of May.

It’s a great opportunity for home and business owners to discuss any issues they might have relating to design construction and property.

Bookings for 20-30 minute sessions can be made directly with Rachel Donaghey on 01952 224047 or email rachel.donaghey@lblaw.co.uk

I have posted recent questions from the live sessions on this blog and for Hub Magazine and created an event for Ask The Architect on Tour on Facebook

Live design surgeries – March


I will be holding free Ask The Architect clinics at the Shrewsbury offices of Lanyon Bowdler in the afternoon of Friday 9th March.  Anyone can make a booking to discuss anything from small domestic projects to large commercial works.

More details and how to book here: Ask the Architect Clinic Offers Free Advice

These clinics are in addition to the usual twitter & email service held every Friday afternoon.

Ask The Architect – The ridiculous and sublime


Last Friday was the second series of free design clinics in Shrewsbury, hosted by Lanyon Bowdler and I had some interesting questions and topics to consider.

Planning and Change of Use

The afternoon started with a semi retired couple, who I shall call Mr & Mrs Brown, who live on a small holding of about 6 acres with a large fishing lake set in attractive countryside.  They had recently completed the build of a boat house with workshop, that was originally given planing approval in the 80’s.  As you might imagine the late completion of an old approval gave rise to some complaints being made, resulting in a visit from an enforcement officer, which must have been a little worrying.

Fortunately the planning approval had been secured as work started very soon after the approval was given and the enforcement officer went away happy that all was as it should be.

At the time of the planning approval, the Browns owned the lake and land around it and the building of the boat house was put on hold, because the Browns bought an adjoining plot of land with a house on it and were busy moving in and getting on with other things.

Like a lot of people, the Browns have reached a stage in their life where they want to live in a smaller house that will suit them for now and the rest of their lives, I don’t think the word ‘downsize’ really manages to explain the details involved with this process.  Quite understandably, the Browns would like to sell their home, they even have someone who is keen to buy, and move into the boat house after giving it a bit more space and making it suitable.  This is where things start to get more difficult.

As luck would have it they had a visit from a planning officer, regarding the building of the boat house, who told them without prompting, that they wouldn’t get approval for a change of use.  I thought this was refreshingly direct for a planning officer, especially when the Browns have not made any applications to do so.

I think the help of a planning consultant is required so the Browns can get a full understanding of their situation.  Unfortunately they have already approached a consultant but did not get a very warm reception and as a result were less than impressed with their approach.  I suggested someone I know who I think would be very helpful in this case.

I think there are a few areas that might help in the case for a change of use.  The first comes down to proving a need for the boat house as a dwelling as the building lends itself to living in retirement years much more than their existing home.  The second possibility is to explore covenants on the building linked to the owners and use of the land.  Finally I would like to know more about the terms of the original application to see how it categories the boat house, is a boat house really that different to a garage?

Hopefully I shall hear more when a planning officer gets involved.

World Class Architecture

The most interesting session, from an architectural point of view, came later in the day.  Due to the nature of this session I shall have to keep some of the details to myself, but I want to share some aspects with you as this is a very interesting project.

I met someone who is planning a unique social enterprise based on a grand vision of community, education and awareness of a particular topic that we as a society do not know how to deal with, talk about and react to.

After our introductions I was given a brief and interesting background to my visitor and they went on to tell me why they were setting up a new venture and what they wanted from a building as part of the enterprise.  As part of this introduction the work of Daniel Libeskind was mentioned in detail, with particular reference to the Jewish Museum in Berlin and bookmarked pages of his book Breaking Ground.  It turned out that my visitor wanted to approach Libeskind and work with him on this project, this had been suggested to them recently by someone who knew Libeskind and thought it he would be interested in the project.

We started talking about the theory of architecture, how buildings can make you feel or think and the way that the decisions made during the design process all come from the concept and context of the project.

I found it very exciting to be discussing such an interesting project and approaching a brief by talking about emotive and subjective concepts.  The idea and theory behind this project and what the building should be like and how people respond to it, could be set as a project for a diploma course in architecture.

I hope to be able to tell you more about this project and I look forward to seeing it develop.

All in all a very enjoyable day helping people and I’m looking forward to more in the New Year.

Ask The Architect – Shrewsbury


Following the success of Ask The Architect in Shrewsbury last month, we are running another afternoon of free consultations on Friday the 2nd of December.

Once again the kind people at Lanyon Bowdler will be providing the venue for the day and bookings can be made directly with them or me. Please see the other posts on this website & you can always follow us on twitter.

Ask The Architect On Tour


Coming soon to an office near you & featuring life’s classic questions such as
“How much will it cost?”
“Will I get planning permission?”
And
“Does my Bosch look big in this kitchen?”

Ask The Architect On Tour – Live and unplugged, in full 3D and stereo

The kind people at Lanyon Bowdler have agreed to host a series of Ask The Architect sessions starting this Friday afternoon in their Shrewsbury office.

I will be holding a sreries of half hour sessions where anyone can ask me about architecture and design.  For example, you might be thinking about a building project or need help with design or construction.

So if you want to make a booking all you have to do is contact Sarah Jones at Lanyon Bowdler and I will see you on Friday.  If you want to know more about Ask The Architect please tweet me on @ShropsArchitect or get in touch using the mbf DESIGN page on this blog.

We will be tweeting on the day so you can ask questions on line and if you want you can follow our blogs about the live sessions.

British Gas part 2


I’ve been quite busy since my last post but I am happy to say that British Gas want to use my idea and thanks to the hard work and efforts of John Kirby and the RIBA  things are moving on. 

I hope to be able to report more in the coming weeks and would like to thank everyone who has supported me and helped me so far.

British Gas – The idea


In July I had an idea for British Gas.  I have now decided to describe the idea on my blog, in the hope that something positive comes from it.

As I have said before the aim of this is to promote architecture and design in the UK.  If those who take part benefit from the exercise too then that’s all well and good.

This all started when I was watching television and the British Gas ‘our world’ advert came on the screen.  If you want to see some pictures of the advert look at Helen Butterworth’s blog.  As I was watching the animation I found myself thinking that there wasn’t much of a representation of modern architecture in it and in a little while I had the following idea.

A national competition supported by British Gas and the RIBA to design your ideal home based on the theme of the advert.  The winners could be featured in an advert or two and the other entires could be showed on a website.  There could be a number of categories based on age to widen its appeal and keep it fair for entrants.

I have contacted both British Gas and the RIBA and sent them a few details of my idea and with a bit of luck it might come to something.

I would love to hear what you think…