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cities, suburbs, local places, open spaces Creating Places for People

Annual Review 2008


cities, suburbs, local places, open spaces Creating Places for People

Annual Review 2008




Cities, Suburbs, Local Places, Open Spaces Tony McGuirk, Peter Drummond and Shyam Khandekar discuss the subject with Lee Mallett

Lee Mallett (LM) There’s been a shift from a debate about architecture in the 1980s to more of a focus on regeneration and urban design.

Tony McGuirk, Chairman

Peter Drummond (PD) Over the last 25 years the role of the urban designer, the masterplanner has started to flourish. Suburban development was left largely to housebuilders. There is the sense now that places are more important and part of the designer’s life. Shyam Khandekhar (SK) Architecture in most societies includes urban design. In societies which necessitated people working together, like the Netherlands, urban design evolved as a much stronger discipline.

Peter Drummond, CEO

Shyam Khandekar

Tony McGuirk (TM) You can compare that to American society where urban development sprawled in an individualistic way. As we look for ways to deal with global issues perhaps we should look to the Dutch model. In the 60s cities were left and not helped to recover from the second world war so you had lots of brownfield land. Instead we had new towns which were a very organised development of suburbs. Now we have eco-towns, but what’s happened to our

New Town skills? A lot of the things that were set in place then are so pertinent to today’s society. PD We’ve spent the last 30 years repairing some of the damage which was the opportunity for some of the big schemes in the 1980s. There was a dramatic change in attitude in the early 1990s. We started to reappraise what we needed to do in our towns and cities. We started to think that creating places of value is not the same as creating a million sq ft of mall shopping. The 90s recession provided time for reflection. But it has taken 15 years for those reflections to manifest themselves. LM Do you think there’s been a line of reaction against the developments that took place in the 60s and 70s? It took us a long time to get places working again. TM It is adversity that gets the professions who are involved as well as the public thinking about the wider issues. Adversity created the New Towns movement. Modernism was about getting people out of insanitary conditions. But what happens is when we

get better economies architecture and urban design can be used as a commodity. The professions, despite their mistakes, retain the drive of the wider issues. Energy, sustainability, global warming, they’ve become our wider issues. They stimulate people, they stimulate professionals. We started to gather the issues after the recession of the early/mid 90s, but then as we pulled out of recession we also started to see architecture become a commodity once more. I think this pause we’re going to have now will help to rectify that shift. When architecture is used as a commodity there will always be a reaction. Our founder George Grenfell Baines and movements like Team 10 believed that the 60s commodification of housing was not the way to go, creating mass-industrialised products. It is about how you make architecture based on relationships and well-being. SK The pressure we have is globalisation. If something has been successful somewhere then it is transferred all over the world, particularly with building and building design types. That is something as designers we have to fight. The real role of the urban designer is to create a place that is specific to context. Developers are also realising that this is something which creates value.




Creating Places for People – Annual Review 2008

“If you want authenticity of place you have to think regionally”.

“The future can also be about recreating some of the good things from the past”.

LM Sir Michael Lyons’ report drew the conclusion that the central role of local government should be that of placemaking. TM We tend to bypass the regions because of globalisation. If you want authenticity of place you have to think regionally. SK Regionality is also the dynamo of a rich society. We went to look at the Peak District – a great landscape. The same stone was used for the bridges, the buildings and the landscape had the same colour. It looked so good because none of it was made from stone from China or metal from America. TM The thing which shaped the use of those materials is the local climate. If architecture is going to relate more to how people live then we need to start with the fundamentals, understanding the people, and how they see themselves living in that place. LM But developers often feel they can’t afford politically to engage too much with local people. You have to assume the local authority is doing that through the democratic planning process. TM There is a bureaucratisation of that essential part of the process. If designers and people do relate they will tend to get a sense of place out of it. Our schools of architecture don’t push that – designing for people. They push highend architecture.

LM In the 80s the community architecture movement was seen as the way to re-engage with localism. But it was seen as stripping out a wider intellectual content. TM It did get denigrated. A lot of people in architecture at the time wanted to do hightechnology buildings. There was a big divorce – because the Prince of Wales got in the middle of it. He allied more with the community architects. He did many of them a disservice by doing that because the fight then became against many of the things he represented. LM It was a shame it got so polarised because you can feel the need for a much more constructive relationship. SK The trick is that things have to evolve in a certain way so that it is understandable to everyone else who’s living there. Cities have a character which is always related to something which created the settlement in the first place. TM You can rediscover those things. In Aarhus in north Denmark they’ve opened up a river in the centre of the city that was culverted 50 years ago and created a new area that is as it was many years ago, around the river with shopping, a promenade. The future can also be about recreating some of the good things from the past.

SK We carried out a similar project in an historic town in the Netherlands – Coevorden was a little remote, medieval place, and its economy wasn’t doing very well. We engaged with lots of local participants. We suggested around 20 interventions which were unanimously agreed by all groups. We took some of the different layers of history of the town and reinterpreted them, so some of the old lines have come back, and we’ve recreated three harbour bastions in a modern design – so people can sit there and watch the boats and the water. Because the ideas were agreed by all the interest groups, the politicians also agreed the ideas unanimously. LM There is an interesting relationship between urban design and local politics isn’t there? Is local interest an unexploited force for change in Britain? SK In the Netherlands people have an enormous suspicion of the local authority. As an external consultant it is often easier for us to operate because people have no value judgement about us. In Coevorden, there was a tremendous mistrust of new buildings. 70s, 80s and 90s buildings had destroyed the feel of place. To get a new town hall built was a process of education. We invited three architects, one traditional, one more modern, one a little different from the others. They attracted a really big audience and people realised you can build new architecture which enriches an historic place.


Cities  Suburbs  Local Places  Open Spaces

LM If you do engage people properly then it is possible to “de-risk” the planning process. But do you think we’re still in a period of resistance to new architecture and planning? PD I think that has changed, especially where people were involved in the process. On Liverpool One we held meetings every month on site. Anyone could go. The other architects on the scheme were involved. There was a real sense of participation – even with a £400m development that was going to go at a crashing pace, hurdles of mistrust were overcome. The great thing about listening to people and connecting that to the design, is that it is a really creative process. The fear is of course that if you listen too much to people you’re going to get a “dumbed-down” scheme. Absolutely not. But there is a fear that as soon as you engage somebody’s going to say “no” or “make it smaller”. TM It is a tricky process, and it’s always been a question of “who are the users?”. Many inner cities have only a tenth of the population they had years ago. It becomes even more difficult with eco-towns. I don’t think we’ve done enough work on how people can be brought together to represent their community. Housing has always been about how people live in their homes and how they live with their neighbours and nobody’s doing any real research work, so we get a commercialised product. In our Den Bosch scheme everybody has their own big storage space in the basement, where they can put their bicycles, their kit for summer holidays,

playthings for the children. Over here we don’t approach housing like that – asking what does the family need to live? LM A lack of engagement is obscuring what we should be producing both in terms of places and buildings. TM What goes into them? By comparison to research in education buildings, research in living buildings or places is minimal. The amount of work that was put into housing during the post-war Parker Morris period is significantly greater than anything we’ve done since. There are no forces drawing the whole thing together. I felt that community architecture tended not to bring something really exciting out of the engagement. There are a number of people who did bring something exciting – Ralph Erksine, Aldo van Eyck and Giancarlo de Carlo, who produced something that people hadn’t imagined would come out of the discussion. The starting point was to talk to people and they were able to transfer that into iconic solutions that have a communality about them. PD The critical thing is how do we use place? The burghers of a city and developers have an obligation to observe and promote how people will use that space, how it is managed, celebrated, enjoyed. There is this sense that if you do a major scheme, go through the processes, then the job’s finished. But that’s where it really starts.

TM People like Jan Gehl have brought this to the fore again. He’s always taught “go and look what people do”. We have to be careful we’ve not neutralised our minds to that sensibility of what makes place. We need to rekindle that observation. We need it in design education. It was interesting to go back to Hampden Gurney school after seven years and find out what was working and what wasn’t working so well. When we first designed it they had classes 50% undersubscribed. They now have 350 applications for every 30 place class. It’s also changed the demographics because most of the kids used to come from poorer areas. Now you get the media mums and dads from Marylebone bringing their kids.

“Housing has always been about how people live in their homes”.

LM The holy grail of regeneration – a social mix. TM Successful schools are a great vehicle for that. The verticality, which was seen as a great problem by the education authorities, a sixstorey primary school, has also worked well. It has given the age groups a certain territory, and the school is also easy to identify. We need schools that are within walking distance of their communities. PD It’s going to be interesting to see how Liverpool One is perceived. The masterplan is far more important than the iconography of the buildings.

“Go and look what people do”.






Creating Places for People – Annual Review 2008

TM Shyam worked on the masterplan for the housing scheme in Den Bosch. What impressed me about that city was the station was a generator of people and on the other side of the main space you had all the schools, colleges, university buildings. So you’ve got this constant weaving of people. Where we put activities is so key to the whole thing. 30–40 years ago developers used to try and neutralise that mixing by capturing everybody inside their development (like Manchester’s Arndale Centre). Cities are all about people flowing. SK But we are getting too protective. We’re trying to prevent something going wrong rather than making interesting liveable places. You have all these regulations dictating urban design. You have this paradox of accessibility – maybe there’s a motorway, a railway line, a river – but environmental laws prevent you from taking advantage of that. TM It is hard to fight against a regulatory environment intent on eroding a sense of place. We need a flexible approach. You couldn’t design Perugia again. Most buildings sit at the side of regulations these days. They are not precisely compliant and we act as advocates to negotiate a solution. This isn’t the case with place regulations and it should be.

LM We seem to be in thrall to a systemised approach to the built environment.

LM Giving people access to design is something you think should be stronger?

PD But we don’t revisit that and see whether regulations do or don’t work for us. We look for the next big thing to improve things, but it may already be sitting there in front of us waiting to be revisited. It’s the old thing but it has been regulated so it doesn’t work very well. I think you can be optimistic about what we’re learning. Now we can see what was broadly good, or bad. The next generation of mixeduse places will be better.

TM In Den Bosch, when we showed our designs to the public, they got TV people to present the ideas. They had a thousand people there. There is that phrase by Giancarlo de Carlo which said something about “designing for the messy vitality of life” and the process in many ways tries to neutralise that and we’ve made it difficult to harness it. PD The next few years are going to be very different, more incremental. The regeneration process is going to work in a wholly different way. You’re not going to get the major developers and housebuilders coming forward with £400 million schemes. We could aim at smaller interventions of high quality or relevance.

TM But nobody is really fostering an idea of what should a really good suburb be like. LM Isn’t it a lack of resource to be able to do the thinking? TM It is. I’m not sure there is the motivation either. If you look at the things that happen in the Netherlands, a lot more thinking goes into it. We don’t really have those exemplars yet. It is such an important culture that we need to generate in our society. You only get that by seeing places. The Sorrell Foundation is very interesting. They promote designers working with school pupils. If young people grow up knowing how designers work, they will grow into adults who know how designers work.

TM Also making cities and places more lifetime orientated. So people stay in places rather than move away. If there is demand for new suburbs are they going to be the “Brookside” or the Malmo version? In Scandinavia a lot of good developments are by housebuilders. But if you don’t put the agenda in place you can’t develop the culture. And obviously the need for sustainability is a big opportunity.

LM After accepting the need for sustainability in its wider sense, it does seem that only good urban design can really deliver it long term. TM Urban design manages the wider resource. PD It’s not eco-towns we should be looking at but eco-suburbs. And maybe we should reconsider aspects of the Green Belt. We do need a lot more houses. TM We’ve not really built up our inner suburbs – like Kensington & Chelsea for example, compared to much of east London. There are some wonderful examples of beautiful suburbs, in Oslo for example. We’re not doing it. The merger of the Housing Corporation and English Partnership should make things a lot more flexible. Public transport itself will become a major opportunity. Crossrail for example. In the meantime in Spain it is estimated that every person will be within 30 minutes of a highspeed train station. We’re not anywhere near that. The opportunities to make society more sustainable, being able to stay where you want to stay, and commute environmentally, will change the nature of our places. The suburb doesn’t need to be a non-ecological animal, especially if you are close to a station. If we revitalise our suburbs they could play a much more important role in Britain’s future.


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Creating Places for People – Annual Review 2008

Perspectives on Cities By people in BDP

Hackney Martin Davies

Hackney has done a lot over the last few years to rid itself of its council failing, crime-ridden reputation. Since I have lived here the Hackney Empire has had a successful resurgence, a new BSF school has started a few doors down, the local park’s disused lido has been brought back into use and the local elite can now queue for their £15 free-range chickens at Broadway Market on Saturday mornings. Hackney is one of the most vibrant multicultural boroughs in the land and this is evident through the variety of food stores, restaurants and churches along its main streets. However, Hackney’s real problem is failing to attract the retailers that matter. New units that have been provided often lie empty until let to another betting shop or take-away pizza. I moved here to take advantage of the relatively cheap property and good location and while it has shown signs of improvement and regeneration over the years, largely under the protocol ‘knock down a pub and build a block of affordable housing’, the area still struggles to meet the expectations of many of those who live there.


Cities  Suburbs  Local Places  Open Spaces

This City, That City Murray Kerr

The City of London Wayne Head

My greatest pleasure has become a couple of soft boiled eggs on a Sunday prior to whatever the day holds; a walk around the streets east to west of the city, a swim outdoors, some food cooked by someone else or sometimes all of the above.

Walk around the Barbican in your comfortable trainers. Once you have got your bearings you will discover a feeling of domain, almost independent from the rest of London. There is a sense of locality where the axes of the layouts shift in form. The polygonal plan form of the towers, with their far-seeing views across town and the more localised outlook from the terrace blocks closer to the ground. The Podium affords a glimpse of all human life, from striding pin-striped city gents in the morning to staggering curry-laden drunks on a Friday night.

This enjoyment has come from my position in the city, geographically speaking, as I write this from Old street or Hoxton or Shoreditch but certainly from a centre of this city. But I write this soon to be denizen, someone from somewhere else, as I was when I arrived. I’m moving to The Hague. It’s been a trial to find a place or home in London but no sooner have I stumbled upon it, courtesy of my granny’s failsafe method to perfect boiled egg, I’m off. The search to find a similar place within a new much smaller land, new work and new language is on. I’m sure it’s possible but it may just involve a bike and the whereabouts of a good chicken!

Here many people reside within walking distance of their workplaces in small defiance of the congestion charge. Others merely maintain a useful pied a terre. Resident families enjoy the private gardens, play areas, public theatre, cinema, restaurants and shops. The Barbican playgroup and new local school provides formal education and the School of Music nurtures budding virtuosos. The church of St Giles Cripplegate, where Milton is buried and his crony Cromwell was married, provides spiritual guidance for those who seek it. The clipped lawns of the gated gardens echo the squares of Bloomsbury, Kensington and Chelsea.



7 kilometres 20 minutes Ninian Adair

Some people described it as a great impersonal dormitory. Many of the residents though definitely feel a sense of belonging. But of course a degree of anonymity is maintained, for such is British reserve! The pace of life can be as gentle or frenetic as you please. Ask Peggy the “duck lady” who voluntarily takes care of the local duck population. So, what does living in the city mean to me? Everything body and soul requires within easy reach? Certainly. A sense of history, continuity and life going on? Definitely. Above all, a wondrous place for my young family to grow up in.

Living and working in a city includes the regular journey between home and work. When cycling or walking, a rich spectrum of urban spaces, people and activity can be confronted. For me each journey has features of permanence: the local park, nothing grand but in the city nature in small doses gives a big hit; the canal like a glass runway disappearing into the distance and the broad tree lined avenue ruined by traffic calming and bold white chevrons, blend into the chaotic streets that prevail as thousands of individuals make their own way, converging and diverging from tributary paths. Then there are the odd disconcerting events: two men in the chaos carrying a large sheet of plate glass over a zebra crossing and the fifty metre motorbike wheelie performed from a standing start at the lights. Suffused with all this is patina of time. Worn steps hollowed by ancient citizens, crumbling walls, cobbled streets and invisible long gone industries give way to an awareness of the ingenuity of man to be responsible for such a huge contrivance over centuries. Despite the tensions, the permanence and impermanence, this interaction engenders a feeling of belonging to something vital and your home expands to embrace the city.


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Creating Places for People – Annual Review 2008

Victoria Square Belfast

Integrating the existing city centre with the Laganside waterfront cultural area, Victoria Square has had a major impact on the renaissance of Belfast. The quarter includes retail over two ground levels; cinemas, restaurants, bars and cafes form two further upper levels, with two levels of basement car parking. New city living forms an active edge to one of the main city streets while existing historic buildings have been carefully integrated at two of the main entrances. Its spectacular dome has become an icon on Belfast’s skyline.


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Victoria Square , Belfast

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Victoria Square, Belfast


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 Birmingham City University

A masterplan for a new city centre campus in Eastside, which is the ideal location to build connections between learners, businesses and the public, shaping the architecture around both functional and social aspirations, in this rapidly developing part of the city.

  St James Quarter, Edinburgh

The major regeneration of the St James Centre on a World Heritage Site in Edinburgh will create a city quarter incorporating new and existing development and several listed buildings. In addition to high end retail it will include homes, a banking headquarters, catering and major civic and cultural buildings.

 Edinburgh Drinking Water Project

Perched on the edge of the Pentland Hills high above the city of Edinburgh, this new facility will provide all of the capital’s needs for fresh drinking water well into the future. Discreetly concealed underneath Scotland’s largest green roof, the project will generate much of its own power needs through gravity hydro-turbines whilst encouraging bio-diversity through surrounding drainage wetlands.


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Creating Places for People – Annual Review 2008

Indigo, O2 Arena, Greenwich Part of the multi-million pound redevelopment of The O2, this state-of-the-art venue is the first purpose built facility within London to cater specifically for amplified modern music. The acoustics designed by BDP for this more intimate venue have been hailed as its best feature.


Cities  Suburbs  Local Places  Open Spaces

Cathedral Quarter, Blackburn Regeneration plans for this quarter of Blackburn will create a mixture of workplace and business development, new shopping, a new public transport interchange and public realm set around the cathedral.

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City College Norwich Designed to be a flagship for Norwich and Norfolk this carbon neutral innovative campus for 20,000 students will showcase employability and declares its vision as ‘a learning environment that mirrors the real world and dissolves the boundaries between learning and working’.


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 National Blood and Transplant Centre, Finton, Bristol

The recently completed NHSBT centre in Filton has the capability of processing 600,000 units of blood per year and is now the largest and most sophisticated blood processing and research centre in the world. The centre is also home to the British Bone Marrow Registry, the NHS Cord Blood Bank and the International Blood Group Reference Laboratory.

 Swansea Regeneration

This masterplan for the city of Swansea is designed to integrate fully with the existing retail circuit extending it towards the waterfront to create a vibrant, exciting, sustainable European Waterfront City. In addition to retail, residential and conference facilities the scheme will provide six acres of public space and create a new city square.

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BDP Studio, Manchester A six-storey showcase of fresh thinking. BDP’s own home in Manchester provides an inspirational working environment, with plenty of natural light and stunning views across the Piccadilly canal basin on one side while the other street side displays a confident punctuated stainless-steel façade.


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BDP Studio, Manchester


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BDP Studio, Manchester


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 Badayev Masterplan, St Petersburg

A competition entry for the regeneration of a former industrial site in the centre of St. Petersburg. It creates a special destination of exhibition, conference, museum, hotel, offices and residential space while making reference to St. Petersburg’s themes of water, light, reflection and landscape.

 Bubny Mixed Use Masterplan, Prague

Helping to a shape a major mixed use masterplan for a 27ha brownfield site close to the historic centre of Prague and with spectacular views to the old town and Prague Castle.

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University College London Reordering and refurbishment of the university’s two principal libraries on the Bloomsbury Campus – the Main Library and the Science Library – and the development of strategies to respond to the emerging needs of the 19,000 students and 5,000 academic staff. The 1830s Grade I Listed Main Library is an impressively monumental Greek revival composition.


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Perspectives on Suburbs By people in BDP

The Suburbs Jasper Sanders

Space is the ultimate luxury – but we live in our houses badly! We have lots of space – enough space – but all in the wrong places. Our houses, old and new, are often banal, depressing and inescapable. They are meant to be our friends but they are so often dysfunctional. Spaces are designed down to the absolute limits of their function. Space with fixed design parameters and assigned functions arriving into a dynamic world of changing demographics is hard space. Hard space can never be contemporary. It’s obsolete before it’s begun. Hard space is incapable of growth and change. It is a failure. An architecture imposing architectural control – too complete and too finished. I want flexible space – this is the most important thing in modern architecture. Soft space is adaptable and changeable over time. It is not perfect or complete but always new. Soft space allows you to be what you want. Probably asks who the designer is but is not over designed. Indeterminate and non judgmental, soft space accommodates the flow of contemporary life. Space is the ultimate luxury – but as long as it’s soft.


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City or Suburb Oliver Plunkett

Sunday Morning in the West Helen Moorhouse

Suburbia Darrel Wilson

Is our preference for where we live dictated by our nature or do our preferences respond to changes in circumstances?

Outside the sun is shining, the green parrots are squawking and it’s only a short stroll up the road to collect the papers and continue into the park. The trees are hundreds of years old – oak, horse chestnut and the huge cedar whose branches shadow the surface of the lake. The path skirts the edge of the water which is home to swans, ducks, coots, moorhens and the heron, who is still and watchful on the far side.

‘Forget the Britain that is green and pleasant, urban and dangerous, historic and scenic. Welcome to the rest of it.’

As a confirmed ‘urbanite’ with 12 years in London, I almost feared that starting a family would result in a desire to ‘suburbanise’. To seek the picturesque medley of half grasped building styles and over foliaged gardens where I could mow a lawn and retreat to shed. If I had the appeal of the grand sophistication of Hampstead or Wimbledon in mind, then moving to Ireland, where planning has allowed ‘suburban’ to mean row upon row of identical houses detached only by a width of a wheelbarrow and a car and an olympic sized trampoline are essential commodities, has corrected that perspective. Now the appeal is to create an urban living environment that through careful and creative use of space is able to provide for the needs of family as it develops whilst maintaining the liberation of walking or cycling more often than driving and enjoying the opportunity for interaction in parks and open spaces.

The house is Adam, warm old brick with white painted pineapples topping the turrets and elegant, shallow staircases. In the great meadow cattle are grazing in a scene that would be pure 18th century if it weren’t for the plane on the approach to Heathrow. Emerging by the temple there are a few people walking dogs past the orangery in the restored Georgian pleasure garden. Time for coffee in the stableblock yard and a glance at the news before browsing the secondhand books on the way back through. Down the drive and a quick stop at the farm shop to buy vegetables, all grown in the walled garden on the estate, arranged like a harvest festival with eggs and flowers from the farm. The dog bowl is always filled with water and we locals always bring our own carrier bags – suburbia but not what you expect.

Suburbia is where I live. Not in the conventional concept of ‘surburbia’, whose residents conform to a stereotype of regimented blandness that would make most of us go stir crazy. But the quirky old suburbia where I live is endearing with the idiosyncrasies of suburban life: the smell of backyard barbecues; gossiping with the old lady two doors down; echoes of kids enjoying life; streets filled with trees; miniature steam trains in the park and lazy Sundays down the local – a spirit of community. Over the last sixty years suburbia has matured like a fine wine: leafy with depth and structure, exquisitely characterful and satisfying and embodying the varietal characteristics that is fuelling the exodus of young families away from the city life.


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Leigh Technology Academy Dartford

Four new colleges are located under one roof each creating a ‘school within a school’ linked along a crescent shaped internal street. The colleges are paired around two triple height wintergarden teaching areas, bringing nature and technology together as an environment, and setting high sustainability standards.


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Leigh Technology Academy


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 Regional HQ, Poole

This new regional home for a major financial services company is situated on a spectacular gateway location on Poole Harbour. Designed to maximise natural light and to take advantage of stunning views over the harbour it sets a new standard for office space in the south west of England.

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 Circle Health, Location

One of a series of world-class hospitals being developed in the UK by Health Properties Management.

 Mullingar Central, Co. Westmeath

This new sustainable urban quarter reflects Mullingar’s status as a key commuter town serving Dublin and provides much needed mixed-use accommodation to service the demands of a burgeoning population. The development has been designed as an organic continuation of the existing town centre.


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West Lothian Civic Centre, Livingston A range of council services, a courts complex, and police station are brought under one roof in a building designed to maximise the potential synergies between previously disparately located services and agencies. An internal “civic square” and atrium street encourage social interaction.


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Bray, County Wicklow A masterplan for a 62 acre retail–led mixed use town centre scheme. Its riverside location, also close to the sea, will make it a popular retail and entertainment destination and contribute enormously to the overall economy of the town. Residential accommodation forms an active and interesting building frontage to the surrounding streets and riverside.

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 Navigation Warehouse, Wakefield

A Grade II* listed warehouse dating from 1792. The challenge has been to restore and upgrade it to meet the servicing demands of a modern restaurant and visitor centre facilities at ground floor with offices on first, second and third floors, while retaining the character of the existing building.

 KWIC, Kolkata

This masterplan for a mixed use township extending over 300 acres is part of the rapid expansion of India’s most populous city, Kolkata. Alongside residential, commercial and retail uses it will include schools, hospitals and hotels and an IT SEZ (special economic zone).


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 Kleurenbuurt, Zaandam, Netherlands

Anonymous 1960s housing has been transformed into a lively town centre with open public spaces, clearly defined streets and a recognisable structure. The disused road alongside the river Gouw will be removed to create a waterfront park which links the buildings with green open spaces to the river Gouw.

 Visteon Masterplan, near Belfast

A sustainable, residential-based mixed use design, on a disused car factory site, now set within an environment of high quality internal and external spaces. Energy use is matched to that required for a zero carbon footprint with a combination of a central power plant and natural wind power generation.


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 Tore Maxima, Paleiskwartier, Den Bosch, Netherlands

A major regeneration masterplan for this regional Dutch city. A rectilinear street grid has been imposed but with contrasting forms, style and atmosphere. As part of an historic city centre the regeneration area has a fine grained texture with limited but well-defined public spaces, mixed use high-density development with cars tucked out of the way underground.

 Charnwood House, Bristol

Located in the heart of a conservation area the project includes the refurbishment and extension of an imposing Victorian building to create a new post-16 centre for North Bristol. The impact of the new element is minimised by making optimum use of the sloping site and incorporating a sedum roof which blends into the surroundings when viewed from higher ground.


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Milton Keynes Academy This academy promotes vocational education and its focus on ‘learning by doing’ has underpinned the design process. Practical space is on the ground floor while teaching space is above and arranged into five separate year-based ‘villages’ each a self supporting unit with its own facilities. Throughout there is an important connection between the landscape and teaching spaces.

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 The Centre for the Physics of Medicine, Cambridge

The building, part of the university’s famous Cavendish Laboratory, creates a suite of open accessible research laboratories, teaching rooms and offices that bring together and promote interaction between researchers from a range of scientific disciplines. This is the first of two phases of planned works.

  Bastion II, Gorinchem, Netherlands

To the north of the historic inner-city of Gorinchem Bastion II is masterplanned to provide a ring of new development rising up to the walls of the dyke. Parking is arranged on the ground floor under a newly created landscape roof on which residential and commercial accommodation is placed. In this way the historic centre of Gorinchem is connected by sloped pedestrian streets to the green dyke and the recreational areas around it.

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 Freccia Rossa, Brescia

A new retail development regenerates the historic city centre incorporating a former factory and giving it a new lease of life. Prominent graphics gives the centre a unique character celebrating the city’s popular car race, Mille Miglia.

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 Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen

An extensive and prestigious commission for six new buildings in the mature landscape of the Garthdee Campus, to include the development of a new school of architecture and the built environment and the refurbishment and development of the Gray’s School of Art.


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Perspectives on Local Places By people in BDP

Living by the Sea Katherine Hanratty

Looking out over the water every day; walking down to the beach every morning and watching my dogs happily swimming – winter or summer. Long walks along the shore at weekends; glimpses of wildlife – tiny ducklings paddling after their mother, a seal casually popping his head up to survey the scene; gannets diving. The sense of space and perspective – how small any problems seem; the sound of the waves crashing; the seaside smell and taste, a combination of salt, seaweed, damp, fresh – the sea breeze. Beachcombing for things the tide brought in; rock pools like miniature lakes; textures of fine sand, round pebbles, rough rocks and slimy seaweed; the changing moods, light, colours, weather and seasons. ‘Traffic’s busy today!’ when a couple of ships pass by; amazing sunsets over the hills, reflected in the sea and amplified; spectacular storms; the lights of Carrickfergus twinkling across the lough at night; the sense of peace and calm on the way down the lane in the evenings; it all makes me smile just thinking about it.


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What’s a Local Place? Martin Savage

Riverside Richard Dragun

The greasy spoon cafe at the end of my street is the local place. Open twelve hours a day, six days a week and sandwiched (no pun intended) between the rail viaduct and a sex shop, its busy tables and chairs sprawl out onto the pavement in a way designers often aspire to, with people enjoying non healthy food and endless cups of tea oblivious to the traffic and petrol station opposite. Fair to say that this is not Monte Carlo but as I pass by every day, you get a snapshot of local life: the guy with his newspaper and Jack Russell; the bus drivers on the tea run; workers breakfasting at 7.30am; the people in their mid-thirties nursing a hangover.

“In gratitude for the joy of this magnificent riverside – Alice Peacock (not her real name) lost in the Asian Tsunami…”. This inscription on a wooden bench is a poignant reminder that our local places can be profoundly linked with places, people and events a long way away or a long time ago. It’s one of many benches overlooking the river whose similar inscriptions testify to the beauty of this place. Indeed, the view from the hill, once the inspiration for artists and writers (Joshua Reynolds, Turner, Alexander Pope) and now the privilege of artistes (Townshend, Jagger, Jerry Hall) is the only view in the UK protected by an Act of Parliament.

When we designed the park around the corner this place became the unofficial Cornmill Gardens HQ. A meeting point with the client and colleagues or when it became too cold to hold site meetings. Maggie’s was the informal, down to earth place where you could engage with the people we design spaces for whilst sipping tea and seeing if anyone visits the shop next door!

History and the river have shaped this place. Alice’s bench stands where once stood Henry I’s royal palace. Edward III, Henry VII and Elizabeth I all died here. Across the river is the site of Lightoller’s boatyard. Second Officer Lightoller was the last man rescued when the Titanic sank. He went on to be decorated as a naval officer in the Great War for his fight with a Zeppelin and at the age of 66, he steered his ‘little ship’, Sundowner to the beaches of Dunkirk bringing back 130 men in a boat whose usual capacity was 21.

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Little Things Make the Difference Eugene Sauren

This place is not without its disparagers. A short walk along the towpath stands an effigy of the Liberator of Chile, Bernardo O’Higgins (his real name believe it or not). He studied and lived here before returning to South America and by all accounts hated this place! From my riverbank – I think of it as mine – I watch cows eating the meadow opposite against a back-drop of trees that, in winter, reveal the tower of St Peter’s in whose churchyard three centuries of locals lie side by side with Captain Vancouver, the man who discovered a large island on the west coast of Canada which now bears his name. As I take in the view, it’s easy to forget that I’m only 10 miles by road from Trafalgar Square – even less as the crow flies.

I have never been good at remembering names of streets and places. They simply will not stick in my head. Navigating around with a ‘mental map’ based on local characteristics therefore was more of a bare necessity than a consciously learned habit. From ‘the street with the funny houses’ to ‘the square with the large tree’, ‘past the white church’ and following ‘the row of shops’ to the ‘corner where there is always dogpoo on the pavement’ and so on. Often it is these little characteristics that tend to shape a space, make the difference between interesting or dull and determine the identity of a place. In these modern times of globalisation, where more and more places around the world display similarities, I think the appreciation for local characteristics is becoming more evident. In our profession we talk about creating a sense of place. However most places actually already do have their sense of place, we just have to define it and make it visible. Often this is based on just little things that stand out and make the difference.


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Creating Places for People – Annual Review 2008

Bridge Academy Hackney, London

The latest evolution of BDP’s vertical urban schools’ concept, this academy is set on a constrained ‘postage stamp’ sized inner city site of 6,000m² but the seven storey building has an internal area of 10,250m² with 5,500m² of external space transforming the playground into social and learning gardens and piazzas beside the Regent’s Canal. The vertical school design creates a social gathering space at its heart with teaching and learning rooms rising above this central social space.


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Bridge Academy, Hackney, London


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Bridge Academy, Hackney, London


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  Salisbury Retail Masterplan

A retail-led mixed use masterplan for a sensitive city centre site next to the river Avon offering improved linkages to the historic Market Square and views to the spire of Salisbury Cathedral. Key features include a new public square and a waterside setting for restaurants and bars.

 Carlton Advanced Learning Centre, Barnsley

A new school in the government’s BSF programme for student-centred learning incorporating open plan resource and teaching areas formed into ‘learning houses’. These distinctive spaces are connected with a ‘marketplace’ for the whole school to gather, perform and showcase its achievements.


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 Magennis Bar, Belfast

Taking its name from a former bar on the site and adjacent to Belfast’s landmark St. George’s Market, this is a six level development of compact apartments over a single level of retail which will bring life back to a key corner site at the edge of the city’s business and legal district.

 Cambridge Campus, Anglia Ruskin University

Following a masterplanning exercise to provide new faculty spaces and modern shared facilities for this congested campus, the first phase will include the creation of a library and media centre and a 400 seat lecture theatre.

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 Loampit Vale, Lewisham, London

Turning a 1.7 hectares brownfield site in Lewisham town centre into a mixed use development consisting of a leisure centre, 800 new homes and a series of commercial spaces for cultural activity. The landscape ties into BDP’s recently completed Cornmill Gardens scheme to provide a coherent public realm design for this quarter of Lewisham.

 Kensington Central Library, London

Following a masterplanning exercise to provide new faculty spaces and modern shared facilities for this congested campus, the first phase will include the creation of a library and media centre and a 400 seat lecture theatre.

 Westminster Academy, London

Situated on a very constrained site in West London the Academy provides education for 1,175 pupils and is the successful result of a true collaboration by a large and disparate team and close consultation with community groups.

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Brockington College, Leicestershire A fully integrated community college set in spacious playing fields and looking out to open countryside reflecting the rural edge that the school enjoys. Within, a large central space forms a physical heart to the school allowing informal interaction between pupils and staff and also providing space for learning in large or small groups.


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New Birmingham Wholesale Markets The new markets will deliver a centre for food excellence and sustainability with health, education, research and tourism complementing its primary use as one of Europe’s largest composite wholesale markets.


Cities  Suburbs  Local Places  Open Spaces

Barnard Castle, County Durham A streetscape strategy for Lower Galgate in this thriving historic market town.

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Silverburn, Glasgow Making use of a brownfield site, Silverburn has extended and regenerated an existing neighbourhood and retail areas at the edge of Pollok town centre, outside Glasgow. In addition to retail, the centre includes a food court and a popular wintergarden.


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The Learning Hub, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham A highly sustainable single storey learning centre adjacent to the new super hospital combines three elements, each expressed with different materials to generate a high quality contemporary piece of architecture. The Hub provides training facilities for existing NHS staff, courses to encourage new entrants and a further programme of teaching aimed at construction workers in support of the government’s ‘Skills for Life’ strategy.

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 Guerilla Lighting, Glasgow

At this third guerrilla lighting event, after Manchester and London, the standard format of lighting elements of the built environment was expanded to include some teaching with the architecture students at Strathclyde University and made more playful.

 Maggies – London Night Hike 2008

At Nite Hike, the annual night time walk around London run by Maggies cancer support charity, BDP’s lighting group was invited to illuminate Wellington Arch – the 15 mile marker. Walkers were also given the chance to write in light, captured by photography and then projected moments later onto the arch. Many of the walkers cited this as the highlight of their night.


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Perspectives on Open Spaces By people in BDP

Home David Clarke

Home is in Derbyshire. A hamlet of 22 homes, a farm, a post box and an old-fashioned red Sir Giles Gilbert Scott designed phone box all nestled into a south-facing hillside. This settlement has been here for hundreds of years and was probably originally established by lead miners and now falls under the guardianship of the Peak District National Park Authority. Most of the grey limestone or rendered cottages enjoy views down the Derwent Valley where Arkwright’s Mill at Cromford, an important and internationally recognised site from the Industrial Revolution is preserved as the world’s first successful cotton spinning mill powered by water. All that hustle and bustle, sweat and noise seems so far away now. Now the predominant sound is near silence. The sheep in the field at the end of the garden seem to have a lot to say and the distant rasp of a motorbike on the road in the valley are the most noticeable intrusions. Only a local resident’s car or farmer’s tractor are louder. Walk a few hundred breathless metres further up the lane and there’s a big change. You’re on top of the world. The previously framed views are blown wide. Huge vistas for miles and just a few ragged trees. This is the land of the dry stone wall; snaking grey subdivision on the wild, sparse moor. Out of the lea of the hillside everything is blown about. It feels 10 degrees colder and very beautiful.


Cities  Suburbs  Local Places  Open Spaces

Journey Home Ian Flack

Open Spaces Christoph Ackermann

Country Living Helen Groves

Friday’s journey home passes through a rich variety of landscapes. Across the rapidly emptying car park in front of the office, down the narrow alley at the side of a pub, over the now quiet shopping streets and into the civic square as it gradually fills with the evening’s revellers. Wearily I wind my way down the hill where I join forces with other commuters, heading like worker ants back to our place in the hills.

Scotland is a lucky place to be, even though it is a relatively small part of the earth, only occupying some 30,000 square miles.

So what is it about living in the country that appeals to me?

The atmosphere onboard the train is subdued as tired workers mull over the week’s events. As we gather pace I catch glimpses of city life swiftly passing by; a business park; terraced housing; large supermarkets; remnants of the industrial past; the western suburbs. In the distance the tall hospital and university tower get ever smaller as Sheffield swiftly disappears from view. We are thrown into darkness as we are squeezed through the Totley tunnel and as we emerge back into daylight, the contrast is stark and immediate. The Peak District – a rugged and spectacular landscape stretches out before me. Bracken strewn hills, heather topped moors, woods and river entwine to create a powerful scene. My cares disappear amidst the promise of a weekend spent exploring this land of spiritual refreshment, away from the masses, alone with my thoughts.

Why is it so good? Arriving in Scotland some ten years ago I was not immediately taken by its urban splendours, far from it. This perception does only get enhanced by the challenging weather which seems to render cities grey most of the time. Considering these environmental conditions I am still puzzled how the people of Scotland stay so friendly and welcoming. It was not until I left the city of Glasgow for the first time to visit the hinterland that I fully appreciated what Scotland has to offer – easy access to the most stunning and isolated open spaces I had ever seen. Having travelled and lived in many different countries, I have yet to find another place where you can get away from it all within an hour’s journey. Every imaginable landscape is at your disposal, palm trees on Bute, windswept cliffs on Skye, the mountainous highlands or the wide beaches of Fife. No matter where, you will not struggle to find a quiet space where you can take a deep breath and clear your mind.

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I have lived in all sorts of places before: cities, towns even my childhood town in Mexico. Now I live in a little village in the Somerset countryside with the rolling landscape on the other side of the garden gate. We talk – rightly, I believe – about Places for People but I think that these places are not just the urban interventions that we do so well, they are also the places that we as designers are less in control of – the wilder spaces that allow us to be part of nature. I am pleased that my children are in touch with the seasons and can see the crops growing and the harvest brought in. However, I hope that they will one day roam the big cities too and across the world, to gain the balance that I have appreciated with my journeying.


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Liverpool One

Illustrating our approach at the largest scale the unique inner city regeneration masterplan weaves the functional pattern of a retailled development into traditional streets and squares with mixed use above and beside. As well as overall masterplanner BDP was concept architect on five major mixed use buildings, executive architect for nine, and responsible for the majority of public realm and lighting across the whole project.


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Liverpool One

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Liverpool One


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 Lords Cricket Ground, London

BDP were finalists in an international design competition for the re-modelling of Lord’s Cricket Ground. We created a trio of green spaces around which buildings and grandstands are linked, for people to meet, mingle and watch cricket. New routes and gardens reactivate the ‘passegiatta’ and views are reoriented and maximised to the iconic media centre and historic members’ pavilion. ⁄

  Lelystad, Netherlands

Taking inspiration from the character of an English landscape individual houses are set in a natural landscaped environment. Curvilinear forms, changing vistas and a strong relationships with the surrounding woods and water combine to give the impression of a totally natural space. ‹

 Hirael Bay Masterplan, Bangor

The masterplan includes reclaimed land to enhance flood defences, a new sports centre, residences, hotel, marina, cafes, restaurants and outdoor sports pitches and parks. On the north of the bay new faculty buildings for Bangor University are also featured.


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Libyan Universities Ten new universities open Libya up to the west. The universities in the Sahara Desert, on the coast and in the mountains will accommodate over 28,000 students and are being designed entirely around local settings, microclimate and culture, while conforming to an over-arching academic plan.


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 Sabha University  Surman University ‹ Zuwarah Central University  

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Dumfries and Galloway College The college has relocated to a new facility where it shares a site with the University of Glasgow, University of Paisley and Bell College and creates a new ‘super’ Crichton campus – the first such collaborative project on this scale in Scotland. The new campus will be a ‘one stop shop’ and will allow students to benefit from this unique, highly progressive learning experience.


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Lancashire County Cricket Club, Old Trafford, Manchester The new ‘Old Trafford’ locates the renewed cricket ground at the heart of an integrated world-class sporting destination. The new facilities will set the highest standards for international cricket, and provide the club and the wider city region with a revitalised sustainable base for the future.


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BBC Framework, Wood Norton As part of a framework agreement with the BBC, this carefully crafted state-of-the-art prefabricated timber shell building has recently been completed and is set appropriately within a woodland environment.

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Waterhead, Ambleside, Cumbria A scheme design for Waterhead at the northern edge of Lake Windermere in the heart of the English Lake District. The scheme which consists of a new high quality pedestrian promenade, new yacht moorings and the reconfiguration of a small stretch of road, forms part of an ongoing masterplan and delivery strategy known as ‘Polishing the Gem’.


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Awards

Best Designed Place Award & GGB BDP Building of the Year 2008 Award

The Best Designed Place awards go to projects completed over the past year which celebrate a sense of place for people. The projects chosen this year are from a range of building types and sectors but all have the common theme – a peoplecentred approach. In the Review we also announce the winner of the GGB BDP Award, our own award named after our founder, awarded to the project from those nominated by our offices which best demonstrates our abilities and values and has been recognised by clients, customers and society. All the projects shown here have received a Best Designed Place Award. Projects displaying G motif were short-listed for the GGB BDP Award – the winner is Victoria Square, Belfast.

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BDP Studio, Manchester

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Bridge Academy, Hackney

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Dumfries and Galloway College

Brockington College, Leicester

Cornmill Gardens, Lewisham

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Leigh Academy, Dartford

Liverpool One

Coevorden Urban Realm, Holland

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Silverburn, Glasgow

Victoria Square, Belfast


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Awards

GGB BDP Building of the Year 2008 Award Winner

Victoria Square Belfast

Jury’s Comments: “A landmark building for Northern Ireland, a huge impact on the Belfast community and a fine example of BDP’s interdisciplinary design skills”. “The best street in Belfast”. “A spectacular achievement in a difficult context”. “A highly skilful piece of place-making, blurring the edges between new and existing, the sense of increased civic pride is palpable”. “C reates streets that really belong to the City – it is hard to believe they have not always existed”. “City making par excellence”.


Awards

BDP Sustainable Futures 2008 Award Winner

Future Hope Sports Academy Kolkata

This award, made from sustainable woods, is given to a project in design which demonstrates innovative thinking that progresses our work in designing sustainable places. Fifteen projects were entered from around BDP, ranging across many sectors of activity. The projects were judged by an independent jury panel of Ruth Slavid, Editor Online & Special Projects Architects’ Journal; Ian McGregor, Managing Director Young Property; Peter Hunter, urban design consultant. The winner and runners up were announced at the BDP Conference in Liverpool. In first place was Future Hope Sports Academy, Kolkata; in second was Visteon Masterplan; and in third was Sittingbourne Eco-town.

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Creating Places for People – Annual Review 2008

BDP Highlights 2008

So a review of the year’s progress would not be complete without recognising that the autumn has seen the most extraordinary series of changes to the financial structures that have underpinned the developed world for decades. This will undoubtedly mean a period of great uncertainty in the economies and markets which provide the context for our work. The review of BDP’s progress in 2007/8 is the easy part. We had a very good year. Our turnover grew from £84 million to £99 million, and our people numbers grew to 1300. Their talents, enterprise and commitment enabled us to work on even more great projects and produce a good level of profitability which is shared throughout the firm through our share ownership scheme. Over 853 BDP employees now own shares in BDP.

1 Laura Bayliss 2 Simon Paddison 3 Mark Ridler 4 Hossam Abdalla

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5 Jason Bagge

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6 Brent Katzin 7 Ciaran Hanna

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8 Mark Cotton 9 Neil Sansum

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The year also saw us improve and strengthen our regionalist culture. BDP joined with the Dutch urbanism and landscape practice, Khandekar to form BDPKhandekar, providing urbanism, landscape and now architecture throughout the Netherlands and also in India. Shyam Khandekar became a member of BDP’s Board. We opened a new studio in Edinburgh, and moved our Manchester and Sheffield studios to fine new buildings designed by BDP interdisciplinary teams. The important links with our associate firm in France, Groupe 6, were enhanced by jointly working on projects in Ireland, Paris, Kiev and Dubai.

experience, to the extent that Company Director David Cash now oversees the further development of key international regional hubs. Most importantly, we continued to deliver great projects for our clients, with a fantastic array of completions in all market sectors. Many of these were recognised with national awards, perhaps none more significant than the Prime Minister’s Best Public Building Award for the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton. BDP’s interdisciplinary team of architects, engineers, interior and lighting designers and acousticians worked closely with the client, end-users, constructors and funders to design a building of which the award judges said “An uplifting project which has given young patients in Brighton the best possible environment – one which functions like a hospital but does not feel like a hospital.” It is a wonderful example of what BDP is about. What happened since the end of our year 2007/8 has been truly astonishing. A meltdown of the basic tenet of our financial structures, confidence in our banks, will have negative consequences that are still relatively unknown, no matter how many of us improve our standing as amateur economists. At BDP we face this uncertain future knowing that our organisational strengths, our culture, sector diversity, growing international capabilities and plans, and critically, the commitment and talents of our people will drive us through the uncertainties of the next few years.

10 Mehron Kirk 11 Martin Jones 12 Ian Purser 13 James Hepburn 14 Helen Harrison

Internationally, BDP was invited to work on projects all around the world – throughout Europe, in Libya, India, Russia, and the UAE. International work now forms an increasingly significant part of BDP’s portfolio of

Our confidence in our people has encouraged us to further expand our leadership. During the year 14 new profession directors were appointed along with 47 new associates.


BDP 2008 Cities, Suburbs, Local Places, Open Spaces  

BDP's 2008 Annual Review

BDP 2008 Cities, Suburbs, Local Places, Open Spaces  

BDP's 2008 Annual Review