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The Bauhaus celebrates its centenary in 2019. The brainchild of Walter Gropius, its manifesto called for architects, sculptors and painters to return to craftsmanship and unite to create the new building of the future. His vision encouraged collaboration and innovation, harnessing modern technology to improve the quality of everyday life. BDP was founded on this exciting idea and Gropius acknowledged our success, telling George Grenfell Baines he would have liked to have achieved as much at Dessau! 2019 is shaping up to be another successful year. However, throughout the regions and in the global market, uncertainty remains a common theme. The OECD has downgraded its global economic forecast for the years ahead. Our clients continue to seek solutions to changing macroeconomic trends and the key challenges facing the planet. Our union with Nippon Koei advances our global reach, scale, and importantly, our service offering. This year we opened a new Singapore studio in the heart of the rapidly urbanising ASEAN region and made a strategic investment in the 200 strong Toronto-based Quadrangle, one of Canada’s most respected architectural and interior design practices. These steps will enhance our ability to compete in challenging commercial environments. Our unique ethos as an interdisciplinary practice ignited by a belief in social value and integrated approaches to design remains as vital as ever. This issue of the Big Conversation captures the diverse activities of a design collective placemaking for a modern world. We are delighted to invite Catherine Slessor, the former editor of the Architectural Review, as guest writer. She draws on her years of observation and research to give a personal perspective on recovering the humanising and inclusive potential of place. This theme is complemented by case studies and essays describing the work across our studios, all connected to the central unifying idea of progressive communities that relate positively to everyone. Perhaps the most exciting phenomenon for me in the last year has been a growing sense of empowerment for a young, diverse team of BDP spokespeople out in the market and on social media illustrating the dynamic, contemporary and inclusive composition of the practice; the hallmark of good placemaking. Thank you to all our clients and collaborators. We rely on your contribution and feedback to continue to improve, so that we can continue to push boundaries and create new paradigms for buildings and places. Chris Harding Chair

The Big Conversation 6



Amy Simpson

Catherine Slessor 12






Mark Braund

Francis Glare

Michael Cambden







Yuli Cadney-Toh

Dan Walder





James Baker and Lucy Townsend

Jeremy Farrington

Nick Fairham







Sue Emms

Gary Dicken





Gary Wilde

Max Martin

Lora Kaleva and Colin Ball





Michael Mullen






Kathryn Tombling






Nick Edwards

John McManus


Phil Gray


Kieren Majhail

Editorial and Design John Booth, Chris Harding, Ben Kelly, Julianne McAtarsney, Helen Moorhouse Photography Nick Caville, David Barbour, Blackstation, Baloncici/Shutterstock, Sanna Fisher-Payne, Fotohaus/Craig Auckland, Gareth Gardner, Grosvenor, Roland Halbe, Daniel Hopkinson, Hufton+Crow, Sean Hsu, Paul Karalius, Matthew Scholz





Respected architectural writer and critic Catherine Slessor gives her personal insight on how collective powers can reshape the processes of urbanisation

(Left) Venetian gondolier steers through the canals. (Right) Hausmann’s ruthless programme of 19th century ‘improvements’ set the tone for modern Paris and European cities alike.

Poised like a gaudy polyp on the Pearl River Delta, the former Portuguese colony of Macau was always a casino town. Today, as one of China’s special administrative regions, it has grown into the world’s largest centre for gambling, easily outstripping Las Vegas or Singapore. Across a causeway from the old city is the Cotai Strip, a tabula rasa of reclaimed land which has been terraformed with astonishing rapidity into an immense gambling park. Here, huge new casino hotels offer a groaning buffet of thematic and experiential options to suit every taste. This tableau is dominated by the Venetian Hotel with its perfect copies of familiar monuments such as St Mark’s Campanile, the Rialto Bridge and Doge’s Palace. Inside, gondolas ply their trade on a network of ‘canals’ filled with crystalline blue water. As it happens, Macau’s is not the first replicant Venice. The ‘original’ fake La Serenissima is in Las Vegas, the jewel in the rhinestone crown of the Las Vegas Sands casino chain. Such assiduous ‘duplitecture’, the confection of a sanitised facsimile of a place or building, is not necessarily a novel phenomenon. But it raises issues around the idea of what constitutes ‘place’ and, by extension, the fate of the historic European city which, though now increasingly buffeted by the exogenous forces of capital, has always seemed most experientially emblematic of what architects, urban designers and the public might regard as ‘humanly scaled’ and ‘enduring’ places. As the saying goes, ‘we’ll always have Paris’. Or even Venice. But will we? And should we? Myriad contradictions surround the physical and political nature of cities and how they developed over time. For instance, the seductive, bohemian allure of Paris has its origins in Haussmann’s ruthless programme of 19th century ‘improvements’, which drove axial boulevards through neighbourhoods to facilitate cavalry charges in the event of civil unrest. In the modern era, the charm of its historic core has been scrupulously preserved by expelling its poorer citizens to dreary banlieus and exiling its business district to the similarly ‘placeless’ and peripheral La Défense. Meanwhile, the real Venice, despite its unique and agreeable human scale, has become a parody of itself,

perhaps even more than its casinohotel impersonators, who at least acknowledge that they are expensive tribute acts. Though Venice has survived architecturally intact, its culture and ‘sense of place’ has been eroded and commodified to cater for a rapacious global tourist market. Today, Venice goes through the glum motions of being a great medieval or Renaissance city, perpetually living in the past, a stage set for the holiday dramas of honeymooners and cruise ship crowds, while its population either flees to the mainland or goes to bed early. Perhaps it is only a matter of time before the casino operators add it to their Venetian portfolio. The ‘petrified-in-aspic’ fate of Venice, Paris and other European short break destinations suggests that there is still a craving for engagement with the city as an unthreatening, historical backdrop. It seems clear that in an age of increased cultural and social homogenisation, the elusive and often contested notion of place has assumed a renewed importance. Invariably, the underlying sense of anomie has been catalysed by architecture’s ambivalent relationship with modern capitalism and how its creative potential has been reduced to eclectic wrapping paper adorning slabs of dehumanised space planning. From Dallas to Dhaka, the outcome of this banal hegemony of the built environment is only too apparent, conjuring an emotional disconnection both from buildings and the city.


The Venetian Macau San Luca Canal

‘Notopia’ is the latest epithet employed to describe this phenomenon implying a loss of cohesiveness and the erosion of the particular. Left to the mercy of market forces, the commercialisation of land has spawned the selfish city, as described in The Architectural Review’s recent Notopia manifesto as being ‘disfigured by the interests of bankers and stillborn in vision and unable to cope with mass urbanisation… one building next to another does not make a place and many buildings do not make a city’. Notopia is ‘a warning sign that the metropolis as a place of exchange, dialogue and delight between diverse groups of people is being exterminated. Buildings alone do not support life.’ How can we recover the humanising and inclusive potential of place? Place evokes feelings of nostalgia, yearning, melancholy, it fuels memory and a sense of identity and belonging. Its underlying characteristic is a resonant and emotionally meaningful connection with people, spaces

and activities. The idea that this can be concocted or contrived by ‘placemaking’ or an algorithm seems patently absurd. Yet though ‘place’ connotes an environment evolved over time, shaped by the currents of use and age, this can also lead to sterility. Similarly, the idea that place cannot be modern or temporary or choreographed instantly is just as pernicious. In the current era, the notion of place and its relationship with urban intensity was crystallised and articulated by Jane Jacobs. In her writings she stressed the potential for endless random and unpredictable interactions between individuals and activities, still seen as one of the main ‘conditions’ for urban complexity. As Jacobs postulated, urban intensity is not necessarily generated by large quantities - of people, buildings, uses, structures, jobs or streets. Instead, it emerges in the immanent, improvised interaction between subject and object in space and time. This performative

approach highlights the ambiguous nature of physical elements and their potential to become parts of different networks according to everyday routines and time-specific circumstances. Historically, buildings and cities have acted as armatures of intensity that structure the public domain, shape the nature of human experience and engender a sense of place. As the Marxist geographer David Harvey notes ‘It is perhaps more reasonable to regard the city as a complex, dynamic system in which spatial form and social process are in continuous interaction’. As a result of this interaction, individual subjectivity is conditioned by repeated encounters with the environment. Yet in the same way the assembly line dehumanises its operator by prescribing their movements, in many contemporary urban scenarios, despite appearing to be a freewheeling protagonist, the individual is, in fact, consigned to a preordained track. Experience itself has become subject


The real Venice has been eroded and commodified to cater for a rapacious global tourist market.



Place connotes an environment evolved over time, shaped by the currents of use and age, this can also lead to sterility

to commodification and modern cities are becoming more homogenised in scale, function and potential, and in what kinds of activities are permissible in an increasingly contested and controlled terrain. The effects of this are plain for all to see. For example, since 2007, London has half of its nightclubs and since 2001, it has lost a quarter of its pubs. Priced out by rent and rate hikes and stifled by regulations, London as a locus of after-hours pleasure and urban intensity is under assault. Vauxhall is a case in point. Over time, Vauxhall has evolved as a lively and richly textured, socially and ethnically mixed milieu. Now, however, its riverfront around Nine Elms is currently being terraformed into a version of Dubai-on-Thames, with an array of steroidal towers emerging from site hoardings proclaiming ‘vibrant lifestyles’ and ‘landmark addresses’. Aimed squarely at overseas investors, these citadels suggest Vauxhall may become yet another gated ghost burb devoid of vitality, with a potentially destabilising impact on its existing community. Vauxhall is not exceptional in this respect. The negative impact on city life is slipping through unremarked. In the Finsbury Health Centre, a landmark of socially improving Modernism, there is a portrait of its architect Berthold Lubetkin accompanied by one of his aphorisms ‘Nothing is too good for ordinary people’. This admirable sentiment, which underpinned Britain’s post-war reconstruction and the evolution of the welfare state, is now being howled down by the largely unchecked forces of neoliberal capitalism. Given that the current rebooting of London will define it for generations to come, there is still a conspicuous shortage of enlightened

developers. There are exceptions, such as Kings Cross and Liverpool ONE, which illustrate the value of a more considered, holistic and incremental approach to regeneration, combining new commercial development with the remodelling and reuse of existing structures, played out over a much longer timeframe. Imaginative political leadership at all levels is also required to shape and prioritise policies for a more liveable city. Paradoxically, tottering and out-oftime Venice might offer a possible solution to the issue of how to create a meaningful sense of identity, intensity and place that works for all its citizens. Against the odds, new businesses are opening in the city, often in the least obviously propitious spaces. A mixture of new technologies, craft and nimble enterprise allows new businesses to set up where large corporations found local conditions, at best, hard going. If Venice could take advantage

of digital communications, equipped with the latest clean and small-scale manufacturing technologies, it could - allied with its universities - transform the city, making a virtue of its physical appeal and establish a truly purposeful, modern identity. It calls into question what kind of city we want and whether the power still exists to make it viable. ‘The right to the city is far more than the individual liberty to access urban resources: it is a right to change ourselves by changing the city,’ writes David Harvey. ‘It is, moreover, a common rather than an individual right since this transformation inevitably depends upon the exercise of a collective power to reshape the processes of urbanisation’. Fundamentally, the freedom to make and remake our cities and ourselves is one of the most potentially precious yet most neglected human rights. As architects and as citizens, we should seize it.

LEARNING FROM LAS VENICE (Left page) The relationship between place and urban intensity was articulated by Jane Jacobs. (Current page) Liverpool ONE holistic and incremental regeneration.





Mark Braund reflects on the lasting impact of Liverpool One and how the city continues to evolve

I love my city. I often take clients and friends from around the world on tours. It’s a great walking city, from traditional business district to waterfront, to cultural quarter and retail heart. Unlike other UK cities Liverpool has an international identity, already familiar because of its significant role in history, skyline, people… not to mention music! Most visitors are predisposed to connect with the place and their reception is always positive. Liverpool One opened in 2008 in tandem with winning European Capital of Culture and the city began a new phase, a reawakening, or perhaps more accurately, a fresh understanding of its importance in relation to the world as a major brand. Previously the city had suffered a real decline – not just in retail, but life in general – but Liverpool has always been a city of culture, energy and life. I designed the Liverpool Pavilion for the World Expo in 2010 when it was the only UK city represented. It massively outperformed its expected audience numbers, connecting with a global audience and declaring its new found

optimism post Capital of Culture, with a new civic pride. Liverpool One’s success stems from its connections, how it integrates with the existing city fabric and it was a pleasure to spend a day capturing these networks with photographer Dan Hopkinson. Our masterplan created linkages in 2008 which are now firmly established throughout the city, and its identity as a development is cherished and, with typical Scouse humour, used in word play with Everton football club’s shop now called Everton Two. Oh you wish…. Like all great cities Liverpool continues to evolve and change and most locals would agree that Liverpool One has given it a new heart. Its World Heritage Pier Head has been transformed by a new museum, landscaping and a (once controversial) black angular office development. Historic buildings are being adapted and repurposed, the waterfront reinvigorated with newfound access to the recently renamed Royal Albert Dock, a new arena and indoor conference centre,

and Liverpool Two is now a world class super port - all achieved within the past ten years. But Liverpool is not done yet, not by a long shot. Liverpool Waters, a £5.5bn redevelopment of the western docklands by Peel has started to deliver the first pieces of its jigsaw along with its sister development, Wirral Waters, opposite. The commercial centre around Pall Mall is progressing 300,000 sq ft of office space, with new hotels and residential arising from another regeneration story - our Exchange Station refit. Our Clatterbridge Cancer Centre forms a major element of a new health campus, around which a burgeoning knowledge quarter is centred. With the Royal College of Physicians as a prestigious new tenant, making its first base outside London in its 500 year history, a new cruise ship terminal, as well as numerous other schemes coming forwards across the city region, Liverpool feels like a city on the move. But what has triggered this compelling story?


Liverpool One - a coherent series of routes and spaces connecting new with old

Joe Anderson, a committed mayor, enabled investment and delivery while city region mayor Steve Rotherham, with devolved powers, provided national strategy, commercial values and opportunities to attract development. This ground swell for quality of life versus cost undoubtedly attracted both employers and people, but without a doubt, Liverpool One is the single most significant building project leading to the resurgence across the city region. Ten years ago there was a real apprehension across the city: will it deliver the right kind of change, how will it impact the wider city, should a private developer have such control over our streets, why is a London developer leading the project, why is a firm outside Liverpool

delivering it? We we are proud to have played a role in this truly innovative project which still stands the test of time and has many testaments to its success. Rather than create an isolated development sealed behind closed air conditioned doors the key to its success was to knit the scheme into the city fabric; this was a revolution in its own right and one that has inspired many projects since. Steve Rotherham said “Liverpool City Region has many reasons to celebrate the last ten years, not least of which is Liverpool One. It has transformed the city centre of Liverpool, making it envy of many across the UK and overseas.” Invest Liverpool has noted that In the ten years since Liverpool ONE opened in May 2008, which coincided with

Liverpool’s year as European Capital of Culture, the destination has: • Contributed £3.3bn in total GVA, with over half this total as wages for local residents • Delivered £1.20 of every £100 generated in the Liverpool City Region GVA, accounting for 3% of all GVA growth in LCR • Contributed £1.6bn to the UK Exchequer • Delivered an average of 4,700 FTE jobs for Liverpool City Region (LCR) residents • Helped Liverpool’s retail output expand at more than ten times the national rate (between 2007-2013)


BDP designs for the diverse activities that come together as vibrant city life

(Top row) Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, (bottom row) Enterprise South Liverpool Academy, St John Bosco Arts College, Aintree Racecourse



We continue to work in the city and region, responding to the exciting possibilities it offers, recently establishing a new Liverpool studio in order to foster greater connections with talent in the city. Some of our most significant, award winning projects are rooted in the city, including Aintree Racecourse, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Enterprise South Liverpool Academy and St John Bosco School. We expect our masterplan for the regeneration of Festival Gardens to be another landmark project for BDP in the region, building upon this great legacy of transformational placemaking through bespoke user-centred designs of places for people that respond to their unique place in the world.

I think it is incredibly important to look back at our past achievements, to gauge whether our projects deliver the vision they promise, to continue to learn lessons and refine our skills; as our founder Sir George Grenfell Baines said ‘to keep on getting better’. At a recent meeting with the Boxpark team, CEO Roger Wade presented the company ethos, an ancient Greek Ephebic oath sworn by all young men on becoming citizens of Athens: ‘I shall not leave my city any less but rather greater than I found it’. This powerful message will strike a chord with most of us involved in the built environment, a fundamental driver to how we shape the places where we live, work and play. We want to improve life for the people who use the buildings and

places we create. As Liverpool’s most famous band sang “you say you want a revolution…. we all want to change the world.” Most people would agree that in a society consumed by news about the challenges of the traditional high street, in the last ten years footfall in Liverpool ONE has increased by 53% and sales by 110%. This is a pretty staggering statistic, the result of the impact of a mixed use, vibrant, connected, integrated, sympathetically managed and curated development that is loved by the city and many beyond; proof of the importance of genuine engagement with people, and all about the city experience.

LIVERPOOL ONE (Left page) Streets, parks and squares reconnect people, the city and the waterfront. (Current page) A sketch showing the revitalised Love Lane next to the railway viaduct.




Sheerwater Housing


(Above) Bristol studio crit session. (Top left) Yuli Cadney-Toh. (Bottom left) Nick Fairham discusses Bristol’s housing crisis with RIBA President Ben Derbyshire.

Yuli Cadney-Toh describes BDP’s mission to be at the heart of the city region and the issues it faces

From the London Times to the New York Times, Bristol is regularly named the best place to live in the UK. Voted Green Capital 2015 and Smartest City 2017, it is the ideal setting for a BDP studio. Our interdisciplinary team enjoys the pioneering spirit of the city; from the heritage of Brunel to the burgeoning aerospace industry, Banksy’s street art and a growing creative and tech industry, it is the only city outside London which contributes positively to the UK’s GDP. Located in the heart of Bristol’s cultural district, we regularly work in partnership with trailblazers on innovative ideas and projects that address the concerns and issues of the city and the wider region. We

have a history of producing landmark buildings including Cribbs Causeway, schools at Redland Green and Fairfield, the magistrates’ courts, bus station and the RIBA award-winning Brunel Building at Southmead Hospital. The studio is led by Nick Fairham, who is passionate about placemaking and contemporary urban design, particularly with respect to his beloved adopted city. Nick wants BDP to help shape Bristol’s future and create vibrant places in the city for everyone to enjoy: “As we enter a new era of urbanisation we need to design our future to maintain identity and character as well as social, economic and environmental prosperity; and to quote David Bowie – I don’t know

where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.” His team is creative, engaged and highly skilled, supported through personal development training and mentoring. To foster this spirit of collaboration, Nick and his team curate a series of events which support wellbeing, teamworking and outreach. This includes Monday design reviews, Friday studio downloads, Friday morning yoga and visits to exemplar buildings and places in the region. The success of the studio’s approach is to understand our clients’ needs in the wider context of the city and to inspire our team to unlock creative ways of thinking.


(Above) Gloucester Bus Station. (Below and right) Canolfan S4C Yr Egin brings the creative and digital industries together to stimulate ideas.



Gap House: Contemporary, modular and cost effective eco-homes designed for small urban spaces

The challenges a growing Bristol faces are common to all major cities. In many ways it has been a victim of its own success, with population growth projected to be 50% higher than the national average. To meet the demand for new homes, projected to be 33,500 by 2036, some bold decisions are needed; will Bristol support increased density of housing and will this include tall buildings? I have led the studio’s challenge to the existing proposals for satellite volume housing development outside Bristol’s greenbelt, instead calling for the exploration of more inventive and effective densification – including taller buildings in the right places - to help deliver a more sustainable and dynamic urban environment. We have led the debate through social media, local press and TV and are starting to see support and thinking galvanise. Together we can influence planning

policy to support better use of brownfield sites to meet the needs of an expanding modern city. This campaign led us to think further about how space is used, not just central urban locations, but smaller pockets of land which can offer tremendous potential for increasing density in urban and suburban areas. The changing face of transportation and increased uptake of electronic vehicles will soon leave ‘forgotten spaces’; disused garages and plots of land which could support antisocial behaviour and are difficult to develop within existing communities. We responded to this challenge by developing the Gap House, a brand new concept that repurposes these spaces to create modern, stylish ecohomes which literally fill the gap and help address demand from first time buyers. Launched at the new Bristol Festival of Housing, which BDP proudly

supported as an official sponsor, the intelligent design took a fresh approach to volume, light and storage to create a low energy, spacious contemporary home for modern living with minimal car parking and a strong sense of community. The Gap House will use digital engineering to craft these high quality homes in a bespoke manufacturing facility to deliver them with speed and cost savings and to avoid the pitfalls of traditional on-site construction. Bristol studio encourages dialogue with its design community to develop new and innovative approaches to increased urbanisation and densification. We combine our local insight and passion for our city with the practice’s global awareness and success as effective and intuitive placemakers for a modern world.



MULBERRY PARK COMMUNITY HUB A new model for future community buildings, Nick Fairham explains the collective thinking behind the design


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The bold cantilevered form and palette of materials reference the famous temporary floating harbours and copper alloy cladding is perforated with patterns taken from historic aerial photographs

Forming the heart of a new neighbourhood south of the World Heritage city of Bath, the Mulberry Park Community Hub is a model for future community buildings. Communities are more than a collection of buildings. Their success lies in the meaningful creation of place, somewhere people will come together, love to live in, a sustainable, safe place of belonging. Mulberry Park Community Hub is such a catalyst. The design is the product of close consultation with local residents and brings together a 210 place primary school, 70 place children’s nursery with community facilities; a cafe, clinic, fitness suite, business and flexible multi-use spaces. Bringing these activities together was

a key element of the brief, to maximise access and use over time and to meet the diverse needs of residents. The bold cantilevered form is a reference to the famous temporary floating harbours designed by the Admiralty when the site was an MoD base. They were used for the Allied invasion of Normandy during World War II. The copper alloy cladding is perforated with patterns taken from historic aerial photographs of Mulberry Harbours and used to enrich the two striking elements of the design; the main school hall along the avenue and the enterprise space cantilevered above the main entrance and public square. Cream coloured brickwork, rich in variation and texture, was selected for the elevations to complement

the buff brick and Bath stone used throughout the development. A new public square is a safe place for children to play and is designed to support community events, markets and social gatherings. This hub forms a new focal point and meeting place for the wider communities of Foxhill, Combe Down and Mulberry Park. Multiple conversations with the community ensured that the aspirations for the building were addressed, and promoted a sense of pride in the part they played in the creation of their building at the heart of the new community.



Sue Emms describes BDP’s work for universities across the world


(Left page) Designs to enhance connections between Sheffield Hallam University and the city. (Current page) Xi’an Jiaotong Liverpool University.

The School of Art and Media supports Coventry University’s civic engagement, enabling it to play a transformational role in the cultural plans of the city.

Universities have always enjoyed strong connections with their cities and regions. They not only offer opportunities in education, research and training, but support the economy through innovation and skills, advancing society by expanding collective knowledge through research and discovery. They are catalysts for economic growth, promoting cultural activity, social mobility and community cohesion. With the growing trend towards devolution in UK cities, global urbanisation and rapid technological change, as well as a raft of challenging social issues, universities are growing partnerships to establish their important role as engines of social, economic and cultural development; ‘town and gown’ for the 21st century. University masterplans are often the

first step in unlocking this relationship. The ambitious review of the University of Warwick’s masterplan supports its role as an active stakeholder in the success of the region and beyond. The city campus masterplan for Sheffield Hallam University reflects its bold vision to raise its presence in the city and wider regional development by addressing the skills gap highlighted in the UK’s industrial strategy. University becomes ‘univer-city’ where physical connections with cities are enhanced. The design activates ground floor spaces to showcase industry ‘real-life’ learning, transforming the streetscape by illustrating the development of skills which will aid the employability of graduates and support Sheffield Hallam’s ambition of becoming the world’s leading applied university.

This trend to drive development is prevalent globally. In China new universities are positioning themselves as educational hubs, such as Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University in Suzhou. This world class campus blends our education and placemaking expertise with an understanding of local culture and knowledge. Inspired by the Classical Gardens of Suzhou, the design sets new urban routes and a city garden at its heart. An international business school, laboratory and research facilities, humanities building, science building and training centre, and international exchange centre are placed around this new urban space which encourages social exchange and serendipitous encounter at the heart of the campus. Boundaries are increasingly blurred



between academia and industry, leading to new building typologies. The Smart Innovation Hub for Keele University co-locates the university’s management school and councilfunded incubation space, affording students and staff the opportunity to work with entrepreneurs and local business owners. A central business lounge enables open innovation through the sharing of ideas and knowledge and supports the growth of new businesses in the region. This idea was central to the design for a new campus for the Singapore Institute of Technology. This transforms the way academics and industry work side by side. Research is focused on industry challenges in partnership with students acquiring skills for a future in industry. A key

concept of the design is the project hub, a flexible place to ‘learn, unlearn and relearn’ through the support of real life business. The potential of universities to enrich the cultural life of cities is huge. The School of Art and Media supports Coventry University’s civic engagement, enabling it to play a leading, transformational role in the arts and humanities and positively influence the cultural plans of the city. The refurbished School of Art is united with adjacent buildings and functions with a new heart space, a concept to stimulate new pedagogies for cross-disciplinary working in the fields of architecture, interior design, automotive design, performing arts and media. The design acts as a new gateway and shop window

to showcase the arts and engage with enterprise and the community. Completing in 2021, it will form a key civic focus for Coventry’s Capital of Culture. Our work with universities has allowed us to test new ideas and explore new concepts for the mutual benefit of cities, institutions and communities. These are exciting times: playing a part in societal transformation, through the design and delivery of buildings and places that make a significant contribution, not just to the universities but to their city regions.



(Left and right) Xi’an Jiaotong Liverpool University - a new campus for world class teaching and research. (Below) Singapore Institute of Technology transforming the way academics and industry work sideby-side.



Xi’an Jiaotong Liverpool University learning and research arranged around a city park inspired by the Classical Gardens of Suzhou



35 Wilson and Womersley’s original vision for ‘streets in the sky’.

ORIGINAL THINKING APPLIED Placing business at the heart of the Northern Powerhouse, Gary Wilde explains how the university became reconnected with street life


(Current page) the first floor concourse is arranged around three open courtyards.

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A grand new study hall and library overlooking Oxford Road forms the heart of the school

Established in 1965 as one of the UK’s first business schools, the new Alliance Business School at the University of Manchester occupies two conjoined buildings from the 1970s; the original Business School by Cruickshank and Seward and the Precinct Centre development by Wilson and Womersley. The latter devised a masterplan in the 1970s, pioneering a ‘streets in the sky’ concept of pedestrian walkways throughout the university campus which, with the exception of the bridge across Oxford

Road and a temporary pedestrian ramp into the precinct centre, was never completed. This unfinished plan meant that the education precinct was left isolated, disconnected from the busy streets below. It did, however, provide the key to unlocking the growth plan for the Business School as well as creating an opportunity to visually reconnect the school to Oxford Road and the city. Two further key issues existed. Firstly, and despite the considerable scale of the building, the main

entrance was an unprepossessing, low, single storey space hidden behind a residential scale doorway; hardly befitting a world leading business school. Secondly, beyond this entrance sprawled an almost unnavigable series of corridors and stair cores. The remodelling creates an appropriately scaled entrance from which a simple, inviting axial route rises steadily through the building, overlooking three open courtyards, before terminating at the former




The multi-coloured vertical glass fins catch the eye of passers by and harmonise with the red brick of the existing 1970s buildings. The new elevations reconnect the school and urban context

precinct centre. This space is transformed into a grand new study hall and library with a three storey window overlooking Oxford Road and the wider university campus. This forms the heart of the school, providing both means of orientation and a grand destination. Two large oak clad lecture theatres sit centre stage, their roofs used as open access study areas which add to the animation of the space. The glazed elevations to east and west mirror each other, their multi-

coloured vertical glass fins catch the eye of passers-by and provide solar control to reduce heat gain. These colours harmonise with the red brick of the existing 1970s buildings, and subtly merge with the brand colours of the Business School. On sunny days they cast their luminous, linear pattern across the spines of shelved books and give a warm glow to the interior. The north and south elevations retain the original architect’s composition of red brick and dark grey. The demolition of the Oxford Road

bridge and its associated wide, gloomy, understorey enables the introduction of a double height facade at street level for new shops which animate Oxford Road and the new garden space to the south. This replaces the precinct pedestrian ramp, the removal of which disconnects the building from the final vestige of the 1970s masterplan. The transformation of the building not only rejuvenates the Oxford Road corridor, but provides the university with facilities to match their international reputation.



Where and what is York Castle? Some might point to the city walls, others to Clifford’s Tower, high on its mound. Neither would be right. Urbanist Francis Glare provides the answer.


Drawing out the meaning of place is not just an intellectually robust way to approach the design of the future city, it also underpins a highly practical approach to city planning

Like many designers, most visitors assume that a castle is an artefact, rather than a place, and thus look for castellations and defensive towers, rather than understand that actions and events give meaning to place and define York Castle within the city of York. Ask the same visitors to identify the Eye of York and even more will get it wrong – it’s not the circular ‘eye’ of grass in front of the Castle Museum (which is really rather new in the context of York), nor is it a reference to where the boundaries of the North, East and West Ridings of Yorkshire meet. Rather, the Eye of York is a place, not in a rigidly defined physical sense, but as a locus with a history, where, over a sustained period of time, a set of activities, associations, cultures and events has imbued an area of the city with an authenticity and legitimacy – a spirit of place - that remains present in the consciousness of the people of York. Embarking on the journey to understanding the true meaning of place has been central to the York Castle Gateway Masterplan. Two key forums were established to facilitate the process: the first was a conventional steering group comprising the key agencies with responsibilities for the long term stewardship of the area. Not only do such groups hold an enormous wealth of knowledge but their involvement ensures ownership of the proposals and a seamless route into implementation. The second forum was an innovative social research project undertaken by the University of Leeds with a local architect. ‘My Castle Gateway’ acted, and crucially, continues to act, as a portal for

exploring the meaning of the place from the point of view of the city denizens and visitors to the Castle Gateway; whether a tourist, a local or a resident. This initiative generated a wealth of insight; thousands of anecdotes, dozens of gatherings in the area to explore and debate, and a strong sense of community to form and inform the plan. Drawing out the meaning of place is not just an intellectually robust way to approach the design of the future city, it also underpins a highly practical approach to city planning. True understanding of the meaning of place means cultivating clear principles, not proposing definitive solutions – so that the Castle Gateway Masterplan becomes a living, development framework, not a soulless blueprint. So how would we describe the Eye of York to the inquisitive visitor? It is a palimpsest; a place where the evolution of the city results in the repurposing of space and buildings whilst never wholly erasing their former uses, which live on through artefacts, cultural and community memories. The Eye of York has variously been a place of arrival and trade, dependent on and often at the mercy of the Ouse and Foss rivers; a military stronghold; a place of power and battles for dominance; a place where decisions have been, and are still, made with regard to people’s liberty… and at times in history, on their very lives; a place of protest; a place of revelry; fairs are still held on St George’s Field, judges still sit in court. This also gives the Castle Gateway Masterplan a distinctive combination of driving principles: maintaining this area as a key arrival point for visitors; maintaining a healthy regard for the

rivers which occasionally overwhelm the area and also act as vital routes to and through the city; accommodating civil and judicial functions; contrasting the density and amalgam of buildings and commerce which form the mediaeval city centre to the north of the site with the open spaces and landmark buildings that formed the castle, prison, courts and museums of the city over time, and that form, and continue to form the backdrop for gatherings, whether for protest, celebration or pure conviviality. The most audacious element of the Castle Gateway Masterplan is not a new or adapted building, but the strategy for placemaking that re-establishes the setting of the Eye of York, reveals the River Foss, and reinforces the distinction between this area and the adjacent mediaeval city centre. This has yielded exciting opportunities, including the expansion of the Castle Museum, a bespoke visitor car, coach and cycle park with a public roof terrace that is designed to remain operational when the ground level floods. The cascade steps have been placed to orientate the visitor with views across the city centre and new neighbourhoods along Piccadilly and around the Foss Basin. This design approach has enabled the reclamation of the former Castle Car Park as public and civic space and an integral part of the Eye of York. The success of the Castle Gateway Masterplan will be the extent to which it supports the developing narrative of this hugely significant place, a symbolic centre of York and Yorkshire, and how the meaning of the place is revealed and continues to be lived.

42 Barton Science Centre, Tonbridge School.



Daniel Walder presents a compelling argument for finding space to forge enduring relationships

Schools have been at the heart of our communities for hundreds of years. Alongside our universities and religious institutions, they provide a place for people to gather to exchange ideas and build relationships. More importantly, school is the place where young people connect with each other and the world around them when their minds are most impressionable. For many of us, school is where we will form some of our most influential and enduring relationships; whether an inspiring teacher opening our eyes to new possibilities or a close friend sharing in our journey through turbulent adolescent years, these relationships have a profound impact on our lives. Despite this unique position in society, schools can be reduced to mere exam factories, promoting a culture of academic attainment and a focus on climbing league tables, the importance of human relationships forgotten at a time when they are most important. This academic focus is often evident in the buildings our

schools inhabit. In some of our oldest most prestigious schools, primacy is given to teaching and learning spaces, with the assumption that not all interactions are learning experiences. Over time as school populations grow, social spaces invariably become squeezed reducing some of our most important relationships to a Snapchat post, whilst sitting on the corridor floor between the lockers and the recycling bins. As developing technology increases remote communication, there is a greater need than ever for schools to promote healthy social interaction. Our recent work in some of the UK’s leading independent schools has sought to redress this balance and increase the provision of social space in historic academic settings. When Tonbridge School approached us with the challenge of enlarging its original 1894 science building to inspire a new generation of scientists, we proposed a partial demolition of the building, resulting in the loss of approximately 150sqm of floor space. Given the desire to maximise

lab space, this initial suggestion was met with confusion. However, we successfully demonstrated that sufficient lab space could still be created, but the focus of the building could be shifted towards the shared social and collaboration spaces to inspire a genuine interest in science beyond the lab-based syllabus. Shared space at the heart of the building encourages pupils, teachers and the wider school community, from mathematics, the arts, design and technology and humanities, to explore ideas using pin up and exhibition display in an informal setting, outside the constraints of the mainstream curriculum. As the school grows into its new surroundings, it is envisaged that formal teaching will increasingly take place outside the traditional setting of the lab and that these spaces will inspire a more blended approach to social and academic aspects of school life, enhancing and encouraging social interaction as part of the school experience.


(Top left) the new labs complement the original stone science building. (Top right) the building relates to the adjacent listed chapel. (Bottom) concept sketch setting laboratories and theory spaces around a shared heart space. (Right page) Barton Science Centre, Tonbridge School a glazed bridge brings the historic and new elements together.






(Left page) Centre for Creative Learning, Francis Holland School. (Right page) A small, underused courtyard is transformed into a raised garden at street level with a subterranean library carved out below.

Similar shifts in learning are occurring at Francis Holland School, in a very different but equally challenging historic setting nestled between the rows of smart terraced houses and artisan coffee shops of Sloane Square. The school estate has grown organically over a period of nearly 150 years and is a collection of densely packed classrooms connected by corridors and stairs. The scarcity of land has resulted in the marginalisation of social learning space. The school aspired to maximise the potential of its existing land and our masterplan identified the need for a new library with improved external space to

promote a culture of self-directed learning. A small, underused courtyard shoehorned against the Underground line was an opportunity for a new building with a raised garden at street level and a subterranean library carved out below. This provides study space for pupils from across the age cohorts, arranged to foster pastoral relationships between year groups while the roof garden allows students to socialise in a tranquil and biodiverse green setting within an otherwise congested urban estate. Both projects have made a small cultural shift away from attainment-

driven learning towards the exploration of ideas through experimentation and discussion by carving shared social space from highly constrained, operational academic environments,. Although the enormous pressure on schools, teachers and ultimately pupils to pass exams and climb league tables shows scant sign of abating, at Tonbridge School and Francis Holland School at least they have elected to place the emphasis on the social experience, to inspire a collective desire for students to venture beyond the curriculum and explore their futures, one conversation at a time.



Singapore studio leader Jeremy Farrington espouses an holistic outlook to development in Southeast Asia

There is a proverb in Southeast Asia that loosely translated says “When gentle breezes stick together, they can have the power of a typhoon”. This captures the spirit of the continued growth of the collective group of countries that make up the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Often considered the powerhouse of the region, Singapore is an anomalous exemplar. It is a well-manicured model of prosperity and urbanisation that most of the region’s other countries and cities aspire to. Economic development among developing Southeast Asian countries brings productivity, income and access to healthcare, education and transport. But it also presents challenges. From Yangon to Manila to Hanoi to Jakarta – they are all on parallel growth trajectories, where population increase and mass migration to the cities will

drive urban populations to triple within the next 15 years. The concern expressed by many Southeast Asian governments, policy makers, planners, developers and investors is that without a connected approach to growth, unrestrained urbanisation could bring congestion, pollution, alienation and social dysfunction, resulting in unhappy citizens. They must therefore face key interdependent challenges: how to promote economic growth and employment while ensuring protection of the environment and addressing climate change; how to develop social infrastructure that enhances sustainable urban living while preserving the customs and values that define the identity of a region. Smart cities is part of this emerging picture, or forms part of the solution. Using communications technologies

to improve traffic flow and public transportation, healthcare, working, education, energy and water usage in buildings and city neighborhoods is a key aspect of making life better. There are a growing number of examples throughout Southeast Asia where this approach is being piloted. In the Philippines, Singaporean based masterplanners and architects Surbana Jurong have envisioned the New Clark City Masterplan, which adopts smart use of data and digital technology integrated with new transport infrastructure to address Manila’s legendary congestion. In Thailand initiatives focus on digitally empowered ecosystems, traffic management and townplanning while Vietnam and Malaysia have collectively targeted the creation of no fewer than 100 Smart Cities over the next 20 years.


(Top left and current page) Bach Dang Harbour Masterplan, Vietnam.

50 Ciliwung River Regeneration Project, Jakarta.

Urban Design Strategies

Urban Centres

Green Fingers

Urban Edges

Transport Links

River elbow - water, nature and people in harmony.



One of the most polluted rivers in the world flows through Jakarta. The Ciliwung River Regeneration Project reclaims the river as a new transport link and catalyst for urban development, tackling pollution, congestion, and social alienation

But if the ideal of ASEAN integration is to be realised, programmes in individual countries need to be linked and best practices and successes shared. The ASEAN Smart City Network (ASCN) was founded to realise this aim and includes regional capitals like Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi, Manila, Jakarta, along with many smaller cities. The ASCN has helped attract global investment into the region. The World Bank, Japanese International Cooperation Agency, and Swiss government are all helping to fund projects and support initiatives across public and private sector developments. The principles of a connected, smart approach to growth and improvement don’t stop at city level. Transport oriented development (TOD) or mixed use communities are all emerging as key elements to successful, connected cities. Much of the projected growth stems from new infrastructure. Roads, rail, airports and deep sea ports are being planned and delivered across Southeast Asia to provide both physical and economic connectivity. BDP, Nippon Koei and its regional partners are currently working on numerous infrastructure projects, such

as the metro line extension in Manila, subway networks in Ho Chi Minh and deep sea ports in Myanmar. These projects are very attractive to private sector developers and often spin off from civil engineering infrastructure, such as the Bach Dang Harbour project in Saigon where BDP and Nippon Koei have developed proposals for the city centre, connecting public realm and commercial retail spaces above and below ground level, directly linking to the extending metro line. This new city neighbourhood naturally clusters around transport infrastructure, including trams and new pedestrian river crossings, and sets the city context for a new cultural quarter. This all connects together in a coherent city masterplan. Similar BDP and Nippon Koei collaborations include central Bangkok where we are working on the Bang Su high speed rail station masterplan, Kuala Lumpur on the Bandar Malaysia Masterplan, and most recently in Jakarta on the Ciliwung River Regeneration Project, a 17km long urban riverside design proposal that reclaims the river as a new transport link and catalyst for urban development.

Although TOD and mixed use developments are nothing new globally, changing public policy, market demand, and a growing understanding of evolving retail and commercial habits along with the benefits of connected work, life and play amenities are fueling the demand for mixed use destinations. Across the region governments, developers and investors are keen to attractive new urban environments to promote economic prosperity, social equality and environmental equilibrium. It will remain to be seen how successful and sustainable these developments in social infrastructure will be, but the outlook is positive. For our new studio in Singapore, these issues of connectivity - urbanism, global climate change, local and regional social value and technology are at the heart of our day-to-day concerns as designers. The motto for the ASEAN group states ‘One Vision, One Identity, One Community’ and the collective ambition of Southeast Asia to embrace advancement and progress represents an opportunity for BDP and Nippon Koei to improve people’s lives in this fast growing region.



Gary Dicken explains how Qasr Al Hosn has been restored as a living memorial to Abu Dhabi’s history



(Top right) Qasr Al Hosn in its original desert setting. (Left) The Inner Fort and Outer Palace offer a quiet, hallowed refuge in the centre of the bustling city.

Over the centuries Qasr Al Hosn has been home to the ruling family, the seat of government, the national consultative council and a national archive; it now stands as the nation’s living memorial and the narrator of Abu Dhabi’s history. Qasr Al Hosn comprises three major national icons: the Inner Fort, Outer Palace and a National Council Chamber. Following a concept design strategy established by our client, our brief was to faithfully conserve and adapt these structures in a manner that clearly identified their chronological evolution. Each building presented unique challenges which

demanded a fundamentally different design philosophy and architectural approach. The Inner Fort was originally built around a coastal watchtower and became the seat of power for the ruling Bani Yas tribe from 1795. By the time of its reconstruction in 1980 only the historic watchtower survived. Pavilions and towers are, therefore, honestly expressed as buildings of the modern era. Walls are completed with a pure white self-finished render, with new interventions expressed minimally and detailed with precision. The pavilions and tower house exhibitions that narrate the evolution of Qasr Al

Hosn, Abu Dhabi and its people with displays of artefacts dating from 6000CE. Each exhibition space is connected with a simple, carefully crafted glass structure, creating calm contemplative spaces for the visitor to pause and experience the tranquility of the inner courtyard. By contrast the Outer Palace, constructed by members of the local community between 1939 and 1945, had remained largely intact. It is a national monument, epitomising the development of Abu Dhabi, from a settlement reliant on fishing and pearling in the 18th century, to a modern global metropolis. During



Today the building sits at the heart of downtown Abu Dhabi

the 1980s it had been adapted to accommodate the National Archive, a conversion that required significant intrusive structural intervention and modern services. Our brief was to sensitively and authentically restore the building, as far as possible, back to its original condition. The palace is approximately 10,000sqm, built around the footprint of the original fort. Accommodation is arranged on two levels along the southern and eastern perimeter walls. Built of local materials including mangrove, date palm, coral and sea stone, its design and construction cleverly responds to the harsh desert

climate by absorbing the heat of the sun and channeling natural breezes to provide a relatively cool habitable environment. The spaces within the Inner Fort and Outer Palace have a unique character and serene calm – a quiet, hallowed refuge from the surrounding urban environment. The grounds are sensitively landscaped with date palms which practically provided shading and food and whose aroma stimulates the memory of the fort as a family space, the heart of the home which only privileged guests could access. The final building in the Qasr Al Hosn ensemble is the National Council

Chamber. Originally constructed as a Majlis in 1968, it was modified following the unification as the main meeting chamber for representatives of the newly formed Federation. Apart from the incorporation of a first floor viewing gallery both interior and exterior have been authentically restored. Qasr Al Hosn sits at the northwest corner of a site opposite the iconic Cultural Foundation Building. This downtown city block containing two of the nation’s most significant buildings expresses the enduring legacy of Emirati heritage and identity for all to enjoy.



Aberdeen Music Hall has been transformed with restored historic interiors, a new performance studio, creative learning space and contemporary cafÊ-bar. For the first time in the building’s 190 year history it is fully accessible.




Continuing the exploration of people friendly healthcare design. Max Martin


(Above) BørneRiget Women’s and Children’s Hospital. (Left) Waterfall House, Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

Waterfall House continues our exploration of the children’s hospital as a building typology from our earlier designs for Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and Brighton Children’s Hospital. Our largest project to date is the National Children’s Hospital in Dublin, due for completion in 2022. Waterfall House is an altogether more compact affair, simple in form and distinctly contextual, responding to place and the needs and aspirations of families and clinicians. A similar approach was adopted for the design of BørneRiget Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Copenhagen, using clear rectilinear forms with simple massing. BørneRiget pushed the boundaries of modern children’s and maternity care by putting play at the heart of all aspects of the building’s functionality and form. The building concept looked to complement the rigour of the adjacent 1970s Rigshospitalet buildings, using an orthogonal language to express the clinical clusters; an inside out approach where function interacts with variation. Furniture and landscape are a natural counterpoint to the rectilinear forms, inviting play and relaxation. Landscape and natural materials lend softness,

which together with daylight creates a reassuringly homely atmosphere. Waterfall House maximises the potential of the site to provide clinical adjacencies. Upper levels cantilever over the street, articulating the facades and forming larger rooms and key spaces. The concept of a simple courtyard building with a central space provided opportunities for play and connections between users, promoting a sense of community and human scale. Working in partnership with the hospital’s Young Person’s Advisory Group, a theme for the building was developed, drawing inspiration from Birmingham’s industrial heritage. The canal network was chosen to illustrate the city’s lifeblood connection with its surroundings. The canal is a balance of the industrial and the serene, water and nature providing key themes, inspired by the strong colours and graphics of narrow boats and canal side vernacular. A sparkling aquamarine cascading facade greets visitors, stepping back from the pavement to provide public gathering space at the main arrival point and projecting a beacon for wellbeing.



BLURRING BOUNDARIES Interior designer, Amy Simpson, gives her take on the evolving workplace

We are witnessing a fast paced, hugely exciting shift in boundaries between workplace, hospitality, education and residential; a variety of radical approaches to the regeneration and development of sites across the sectors. Flexible environments which blur the lines between home, work and play can transform for a variety of individuals, startups and larger commercial practices. So how will this blurring of boundaries impact on the future of commercial design? It may look like PwC’s Frontier Data Lab, an ‘experience centre’, which brings together business

strategy, digital technology, customer experience and design. A series of interconnected spaces incorporate a virtual reality lab where users can engage in and test disruptive strategies through technology, a high spec studio office space, and an open plan space, ‘the difference’, which accommodates a diverse set of activities. Comfortable yet hardworking, indifferent to regular change, suitable for all projects and people, it offers an innovative place for PwC clients. This approach strikes a chord with our designs for education, retail

and housing. The ability to connect anywhere means we can also work anywhere. We are becoming increasingly entrepreneurial and independent. We are beginning to outgrow fixed spaces and instead look to interior architecture to facilitate our needs and ambitions. Housing is starting to favour the mood of the workplace. The North American hacker house concept combines co-living and co-working under one roof, offering an official space for networking to help jumpstart businesses. In 2015 Westfield, in partnership with developer Forest City,


launched Bespoke, co-working space for a variety of industries occupying dormant upper level retail space in San Francisco. It hit capacity within three months. Emerging retail brand Re:store combines co-working and retail to encourage collaboration between fellow makers and promote connections with local customers while showcasing products. Shopping centres that offer everything under one roof perfectly lend themselves to co-working and this trend will undoubtedly change the face of UK retail, reinventing the concept of the shopping centre of the future. One of our longstanding clients approached us to outline a strategy for an avant-garde fashion space in a former big-box retail unit and car park in Moscow. The design needed to naturally traverse workplace, hospitality, retail and exhibition while accommodating current and emerging technologies. Only part of the space is dedicated to retail, with the remainder allocated to food and beverage, bookshops, co-working, lecture space

and wellbeing facilities. The concept is designed to engage with emerging experimental online fashion brands who want to establish pop-up stores and a strong physical presence. We can expect to see more of this as part of the solution to the ever increasing problem of empty high streets now all too familiar in the UK. Transformative schemes such as the Galway Docklands merges office space with retail and food & beverage and re-establishes the city as a business and cultural hub. The pioneering design aims to attract and engage the best, most forward thinking companies and startups to reactivate this former shipping yard and the wider local economy in readiness for becoming European Capital of Culture in 2020. Enlightened education providers have been embracing spaces that are varied, agile and more akin to the workplace in order to promote a ‘festival of learning’ culture. We designed MakeSpace for the Institute of Making at UCL, a multidisciplinary

research hub for those interested in the made world. Dedicated to the designing and the making of things, this inclusive space provides tools and machinery to staff and students to tinker, mend, spin, cut, cast, drill and sculpt. The project was a gamechanger, stimulating greater experimentation and collaboration. Variants of this model are rapidly becoming the future of education and research as universities fulfil their role as places where students can work across disciplines and engage with external commercial partners in industry-standard surroundings. Charles Eames said “design is an expression of purpose” and as designers we have our role to play to inspire our future entrepreneurs, scientists, designers, engineers and artists. Through the clever design of space and structure we can re-imagine building types and spatial models to create truly progressive, adaptable places with maximised potential for all users.


(Left page) Bonham Quay, Galway. (Right page, above) MakeSpace, Institute of Making, UCL. (Right page, middle) Underline fashionspace, MEGA Teply Stan, Moscow. (Right page, bottom) PwC Frontier, More, London.



Is this the future of the high street? Boxpark Wembley, urbanising suburbia





Manchester Metropolitan University puts STEM at the heart of the city. Michael Cambden Manchester has long claimed to be the first global industrialised city. Its scientific community continues to add to its enviable list of discoveries which include splitting the atom, the first stored-program computer and, most recently, graphene. According to Pro-Manchester, an organisation which represents business communities across the region, the tech sector in Greater Manchester is worth an estimated £2.9bn, employing 83,000 people, and currently accounts for 35% of commercial property in the city. And it continues to grow. BDP has been delivering science projects in tandem with this expansion, including the Bright Building at the

heart of the expanding Manchester Science Park, Astra Zeneca’s Alderley Park Campus, the University of Manchester’s Engineering Campus Development and the Paterson, a cutting-edge new cancer research centre for the University of Manchester, Cancer Research UK and the Christie. Manchester Metropolitan University’s Faculty of Science and Engineering sets new research and teaching alongside selective refurbishment of existing science and engineering labs, workshops and computing facilities and facilitates a significant stepchange in the university’s research capabilities,

STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education, knowledge exchange strategies and international presence. The new building will act as a ‘living lab’, showcasing science and engineering and connecting research and education with the city region to maximise opportunities for collaboration with the tech-focussed business community. Manchester’s rich and entrepreneurial legacy in scitech continues, fostering innovation to drive the ‘fourth industrial revolution’ and spark continued growth and academic, economic, social and cultural change.



Breathing life back into the town centre. James Baker and Lucy Townsend explain how

One Angel Square has allowed its workforce to relocate from 12 properties into one urban hub, a BREEAM Excellent headquarters, where passive and integrated design runs throughout every aspect of the building. The lynchpin of the local authority’s Spend to Save programme, by enabling the disposal of multiple properties, the project minimises operational costs and carbon consumption. The new home for over 2,000 employees, the building fosters collaborative working and revitalises the struggling town centre by introducing people, life and social intensity, integrated with a historically important town setting. The distinctive building personality arose through the team asking why can’t a component that normally

does one thing do three? So the building envelope design balances the demands of context, daylighting, appearance and environmental strategy with semi-automatic opening vents that allow the interior spaces to breathe. External fins set at varying rhythms reflect the local heritage of shoe pattern making, also offering colour, articulation and solar protection. Framed windows with deep reveals articulate massing and maximise natural daylight, and this is only a part of the building’s mixed mode ventilation strategy. Conceived in plan as yin and yang forms, the design layers workplace spaces, informal meeting and touchdown areas and collaborative spaces around a central courtyard. The internal streets are more than architectural concepts,


(Above left) the building envelope balances the demands of context, daylighting, appearance and environmental strategy. (Above right) framed windows with deep reveals maximise natural daylight

connecting people and space - they are four storey ventilation shafts which extend beyond the top floor as glazed wind towers. At night they act as illuminated beacons on the town skyline, and by day they draw air through the building by stack effect extending the periods when the building can operate with natural ventilation and free cooling. A challenging budget and performance requirements demanded lean design and construction, integrating architecture and engineering using slim post tensioned concrete slabs, and deep floor plenums to deliver fresh air to ensure user comfort and air quality. There are no ceilings and no energy guzzling ceiling mounted lighting, but instead floor mounted task lighting developed

by our lighting designers in conjunction with Zumtobel. Internal stairs maximise a strong social dynamic and are a part of a health and wellbeing target set at the outset of the project. Northampton has proved to be one of the most forward thinking councils in the UK; its own multi-disciplinary workforce is no longer tied to a desk but has embraced agile working, with laptops, iPads and smartphones facilitating workplace transformation. One Angel Square is an exemplar office offering flexibility and the culmination of integrated thinking across all of BDP’s professions. The staff love their new bright, modern and, above all, sociable building at the heart of town life – where it should be!




Red is a provocative colour, Lora Kaleva and Colin Ball investigate


Our colour vision is similar to old world apes and we, like our genetic cousins, are unique in having areas of bare skin on our bodies which experience skintone modulation

Have you noticed that London has turned red at night? It’s most visible from a distance or a high location but glimpsed from the M25, Denmark - or Primrose - Hill it looks like a deep red net is stretched across the city. The London Eye that once was blue is now red, British Airways and Coca Cola have only ever used either red or blue. Why? What’s the attraction? We found some answers to this during our research when we had the pleasure of presenting our work to the lighting community in Europe and the USA. An international survey of more than 120 professional lighting designers confirmed high levels of use of saturated blue, a colour more popular than all white shades combined. A random selection of reasons with, disappointingly, corporate sponsorship prominent, prompted us to analyse this use of colour from as many different perspectives as possible. History, art, economics, belief, politics and neurobiology all concur that the human eye sees blue light with such a unique set of properties that sets it apart from all other colours. The properties of the colour blue stem from its nonfovea position within the retina, the 2° point of focus within vision. As a pure wavelength, blue cannot be focused upon so this lends the colour the unique property of effervescence and a glowing airborne property, an attribute used with great effect by the builders of St Denis Chapel, The Blue Mosque in Sultanahmet or The Ishtar Gate of Babylon. The only other colour that exhibited such a powerful range of neurobiological effects was red. A provocative colour, it can incite a variety of responses and is rarely used in the lighting industry. We adopted

the same set of parameters to explore red as we used for blue, and found a unique and powerful opposing set of characteristics. Biologically, seeing red is a major evolutionary leap helping us identify ripe berries to eat hidden among the green foliage, as well as the threat of poison. Our colour vision is similar to old world apes and we, like our genetic cousins, are unique in having areas of bare skin on our bodies which experience skintone modulation. Arousal, threat, illness and other emotions are communicated by blushing or blanching, sending signals to our focused vision which is 65% sensitive to these wavelengths of red. Red has no effect on peripheral vision, hence it is used for night vision when maximum iris width can be maintained. Astronomers use only red light for their instruments and work places and similarly it is employed for cockpit design and car dashboards. Hazard lights on cranes and tall buildings are red to maintain legibility without distracting pilots’ vision as they fly over a city. One of the most significant qualities of red and one which sets it apart from all other colours is that red light does not disrupt the human circadian rhythm, our wake-sleep pattern. Scientists have demonstrated that blue light has a non-visual effect on our circadian rhythm by suppressing the secretion of melatonin, our sleep hormone; hence recent observations that devices which emit blueish light can keep us awake at night. Exposure to red light can raise alertness in night shift workers - as can blue – but the one big difference being no upset to their natural sleep cycle afterwards. Zero disturbance to night vision makes red light perfect for homes and hotels,

or for guests to find their bathroom at three o’clock in the morning without disturbing their sleep pattern, but it’s unlikely that any hotelier would agree to red light in their bedrooms given its association with sleaze. Another primary property of red light is that it makes us look younger. Our skin is composed of a series of translucent layers and saturated red light reflects from the innermost, smoothest layers giving us an even, healthy glow. Conversely, blue light reflects from the outermost layers, reflecting wrinkles and other skin defects. Observe the next time you’re in candlelight, or orange or red light; take a ‘selfie’, then make that image black and white - you will be amazed at your youthful glow! This flattering effect on the skin, coupled with the lack of iris response, explains the widespread use of red in restaurants and convivial settings for entertaining. Not only does red make us look more beautiful but a widened iris signifies friendliness and arousal, an unconscious signal that communicates we’re in excellent company. So how can we rebrand red light to promote its essential properties and benefits to our night time economy, reestablishing its essence as the colour of life and the body, instead of its unfavourable connotations with seedy nightlife? Firstly, we can look at how other non-western cultures perceive red. One of its most notable uses is as the revolutionary colour of Marxism, and this same shade of red is prominent for its positive associations in Asia for millennia. Much as blue has become the favoured colour in the west due to its cost and remoteness, and green is to desert countries for its paucity, so red is important in the east for its


Arousal, threat, illness and other emotions are communicated by blushing or blanching, sending signals to our focused vision which is 65% sensitive to these wavelengths of red





(Left) view along water, Zollverien Kokerei. (Above) our primal relationship with red is the oldest we have with any colour. It is and always has been the colour of life.

pigment - traditionally cinnabar, a toxic ore of mercury – a major ingredient for the elixir of life, retained even now as a symbol of good health and long life. Secondly, we can examine our historical affiliation with red. The relationship between red and life is the oldest we have with any colour. 30,000 year old cave paintings from the Chauvet and Lascaux Caves are executed in black and red only; Neanderthal bones have been found coated in red ochre and the oldest jewellery found is made of red hematite. Our primal relationship with this single pigment continues to be explored by artists such as Cy Twombly, Barnett Newman, Chiharu Shiota and Anish Kapoor. In the field of linguistics, red is the first colour after black and white to be identified in any language, the rare exceptions proving the rule. There is a reason that red is used extensively, not just by artists, or Coca – Cola, or on a high percentage of flags, the scarlet robes of Jesus, and the sacred temples of Japan. It is, and always has been the colour of life. We

must revive these noble and valuable properties. In the past we used our influence as leaders within the lighting design community to endorse the use of white light LEDs, reintroducing a red component that mitigated the blueish, unpleasant hue that initially made them unpopular. Our success in bringing our qualitative experience to bear onto the industry can be extended to the wider society. The public now understand that the blue light emitted by their phones is keeping them awake at night, so they should appreciate the next lighting trend; a darker, warmer, more comfortable night time environment: a red shift.



The role of the city hotel is changing. Michael Mullen offers an authentic new Dublin experience



Irish hospitality starts with human interaction usually with a conversation about the weather

Where has the glamour of travel gone? Our airports are morphing into shopping centres, our airlines into shops…urban hotels too are reinventing themselves as meeting and flexible workplaces to enable informal business rather than leisure. We believe that the hotel’s role in the city has changed. It has become an enabler for a new community that loves to return time and time again and wants to connect with its adopted city in a more meaningful way. Our new 138 bedroom city hotel wants to nurture this community, offering an authentic new Dublin experience for guests whilst avoiding the ‘green cliché’. As you know dear reader, Irish hospitality starts with human interaction - usually with a conversation about the weather - and our new brand positions this

DNA at the centre of the project. A showcase for Dublin and Ireland, the hotel will be managed by a new type of front of house team: concierges trained to offer advice and provide personalised itineraries to reflect the preferences of their guests. These ambassadors will help to create a new community within the city; savvy tourists in search of genuine, connected participation, whose interaction will, in turn, enhance the cultural fusion of the capital. We call this compact luxury, a small format bedroom decorated and accessorised with the best contemporary Irish craft, a showcase for Irish design from brand to bed, confidently supported with smart technologies. New product lines are being developed with local artisans,

such as sinks designed by Aran Street East Potters, bathrooms designed as glass pods and original Irish fabrics sourced throughout. Traditional ground floor lobby and restaurant spaces have been eschewed in favour of collaborations with the best local restaurants, gyms, spas and workplaces so that each guest experience can be curated to reflect personal interests. Restaurateurs are being offered residencies with the opportunity to create short-term tasting menus, light bites, picnics or Deliveroo offers in a gesture to support existing businesses in the city and promote access to the latest and best offers for guests. Sixteen words for rain have been interwoven throughout the hotel in a variety of textures, reflecting the



We call this compact luxury, a small format bedroom decorated and accessorised with the best contemporary Irish craft.

hospitality and humour of the peculiarly Irish brand. Known as WREN, the name stems from an old Irish story where the small wren hid under, but ultimately overtook, the strong eagle to fly highest in the race and was crowned king of the birds - being the cleverest. WREN Dublin: small but clever. Currently under construction, the facade is faceted to reflect light down the street and cantilevers over the boundary to maximise room sizes, achieving top hotel standards. Our interdisciplinary team of architects, interior and furniture designers, sustainability, mechanical, electrical, civil and structural engineers, acoustics, lighting, brand and identity development is at the forefront in the creation of a lean, holistic new blueprint for the city.



INVOKING THE PAST, EMBRACING THE FUTURE Kathryn Tombling discusses how London’s historic streetscape presents exceptional settings for contemporary city living


Palace View re-establishes the urban corner and its relationship to Lambeth Palace.


Enormous demands are being made from London as the drive for growth and the need for more housing fuels development. Previously overlooked areas are being transformed with new life, bringing vibrancy and contributing to local communities. Working in conservation areas brings fantastic opportunities to repair and reconnect places, which in turn attract people and activities, enriching the visual townscape. For residents of the London Bridge Student Village in Borough and Palace View in Lambeth the rich historical context forms a vivid backdrop for city living, conveying a sense of being rooted in the past - yet looking forward to the future. Both housing projects are set in areas of historical significance, yet designed with very different residents in mind. One is located in the narrow yards off Borough High Street, the other overlooking a world reknowned palace. King’s College London’s new student village lies in the backlands between Borough High Street and Guy’s Hospital, a one minute walk from Borough Market. One of London’s most ancient and famous routes into the city for the farmers of Kent and Flemish brewers, it leaves a legacy of cultural heritage with shops and commercial premises occupying tall, narrow properties on Borough High Street establishing the urban fabric. Inns sprung up on this busy thoroughfare; a long courtyard approached through

a narrow archway, with the ground floor supporting stables, offices and a tap room with bedrooms located on galleries above. The student village design echoes this enduring rhythm, lining the narrow yards with a cluster of buildings. Common rooms, cafes and restaurants spill into Talbot Yard with student study bedrooms arranged in the upper levels. The student village contributes to the wider regeneration of the area, opening up the yards for greater public use, adding to the rich experience of city life in this unique part of London. Palace View, which completed last year, offers contemporary city living within another unique setting. It is a boutique apartment building located on a prominent corner overlooking the mediaeval St Mary-at-Lambeth Church and Lambeth Palace, the London residence of the Archbishops of Canterbury for the last 800 years. From this celebrated location residents can enjoy sweeping views over the River Thames beyond Lambeth Palace to the seat of UK parliament at the Palace of Westminster. Both projects are designed with personality; they draw inspiration from their surroundings, reinforcing the character of the area by strengthening the sense of place, respecting, enhancing and advancing the pattern of centuries of organic development.



(Left page, top) the rooftop terrace for King’s College students offers respite from the intensity of city life. (Left page, bottom) the world famous Borough Market. (Current page) cafes and restaurants spill into Talbot Yard with student study bedrooms above.

officiatium, aut excerib usandebit re sit prendae pro di officiditat



St Paul’s Church, Covent Garden Piazza Balonici / Shutterstock.com


Cities are like jigsaws. Nick Edwards advocates close working between investors and city authorities to piece them together

(Above) Covent Garden - improving pedestrian permeability.

Over 40% of all city journeys are made on foot. Noise and traffic fumes, cracked flagstones, graffiti and litter threaten this form of movement. If we are to encourage healthy and sustainable lifestyle choices and work to end social exclusion and make our cities fairer, we need to invest in our urban realm. Streets are social and cultural spaces as well as traffic routes. Good placemaking contributes to social value in our towns and cities; it can also deliver a significant financial return, as is evidenced by rental growth, property and land values, increased footfall and improved reputation. Just as high-quality public realm is important to the enjoyment of leisure time, it is also increasingly linked to health and wellbeing and a ‘work anywhere’ culture, and is an important contributor in businesses recruiting and retaining the best people. Institutes such as the World Health Organisation and Public Health

England concur on the positive social and environmental benefits that can be gained from high quality public space. Indeed the unprecedented growth of urban populations, an ageing society and rising obesity, coupled with the urgent need to respond to climate change, present a powerful case for investing in public places. Improvements to the public realm are now supported by a range of guidance, including the government’s 2018 Air Quality Plan, the Mayor of London’s commitment to pollution reduction, Transport for London’s Healthy Streets initiative and work undertaken by many developers and landowners. The City of Westminster has been quick to recognise the importance of health, wellbeing and social inclusion and we are working with a number of clients in Westminster including Grosvenor, Capco, Astrea and Land Securities on the design and implementation of improvements to many streets and spaces including


(Top left) Nova Victoria creates people friendly space in a dense urban environment. (Bottom left) designing for al fresco life, Motcomb Street, Belgravia. (Top right) pedestrians reclaim the streets from vehicles

PAVING LONDON Brown Hart Gardens, Mayfair /Grosvenor.





Berkeley Square, Grosvenor Hill, Grosvenor Square and Grosvenor Street in Mayfair; Motcomb Street, Halkin Arcade and Grosvenor Place in Belgravia; and Covent Garden and Nova in Victoria. The City of London has also embraced the benefits of investment in public realm and its initiatives have been supported by research identifying a blurring of traditional boundaries between public and private, work and leisure. The City has recognised the important role public realm plays in its image as a world class attraction and this perception is also demonstrated in our work at Broadgate with British Land, who see high quality public realm as being fundamentally important to businesses when they are considering where they should locate. Successful placemaking requires a holistic approach and an understanding of how people use, or would like to use, a space together with enhancing image and increasing versatility. Good urban design is most effective when spaces and buildings are considered as one and where public and private sectors work together. Four recent projects exemplify this philosophy. Brown Hart Gardens is an elevated public square on the roof of a listed substation a short walk from Oxford Street. Winner of the Mayor of London’s Best New Public Space award in 2014, the judges’ citation recognised it as “a fantastic example

The Gagosian Gallery has become part of the rich urban weave of Mayfair /Inarc, Nick Ingram.

/Inarc, Nick Ingram.

of how London is rising to meet the challenge of making the city a more liveable and inspiring place to be.” Making it accessible, part of the public realm and a place where people can dwell, while respecting the needs of the residential neighbours, was key to the revitalisation of this space, with moveable planters and furniture allowing for different uses throughout the year and a new cafe pavilion adding to the relaxing environment away from the bustle of Oxford Street. Creating people-friendly public realm for Nova and a warm and inviting atmosphere to promote movement and access to new restaurants and bars in Victoria introduced human scale and character within a very dense urban setting. The public realm for Grosvenor Hill invents a new identity to promote new uses. The conversion of an industrial car garage into a contemporary art gallery is part of a joined-up approach to placemaking. Once a back-of-house location, it is now a new destination with its own personality and part of the rich urban weave of London’s Mayfair. Covent Garden is a globally renowned tourist destination but is always working hard to stay ahead of the competition. Working with Capco, we are improving pedestrian permeability and introducing extensive greening and improved public safety. Covent Garden’s environs and spaces are undergoing constant transformation whilst continuing to respect the scale, character and use of its buildings and the intricate network of pedestrian routes, historic passages and courtyards that make it such a wonderful place to visit. Investment in high-quality public realm has increased over the last decade but there remains a long way to go and it is important that greater emphasis is placed on ongoing management and maintenance. Ultimately, the most enduring ventures will be those where investors work with their respective public authorities in the design and care of new places. There are great examples, including British Land at Broadgate, Canary Wharf Group in Docklands, and Grosvenor in Mayfair and Belgravia, but these are too few and our cities require ongoing collaboration if they are to optimise the value – both financial and social – that an enhanced public realm can offer. City life depends on it.



Sustainability specialist Philip Gray puts social value centre ground

There is a general acceptance that it is impossible to separate economic and environmental issues: development has an impact on the environment, so a poor environment will stifle development. What is becoming increasingly apparent is the influence social factors play. A sense of ownership instils a feeling of pride and that in turn delivers improved behaviours. Environments that are comfortable, safe and cared for improve productivity, use, and wellbeing. It has taken nearly 20 years for ‘social sustainability’ to rise to prominence in our industry following Gro Harlem Brundtland’s definition of the three pillars of sustainability in the 1980s. This definition focussed on social sustainability and the importance of raising the standard of education, reducing disease and lowering poverty. Alongside the selfevident environmental challenges

we address day-to-day as designers, these are fundamental issues we must better engage with. In the UK, social sustainability made its way into the mainstream largely through the Social Value Act, passed in 2012 in an attempt to dilute the power of big businesses winning contracts. The act was introduced to shift focus from the ‘price’ element in public sector procurement and to provide a framework for assessing and rewarding approaches to enhancing social value (without replacing the importance of economic and environmental factors). As a result of this new legislation, these objectives increasingly feature in the requirements of projects and frameworks, so businesses have to demonstrate their understanding of the impact of their activities, illustrating that the social impact of their decision making is given due consideration. Thus corporate focus has been shaped - beyond merely not

doing harm or breaking the law - to an explicit proclamation of actions and activities which will deliver economic and environmental benefits to primary and subsidiary stakeholders. So where does BDP sit in this agenda? You can’t get far through the doors of any of our studios without being reminded of our ethos and heritage; founded by a communist, with an early partnership business model, espousing a level hierarchy and collaborative culture focussed on people. Our founder claimed that “the spirit of the practice is an emergent quality arising from the members of BDP as they go about their daily lives and tasks.” We design places for people, and remain closely aligned to our founding principles. We are well positioned to lead the debate in the industry and shape the agenda…but only if we continue to take responsibility for every intervention and ensure it has a positive impact on


people. How do we quantify the social value our work generates? How do we demonstrate to our people that we really value them as much as we say we do? How do we prove to clients that our solution will generate more value than our closest competitors? How do we ensure that our people are enthused and working to the best of their ability? The ubiquitous wellbeing agenda hammers home how important health and happiness are in maximising output – scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours. We’ve seen the higher education sector embrace this approach over recent years, lead the agenda and attract the best. We have a duty of care to our stakeholders that is placed above – but not separate from – the commercial benefits that keep business buoyant. We already do a lot across the practice; fundraising, pro-bono work, hosting events to support and nurture learning. A team from the London

studio is currently dedicating time to work with Cephas Williams, whose brainchild, Drummer Boy, grants access to musical facilities to help the young Afro-Caribbean community develop abilities, raise aspirations and network with industry organisations. But we can always do more. The latest iteration of our social value strategy captures and reports on all of our work, towards measuring true social value – from the people working on the project to the end users. Post-occupancy evaluations are being enhanced to capture more than just operational performance, also completing social value appraisals in order to learn what has had the most significant impact on stakeholders and communities. We need to demonstrate that our interventions minimise environmental impact whilst maximising social impact. This means strengthening our ties with local institutions and building networks across the industry, ensuring

that our people are given the support they need to develop as professionals. We want to engage more with small businesses who have the freedom to innovate and try new things so that we can stay at the forefront of the research and development agenda. We want to support and give more back to the communities where we work. These important initiatives sit within our newly launched BDP Academy of Design. People and community will always underpin the need for development. There is huge opportunity for our range of skills, talent and projects, and for us to establish for ourselves our own definition of social value to support our founding vision and values.


DISRUPT, INNOVATE, DO! Architect associate and winner of the RIBAJ Rising Star 2018, Kieren Majhail, sets out her manifesto for constructive change


“ Kieren Majhail has a vision for change and the determination to make it happen.” RIBA Journal Rising Star Citation

Creative Disruption, Innovation and Doing; I believe these are the ingredients required for constructive change. They stem from the concept of Disruptive Innovation, a term normally used in relation to business markets. Creative disruption occurs when a smaller ‘something’ challenges a larger well established ‘something’ with a view to make a positive change. Innovation occurs when an alternative solution is proposed to improve or target that ‘something’. Doing occurs when thinkers proactively follow through with the initial challenge and subsequent proposal. My ten years at BDP have taught me the importance of collaboration and making connections, one of BDP’s founding principles. They are elements of the theory of Social Capital, which recognises the importance of personal and business networks, with a focus on the ‘social’ - the resource that belongs to no single person but rather to the whole. A social value theory emphasising the importance of people not individuals, it became popular in the late 1990s but was championed in

the early 1960s by our founder, George Grenfell Baines who said “The firm’s ethos is wider than any one person’s abilities or ambitions.” In my view Social Capital requires connections to be made on numerous levels; internally, externally, but also mentally. Internally, it promotes a greater sense of belonging within an organisation, enhancing collaboration between teams and an understanding of the greater whole. Externally, connections are key to nurturing partnerships and creating potential opportunities. Mental connections the thought process of connecting all the dots - are required to link the networks, contacts and opportunities to create something useful, provide social value and the opportunity to DO. So how best to connect the concept of Disruptive Innovation and the theory of Social Capital? I undertook to maximise BDP’s Social Capital utilising the strength, expertise, ambition and enthusiasm of everyone who works for BDP; to empower all staff from the ground up to reach out and forge connections, foster collaborations and promote the

great achievements of themselves and their colleagues. The idea was first developed and tested locally in Birmingham before being rolled out across the practice as the BDP Future Professionals Network. This is an interdisciplinary, company-wide initiative that puts its people first, giving everyone the opportunity to learn, collaborate, promote and innovate through the concept of Social Capital. It’s a unique business strategy that works in tandem with our formal marketing strategy, a more natural, organic approach that relies on all the different skills and characters of the practice to promote what we do through collaborative events, CPD and social media. At the same time it provides a very important and socially valuable internal engine of support, nurturing, sharing and learning. The BDP Future Professionals Network was launched at this year’s graduate conference with studio networks to be established over the coming months, to eventually form the larger BDP wide vehicle. Get involved! Disrupt, Innovate, Do!




By looking to the universe together we can reshape how we see the world

Our designs for Dubai Expo UK Pavilion take visitors on an intuitive sensory journey

Responding to the UK’s theme of ‘innovating for a shared future’, our concept uses a strong sculptural form in combination with a rich sensory experience to take visitors on a unique and intuitive journey. Just as astronomers use multiple telescopes to piece together an understanding of the universe, visitors can enjoy a multi-layered experience inspired by astrophysics to engage with the UK’s role in space exploration, and understand how innovations in technology are helping to answer some of the biggest questions in the universe, enhance our lives and inform a more sustainable future. The structure of the pavilion, its strong vertical elements leading to deep curving paths, compresses visitors’ views and distorts their sense of scale and perspective. The surfaces of the walls are pixelated to express the edges of space, or stars which solidify and condense as they draw visitors in towards its centre, while a soundscape encourages movement reinforced with light and music. A central globular space provides a

point of perspective on our place in the universe. We have designed the world’s first full 360° spherical projection environment using visual data derived from space satellites such as Gaia, from which UK scientists recently modelled a map of over a billion stars. A large transparent floor gives the impression of floating in deep space and visitors will appear to orbit Earth, looking upwards and around at the rest of the universe, whilst below they see the Earth, our home. A vast hidden sculptural dish is finally revealed at the heart of the pavilion. Open to the sky and space above, its volume references the Lovell telescope at Jodrell Bank, our collaborators on the project. One end of the dish is a pure and curvaceous form, whilst the other diverges to form a large stepped terrace. It offers an entirely unique experience, encouraging people to lie back and enjoy the sky, the stars, space itself. Contemplative and extraordinary, it is a place like no other - a haven for EXPO crowds.


National Army Museum Previous winner GGB Award 2017


GGB Awards 2018

Professor Sir George Grenfell Baines Keep on getting better

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the GGB Awards 2018 3





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“ However functional or minimal the design gets, it should be rooted in humanity and how people live.” Alvar Aalto

THE FINALISTS This year five finalists were selected from a longlist of ten entries. Every project visited was judged to be of extremely high quality, displaying design innovation and reflecting creative conversations with each respective client. KEY CRITERIA Each finalist was selected for its beautifully simple approach to design, where integrated thinking reflected a clear understanding of people, place and time. PEOPLE How well does the design respond to the opportunity of the activities? PLACE How well does the design respond to the opportunity of the site? TIME How well does the design utilise modern methods to enhance the design, construction and operation? Together, do they combine the functional with the experiential to tell a clear and compelling story?

JUDGES’ COMMENTS 1. Xi’an Jiaotong Liverpool University, Suzhou A major new academic and research community inspired by the beauty of Suzhou’s famous Classical Gardens. A diverse mix of faculty buildings is organised around a new city park and new urban routes which encourage social exchange and cross discipline working. 2. Mulberry Park Community Hub, Bath A new building typology brings together community facilities, primary school, nursery and flexible, multiuse space. Composed of interlocking rectilinear elements, with coloured brick and perforated metal adding variety and texture. 3. Ordsall Chord, Manchester A hugely significant piece of infrastructure and distinctive new form in the city skyline. Stephenson’s pioneering heritage elements have been restored and public routes to the river created. The bridge supports an extra 700 trains per day, reducing congestion by 25%.

4. Westgate, Oxford An essay in large scale urban design integrates major new buildings into the historic grain of the city centre. New routes and spaces connect pedestrian movement through the city, culminating in a spectacular public roof terrace offering views across the iconic ‘dreaming spires’. 5. Marr College, Troon A clever exposition of new meets old, historic Marr College has been revitalised through the intervention of new build elements. A glass winter garden connects the original stone building with new teaching and learning spaces.

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The Ordsall Chord has set a benchmark for future city infrastructure projects. The judges were impressed by the level of care and creativity that has resulted not only in a beautiful new city landmark, but has also transformed travel in the region and re-established the birthplace of the modern railway.

The pedestrian experience has been greatly enhanced by affording access to historically significant structures and new public spaces, carefully conceived, detailed and lit and will continue to provide pleasure for generations to come.

The Winner Ordsall Chord, Manchester BEST DESIGNED PLACE



This year the judges considered Xi’an Jiaotong Liverpool University, Suzhou worthy of a Highly Commended Award, as an exemplar for innovation through collaboration. The project was designed across several of our studios, illustrating truly international working from concept to delivery and demonstrates our world leading expertise in university campus design.


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This year there are two winners. David Barbour’s photograph of Westgate Oxford was selected for the way it successfully captures detail, form and shadow. Paul Karalius’ photograph of Ordsall Chord juxtaposes grand infrastructure with the pedestrian experience.




A tableau of sketches and study model tell the story behind the genesis of the award winning Ordsall Chord.

The Ordsall Chord Concept Development







The art of drawing is a fundamental tool for us as designers to communicate our ideas clearly, to our clients and the people who use the places we create. The BDP Drawing Prize is a new initiative which champions design quality through the art of creative representation. A beautiful image is incredibly captivating and we want to celebrate and encourage the importance of visual communication to tell a clear and compelling story. Congratulations to 2018’s winner: Benjamin Connell, an architect based in our London studio. The judges were challenged but strangely drawn in by the dystopian vision, its vertical axis and light. A big thank you to the judges who were impressed by the volume of entries, submitted from every studio. There is a great wealth of talent across the practice! An accompanying book has been published containing drawings selected from over 500 works submitted and is available in our studios.

The Winner Benji Connell




Highlights of the year 1







JANUARY—MARCH JANUARY —Sue Emms presents for a Women in Architecture panel discussion on working in the northern powerhouse, which we host in our Manchester studio. [1] —Success for our Sheffield studio/DLP Planning team who win the Women in Property Netball competition. [2] —Alistair Kell is a speaker at BIM Expo presenting on digital construction. —London studio hosts a visit by students from Christ’s School and Orleans Park School interested in careers in architecture and engineering, collaborating with the Kingston and Richmond Education Business Partnership. FEBRUARY —Neil Cadenhead joins a high-profile government delegation touring India to represent UK healthcare design capabilities. [4] —Our engineers have a double win at the CIBSE Awards with Building Performance Consultancy of Year and Commercial/Industrial Project of Year for Enterprise Centre, University of Norwich. [5]

—Mark Ridler presents The World’s a Stage at the annual Surface Design Show. —Colin Ball and the lighting team create an interactive artwork installation for E-Luminate Cambridge based on Women Writing History. During the festival Colin also presents Red and Blue at the Cambridge Union. [3] MARCH —We celebrate International Women’s Day this month with Yuli Cadney-Toh presenting her career for RIBA Women in Architecture in Bristol, Kathryn Tombling and Ruth Atkinson acting as mentors for a Women Leaders event at RIBA in London and Svetlana Solomonova speaking at an RIBA Midlands evening. —The refurbished National Army Museum wins the Selwyn Goldsmith Award at Civic Trust Awards where Blackburn Meadows Biomass also wins. [6] —We attend MIPIM in Cannes with our team spread between the London, Manchester and Liverpool stands. —We host the RIBA Journal MacEwen Award lunch which recognises projects of social value.

—London studio hosts a lively public debate on gentrification with Anna Sinnott on the panel and chaired by Austin Williams, Future Cities Project. —Our engineers are recognised for their work on National Gallery of Ireland refurbishment when the project wins Public and Heritage Building at Irish Excellence Awards. —Birmingham studio hosts Building Brum, held in Birmingham Cathedral, a debate on the current housing crisis. Mark Braund joins the panel of expert speakers. —Elliott Crossley presents on digital construction at the BIM Europe conference in Barcelona. [7]










APRIL—JUNE APRIL —We sponsor the annual AUDE conference taking place at University of Kent. [1] —Simeon Shtebunaev launches the youth manifesto at the Commonwealth Association of Planners and Architects. [2] —The Allam Medical Building at University of Hull wins the Buildings that Inspire category at the Guardian University Awards. —Colin Ball presents for the ILP’s How to be Brilliant series and at Share 2018 in Belgrade. —Chris Harding presents at the International Educational Conference in Chengdu. MAY —The regional awards season gets off to a good start with RICS and RIBA wins for One Angel Square, RIBA for Brunel Building, Southmead and BCO Highly Commended for Bright Building at Manchester Science Park. —Kieren Majhail organises a cross institute event in Birmingham to promote diversity in the built environment and Yuli Cadney-Toh joins the expert panel of speakers.

—Boxpark Croydon wins the Most Innovative Food and Beverage Concept at the Global RLI Awards. [3] —London studio takes part in Clerkenwell Design Week with an exhibition of the CASS BA furniture and product design show open to the public. —Alder Hey Children’s Hospital wins Building of the Decade in the public vote for Insider NW Property Awards. —The whole practice takes part in World Baking Day raising over £1,151 for our combined charities. — Liesl from the Rotterdam studio, President of Nippon Koei Mr Arimoto and Managing Executive Officer Mr Tsuyusaki from Nippon Koei visited the innovative Armada Housing project in Den Bosch 10 years after completion. [4] JUNE —Our urbanism team celebrates winning Award for Design Excellence for the Maldon District Design Guide at Planning Awards and winning Landscape Architecture Practice of the Year at Horticulture Week Business Awards.

—We host Identi-Kucha, a light hearted public debate organised by Rachel Birchmore and Emma Keyte for LFA. Kathryn Tombling joins the panel to explore whether practice names matter. —We open our Singapore studio with Jeremy Farrington and Andrew Loke taking part in the traditional pineapple rolling to bring good luck. [5] —Mark Simpson wins the Henry Pugh Outstanding Achievement at Mixology Awards. [6] —The Ordsall Chord team wins Major Project award from the Royal Academy of Engineering. —Alistair Kell presents AI and the Internet of Things at Createch. —Phil Gray joins a Mix Round Table discussing sustainability in the built environment. —Our engineers celebrate International Women in Engineering Day with a networking event in London studio and a school competition. [7] —Louise Taylor wins Student Future Architect of Year at the Manchester Architecture Awards and Bright Building wins the Commercial Built Category. [8]








JULY—SEPTEMBER JULY —Gavin Elliott chairs the annual Manchester Climate Change Conference and Phil Gray chairs Islington Sustainable Future AGM. [1] —London studio hosts the Blueprint for the Future awards which sees nine architectural schools paired with nine design brands in an exciting exhibition trail through Clerkenwell. —Michelle McDowell is one of the 100 pioneering women of the 21st century featured in Anita Corbin’s First Women exhibition at the Royal College of Art. —Organised by our LGBT+ group we host the first Pride Glitterball in association with IALD, Zumtobel and RIBA’s Architecture LGBT+, to promote inclusivity in the design and construction industries. [3] —In a sporting month London directors beat the staff team at softball and Manchester studio’s cricketers triumph over the Sheffield team in the annual Cartmell Cup. [4]

AUGUST —Manchester studio supports Manchester Pride and decorates the studio with rainbow coloured ribbons inside and out. [2] —Intensive training for our Manchester and Sheffield cycling team who take on the challenge of the Deloitte Ride Across Britain next month from Land’s End to John O’Groats. [5] SEPTEMBER —Our engineers join a collaborative team of over 40 people working on Cavendish III taking on this year’s 24 hour National Three Peaks Challenge. —Kevin Kelly presents our ongoing work at Royal Albert Hall for the Structural Waterproofing Conference in Warwick. [6] —Ordsall Chord wins Construction Integration award and Merrion House wins Project Construction at the IStructE NW Structural awards. —Adam Bradshaw presents Cavendish III at the S-Lab conference in Bristol.

—The Well, Toronto wins the Canadian award at International Property Awards. —For this year’s Open House London Mehron Kirk and Rebecca Ellis guide tours around Beckenham Place Park and National Army Museum.











OCTOBER—DECEMBER OCTOBER —Success again for Ordsall Chord with wins at Structural Steel Design Awards and Great Manchester Chamber of Commerce. [1] —Michelle McDowell is invited to give the keynote address at the opening of the Queen’s Building at University of Bristol. [2] —Vicky Casey presents strategic hospital design for this year’s IHEEM Healthcare Estates conference in Manchester. —Remi Phillips-Hood is invited to Downing Street to meet the Prime Minister as one of the UK’s top 100 students of African/Caribbean heritage. [5] —Yuli Cadney-Toh and Nick Fairham attend Bristol Housing Festival launching our concept Gap House and presenting on homes for a sustainable future. —Jeremy Sweet, Alex Masheder and Garry Wilding are invited to meet HM The Queen and talk about our design for The Lexicon, Bracknell when she makes an official visit. [3] —Westgate Oxford wins Commercial Property Project at BCI Awards. —Chris Lowe presents at PLDC in Singapore.

NOVEMBER —Our design for the UK Pavilion for Expo 2020 in Dubai is one of the shortlisted entries exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum for an international trade reception. —Birmingham studio wins West Midlands Architectural Practice of the Year. —Our retail team head to Cannes to exhibit at this year’s MAPIC conference. —We have our second consecutive win in the annual Teambuild Future Leaders competition with our interdisciplinary team collaborating with a project manager from MACE. This is the fifth time a BDP team has won the cross-disciplinary construction competition. [4] —Kieren Majhail is announced as a RIBA Journal Rising Star at a reception at the Bloomberg building. —Waid Academy wins Project of the Year at Education Buildings Scotland awards. —We sponsor the Architectural Writer of the Year category at the IBP Journalism awards, won by Ike Ijeh of Building magazine.

—Our popular two day graduate conference takes place in Manchester for graduates from around the practice to collaborate and network. DECEMBER —The Ordsall Chord team celebrates winning the Infrastructure category at the AJ Architecture Awards. —Our planners host the Women in Planning Christmas event in London studio with a presentation from Tessa O’Neill. —Success for the retail team at Revo Gold Awards with wins for Meadowhall in Re:fresh category and Westgate in Re:new. —We contribute to the Museum of Architecture’s Gingerbread City exhibition at the Victoria and Albert museum with our model of a Uni-Beurresity campus for an imaginary city of the future. [6] —Colin Ball and Richard Grove present Resonance at the KTH Light Symposium in Stockholm. [7] —The lighting team collaborates with L&L Luce Light on Ouuuuuu, a seasonal installation combining art and technology at Darc Awards. [8]

A message from the Chief Executive

In last year’s Annual Review I stated that the practice had aspirations to become more international, more diverse in our geographic coverage and less concentrated in terms of leadership spread. I am delighted to say that we have realised those ambitions over the last 12 months by opening up new and exciting avenues of opportunity in two of the world’s most important business, financial and cultural capitals. In May 2018 we formally opened the doors of our new Singapore studio and we expect this to not only accelerate the development of BDP’s traditional sector expertise in South East Asia but also to further the extent of our project collaborations in the region with our partners in Nippon Koei. We are confident that BDP’s ‘Asian Triangle’ of studios in Singapore, Shanghai and New Delhi will provide a stable platform to expand the practice’s activities in the world’s fastest-growing economic area. We have also just announced a very significant development for BDP in North America. In February 2019 we confirmed a strategic investment in Toronto-based Quadrangle, one of Canada’s most respected architecture and interior design practices. Quadrangle will become fully integrated within the BDP group and will lead the practice’s Canadian operations and North American expansion. The addition of a 200-strong studio in North America’s fourth largest city will not only provide exceptional opportunities for our people but it will enable both BDP and Quadrangle to expand our services into new sectors and regions. Our two practices enjoy a similarly collaborative and supportive office culture and a passion for design excellence as a means of creating better human environments. We are particularly excited about the prospect of developing these synergies between our practices in Toronto. Canada’s largest city has always been in the mix at the top of various global rankings and its global profile and performance clearly shows that a strong economy can co-exist very happily alongside a high quality of life. Despite the uncertainties surrounding Brexit which continue to dominate the political landscape, the UK remains our strongest marketplace and is forecast to deliver over 70% of our income over the next three year cycle. While our full interdisciplinary appointment for the restoration and renewal of the Palace of Westminster is the jewel in the crown of recent UK commissions, we have also had recent major successes in the education, retail, healthcare and workplace sectors resulting in a 10% increase in our UK-based income over the last 12 months. In addition, we believe that there is considerable scope for us to increase our share of the transportation and housing sectors across all regions of the UK. As BDP continues to grow and prosper, we strive to deliver strong, consistent financial performance which not only sustains the long term growth of the practice but which benefits staff through our all-employee profit sharing scheme. After profit sharing allocations, the operating profit of the practice for the year ended on 30 June 2018 was £8.7 million on a turnover of £87.7 million. This represents a 14.1% increase in operating profit and an 8.1% increase in turnover over the previous year’s results. This performance enabled us to make excellent employee profit share distributions and to make significant further investments in our office premises and IT technologies.

Succession planning and continuity of leadership is fundamental to the ongoing success and performance of any business and BDP has a unique and particular strength in providing absolute continuity of governance for the firm across generations. In this respect we were delighted to invite Sue Emms, Nick Fairham and Simon Riley to become principals of BDP on 1 July 2018. All three have already excelled in their current roles within the practice and we are confident that their guidance and direction will enhance and maintain the continuing good performance of the practice for years to come. We have also made seven more appointments at director level: architects Frank Loehner, Lindsey Mitchell, Kate Sanders and Mihalis Walsh, sustainability consultant Philip Gray, interior designer Sheela Shukla and building services engineer Simon Thurstan. This has been another excellent year for the practice and we continue to make progress in forging new and exciting international alliances. We will continue to develop our outreach in the UK and beyond over the course of the next year, providing opportunity and growth for everyone in the practice. We have a number of initiatives in train which will strengthen and consolidate the practice’s position in the global community of design consultancies. We believe these initiatives will take the practice to new levels of activity and influence and will offer many benefits to our staff and clients. While we hope that the uncertainty surrounding Brexit eventually dissipates and that some semblance of normality returns to the UK market next year, we are nevertheless very optimistic about the practice’s current pipeline of firm work and of the many opportunities which are being pursued by our teams across locations, sectors and professions. Partnership and excellence of service are both a philosophy and a way of life within BDP. We constantly attempt to deepen our understanding of our clients’ operations in order to foster long-term and sustainable partnerships with our customers that enhance the quality of our service and of the resultant built product. I am passionate about BDP and I am optimistic that one of the great strengths of this practice is our culture of collective responsibility. This culture will continue to drive the practice towards a brighter and more successful future; a dynamic and energetic organisation better placed to respond to the diverse needs of our clients and markets across the globe, with opportunities for growth, expansion and excellence across all of our locations and sectors. As a practice we have always sought to bring value to our clients and that remains our central ambition. John McManus Chief Executive

Architecture Acoustics Building Services Engineering Civil & Structural Engineering Design Management Interior Design Landscape Architecture Lighting Masterplanning Modelmaking Planning Consultancy Sustainability Urban Design Visualisation Wayfinding

cover: Centre for Creative Learning, Francis Holland School, London

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The Big Conversation 2019