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Welcome to BDP 2015: Creativity This year we focus on the theme of creativity, a subject about

which we are passionate. As an integral part of the design process, creativity informs everything done by everybody in BDP. It defines our design output and is what fires up our people.

In this publication, a variety of approaches to the creative process

is explored through a series of thought pieces written by a range of contributors from across BDP. The pieces are illustrated by some of our current and recently completed projects. We also celebrate the George Grenfell Baines Award, named in honour of the founder of our firm, and given to BDP’s best completed building of the year. We hope you enjoy reading it. www.bdp.com Follow us on Twitter:



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CREATIVITY & TECHNOLOGY Chairman’s Introduction




Britain is buzzing Thought Piece 2








Landscape Architect Associate

Architect Director

David is an architect and BDP’s

Director, Architecture and Head of Healthcare

Enthusiastic about the role of

Chair, Civil and Structural Engineering

chairman. Responsible for giving

Andrew is chair of our northern

James jointly leads the

Lighting Director, Chair of Lighting With years of experience

Michelle, a well known industry

direction to the firm, both as

studios and leads the practice’s

landscape team in the north

architecture in delivering a better and brighter sustainable future,

figure, chairs our civil and

a business and creatively, he

work in the healthcare sector. He

of England and is currently

in theatre and architecture

Mark is also working on the UK

and recently named Lighting

structural engineering group

is dedicated to developing the

is responsible for designing and

providing expertise for the UK

Pavilion and has completed

and has been responsible for

practice internationally.

delivering some of the country’s

Pavilion at the Milan Expo 2015

Designer of the Year, Mark

- a true collaboration between

many award winning projects

leads our lighting profession

many of its award winning and

landscape and art.

from our Manchester studio.

and is a leading force in

high profile projects.

most prestigious new hospitals.


The Learned Game Thought Piece 3




Building a recovery Thought Piece 5



international lighting design.


Scientific Connections Thought Piece 7


Developing a personality for the workplace – and Y? Thought Piece 8






Architect Director

Architect Director

Interior Design Director

Chief Executive

Garry is passionate about retail

Responsible for delivering some

Director, Architecture and Head of Workplace

A well regarded industry figure,

John is the first architect to

architecture and design. Having

of our most innovative and

Graham leads our workplace

Mark is a design director in

become BDP’s chief executive.

worked on large scale shopping

award winning schools, Sue

sector and is responsible for

our London studio and has

A graduate of the Mackintosh

centres in China he has

leads interdisciplinary teams

some of our national BCO

responsibility across our

School of Architecture, he is

particular experience in working

on a range of projects and is

award winning projects. He

workplace and retail work to

based in Glasgow and has led

overseas and the challenges of

our education sector advisor for

has strengthened the sector

promote the highest level of

many of our major projects.

northern England.

internationally and is currently

design and creativity.

the processes involved.




GGB AWARDS 2014 Entries





leading our biggest workplace project for AstraZeneca.

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hilst new technologies empower creativity, they can never

Whilst new technologies such as BIM have a radical effect on many

replace it. They enable the designers of buildings and

aspects of the way in which we design buildings and the ability

spaces to realise increasingly complex concepts over ever

to improve greatly the capability and efficiency of construction activities, there are some things which don’t change.

shorter timescales but they do not have the ability to provide the vital spark of inspiration needed to create architecture and, probably, they never will.

This year, the theme of our review is ‘Creativity’ – an intrinsically human process because in this respect, the computer cannot take the place of the human brain, especially that of the gifted designer.

The rate of change in so many walks of life nowadays is

amazing but, in the technological world, it seems to be accelerating exponentially with each passing year. This means the future is simultaneously incredibly exciting and a little terrifying. Perhaps apprehension increases with age - in itself a good reason why organisations like BDP need to be constantly reinvigorated by recruiting and promoting the best and brightest young talent. Nevertheless, some chariness is understandable. After all, the switch from 2D to 3D representation of our designs through BIM (Building Information Modelling) has been more fundamental than was the

Furthermore in my experience there is still no digital substitute for

transition from drawing board to computer screen which preceded it

a hand-drawn sketch, especially in the early conceptual stages of a

25 years ago. Furthermore, a review of the planned future levels of

project. For the architect and engineer, the computer presents not

the BIM process to 2050 makes the progress achieved to date seem

a threat but an opportunity offering wonderful new possibilities in

pedestrian by comparison.

many different directions. Deep Blue may have defeated a chess

Grand Master but a computer will never produce great (or even

BDP is proud to be at the forefront of the BIM revolution. As

members of a select group of professional and academic institutions,

modest) architecture because it cannot be programmed to have that

major contracting organisations and key players in the IT world

vital creative spark of inspiration.

amongst others, we are responsible for determining future national

strategy. However, this would count for little if we didn’t practise

firm’s five core values (see the penultimate page of this publication).

what we preach. The good news here is that all new projects in each

Our interdisciplinary teams comprise a wide variety of professions

of our locations are now being addressed using BIM technology

with expertise across a range of different sectors operating from

whenever possible. To maximise the benefits, BIM requires an

locations across the world. For them all, creativity (enhanced by

integrated approach by all the professional disciplines associated

technology) is a common characteristic. Examples of a few of the

with the design of the built environment. Our interdisciplinary nature

ways in which this is happening, happily with greater frequency this

means that we are particularly well positioned to take advantage of

year as the firm gets busy once again, are contained within this

the latest technology and be leaders in establishing the new working

review. I hope you enjoy reading it.

Creativity lies at the heart of everything in BDP and is one of the

AstraZeneca’s new Global R&D Centre and Corporate Headquarters BIM model

methods which flow from that. C R E AT I V I T Y –



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Southmead Hospital, Bristol

ANdrew smith

Modern medicine is miraculous.

There are understandable reasons for this. It is very easy for an organisation procuring a hospital to be overwhelmed by scale,


ts ubiquity in the developed world masks its extraordinary

complexity and the need for efficiency and cost effectiveness. The

and ever increasing ability to save lives and cure painful and

resulting hospital buildings can still treat patients’ conditions but

debilitating conditions. Its synthesis of care and science

ultimately fail to lift their spirits.

represents one of humanity’s highest achievements, yet many of

There is a need for spaces which allow caring health professionals

the buildings which house modern medicine do not reflect the noble

to help patients come to terms with their illnesses, the processes

endeavour undertaken within them.

that they must undergo and their feelings about them - an issue

acknowledged and addressed by the objectives of the Maggie’s Centres movement.

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Tobias Rehberger binary clock sculpture

A new generation of hospital projects is making more overt attempts to address this need. BDP has achieved this by designing a portfolio of hospitals in response to the needs of the individual patient, visitor and member of staff. An experiential approach of ‘how will it feel?’ rather than a more conventional architectural perspective of ‘what will it look like?’ or ‘how will it work?’ Such an approach permeates every aspect of our designs, engendering a sense of place, from the macro level of the city to the micro level of the individual room.

It begins before the patient even reaches the building. Rather

than being isolated from the city, hospitals should be part of them seamlessly integrated into their routes, spaces and vistas. They need to be true civic buildings, reflecting their community’s pride in them and their staff.

Patients attending hospital are already feeling anxious about their

health so the building design shouldn’t exacerbate matters by making it difficult to find the entrance. It should actively ease the process of arrival and navigation with the provision of vehicular and pedestrian circulation scaled more akin to that of an airport or train station. Simple wayfinding clues in the layout of the site and the form of the building should lead people intuitively to their destination.

The experience of staying in hospital can be very isolating.

Hospitals, therefore, need to be designed so that patients perceive that they are still part of life, maintaining physical and visual contact with the outside world and with opportunities for social interaction encouraged within the building. Spaces of varying scales and building elements which maximise openness and transparency allow patients to see staff and, when they want, to see other patients. Staff equally need to see one another as they move around the building and in restaurant settings to promote team cohesion and the cross fertilisation of ideas between staff, students and researchers. Southmead Hospital, Bristol



Conversely at other points in their hospital stay patients may want privacy. This applies particularly in the ward environment where the provision of single bedrooms can fundamentally change the sense of ownership of space so that the bedroom belongs to the patient rather than the hospital and staff are encouraged to ask whether it is convenient to enter. Patients can feel at their most vulnerable during the transfers to and from surgery and typically will not wish to be observed by the public at that time. This can be achieved with a carefully interlaced design for the hospital’s circulation to separate public, patient and logistics flows, simultaneously supporting flexibility and security.

A sense of claustrophobia associated with being trapped inside

a very big hospital building is a potential consequence of the large plan area which many hospitals cover. Consequently hospital buildings need to be articulated as a series of individual linked elements that function efficiently, and allow daylight to flood into public, patient and staff spaces.

Recovery and a sense of wellbeing need to be supported by the

ability to sleep whilst staying in hospital. One of the most frequent obstacles to this is the level of noise from mechanical ventilation, equipment alarms and the conversations of staff and other patients. It is therefore essential to achieve a quiet acoustic environment, through space planning, acoustic insulation and absorption.

Hospitals are traditionally associated with unpleasant disinfectant

smells. Whilst effective infection control measures remain crucial,

Llanfrechfa Grange, Wales

the engineering design needs to achieve a fresh air ambience in the heart of the building. In bedrooms, patients should have the autonomy of control over their environment either through mechanical or natural ventilation.

Although the provision of healthcare is a very serious business,

hospitals benefit from elements that are just for fun such as art programmes and mega-graphics which amuse and distract patients when they are bored and anxious.

Hospitals need to be much more than machines for treating; they need to be real places of healing, a synthesis of patient focused care and patient centred design, which save lives and help make life more worth living for everyone they touch.

Llanfrechfa Grange Walled Garden, Wales

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Alder Hey Children’s Health Park wayfinding, Liverpool

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UK Pavilion Milan Expo 2015


2 ContributorS:

James Millington & Mark Braund


he ‘Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations’ was held in London in 1851 and is universally recognised as the first modern World Expo as well as the first exhibition of

manufactured products. Since that inaugural event, the purpose of the Expo has evolved to provide a platform for countries to showcase their talent, promote trade and investment across the world, offer a glimpse into the future through ideas and innovation and offer a great day out.

At the 2010 Expo in Shanghai, Thomas Heatherwick created

the Seed Cathedral for the UK pavilion which attracted 6.5 million visitors, won the BIE Gold Award for best pavilion design and attracted international acclaim. This year in Milan, the latest chapter in the history of the World Expo will be written with the theme ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’. Following our successful design of the Liverpool Pavilion for the Shanghai Expo in 2010, BDP will once again be part of

Wolfgang’s work is the creation of public and private space through

this prestigious event, working alongside the internationally acclaimed

sculptural intervention. From his Nottingham studio he has developed

artist Wolfgang Buttress to design the UK pavilion.

skills in metalwork and welding which enable him to realise his multiaward winning iconic landmark sculptures.

The pavilion explores both the parallels and intrinsic relationship

between bees and humans including the current decline in the honeybee population and its significance in food production. The intention is to create an experience which is visceral and immersive. Visitors will be taken on a journey through British landscape typologies – an orchard, an undulating wildflower meadow, a piazza and a roof terrace – before arriving at the focal point of the pavilion, a huge sculptural beehive. At this point, visitors will be enveloped by pulsating lights and sounds generated from signals transmitting the movement and bee language within real beehives.

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Favourite place you visited this year

Favourite place you visited this year

Paris in Spring. There’s no better place to spend

I’ve managed to do a bit of travelling this year

your 10 year Wedding Anniversary.

to different places in Europe, with a fair few of those trips out to Stockholm. One of the

On entering the orchard to a soundscape of bees humming within British apple trees, visitors will pass into an enclosed space which

Favourite person you have worked

highlights was a cycling tour with the team to

with this year

revisit for myself Sigurd Lewerentz’s famous

I’d have to say Wolfgang Buttress. You can’t

church in Stockholm, a masterpiece in the use

help but feel better about life when you spend

of natural and artificial light and the use of

time with him. He’s Mr Cool personified!

brick – well worth a visit.

Professional highlight of the year

Favourite person you have worked

Being instrumental in winning the UK Pavilion

with this year

competition alongside Wolfgang and his

There have been quite a few this year. Working

team. It really is a collaboration between art,

with Vinci on St John Bosco has been a great

architecture and landscape.

experience of a successful design team and main contractor team relationship; working with Stage

references a traditional beehive. This contains the reception, live video feeds from hives and a glimpse of the journey beyond. Visitors then move on into a gently undulating wildflower meadow evoking the rolling hills of the English countryside. From here, the hive presents itself glistening like a beacon on the horizon imitating the sun which enables all life on earth. Multiple paths represent the orienteering ‘waggle dance’ of the bee so that visitors are free to explore and navigate their own journeys accompanied by the

Personal highlight of the year

One on the UK pavilion has been an interesting

Celebrating 10 years of marriage to my

experience of working with a highly specialist

gorgeous wife Rebecca. Time flies when you’re

exhibition contractor with different processes

having fun…and bringing up two young

to get to the end result. I think collaborating

children, and moving house (twice), and taking

with the artist Wolfgang Buttress has been the

over jointly leading the landscape team in the

highlight with a fantastic departure from the

Manchester office, and...

norm on the design process for the UK Pavilion.

continuing sound of bees passing overhead. Professional highlight of the year Working on the UK Pavilion is a once in a

An open piazza acts as a counterpoint to the controlled paths of the meadow, allowing visitors to pass directly under the hive whilst the sounds intensify. Steps lead up to a rooftop terrace containing a canopied long bar. From here one enters the hive itself to complete the bee’s journey.

lifetime experience (probably) and a great step up from the design of the Liverpool Shanghai Pavilion at the last Expo. Hopefully this vein of work is something that I can continue with as it’s a really interesting experience developing new skills in delivering something temporary, high quality, on a tight budget and programme. Personal highlight of the year The news of our next new addition to the family in the early new year!

Interior spaces below the roof terrace house VIP facilities, back of house space, a conference room and internal exhibition space. Unlike previous UK pavilions, the intention for 2015 is to create an essentially quiet and contemplative experience which says much through as little as possible. C R E AT I V I T Y –



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The Avenues, Kuwait THOUGHT PIECE




When our eyes our open, our vision accounts for two-thirds of the electrical activity of the brain and, overwhelmingly, it is the most important sense in understanding our surrounding environment. All vision is dependent upon light emitted from a source, reflected from a surface and received by our eye. It sounds obvious but

“Architecture is the learned game, correct and magnificent, of forms assembled in the light.”

it means that without light all architecture is robbed of form and materiality – it is literally

Le Corbusier Vers une Architecture [Towards an Architecture] (1923)

rendered invisible. Light is therefore the invisible bond between the human being and its surrounding. But this is not only a physical bond but an emotional and spiritual one too. Thinking about some of the words that have been used for millennia to describe light: warm, cold, dramatic, stark, soft – they are all metaphors for emotional response.

This is why aesthetics are

so important in lighting design because it is the subjective that evokes that emotional response. There is no prescriptive method of coming to a design, and there are as many ways of lighting space as there are clients and architects.


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THE LEARNED GAME Fashion gallery, V&A Museum, London


Atrium Showroom, London

MARK RIDLER Q&A Favourite place you visited this year Céret in the French Pyrénées. It is an atmospheric and beautiful sleepy town, full of art galleries and cafes shaded by enormous plane trees. At its heart is the wonderful Musée d’Art Moderne with works by Picasso, Chagall, Dufy and Dali. Favourite person you have worked with this year Tomislav Dushanov of Herzog & de Meuron is a talented architect with such a clear vision. It has been a delight to collaborate and share ideas with humour and gentleness, and together to achieve common goals. Professional highlight of the year Winning Lighting Designer of the Year in March. Personal highlight of the year Starting to become a mentor with the Backup Trust, a wonderful charity with a very personal connection.

Here are some of the rules of the game:

Work with natural light be it sun, an overcast sky, fire or the

moon. Daylight should always be the primary source of illumination but even when it is not available and we come to rely on artificial light, it is how the building works in natural light that gives the clues to how it can work at night. When possible we work with architects to help them craft the building to maximise the benefits of daylight.

Hide the source. We always strive to collaborate with our

partners in design to discover how to integrate and secrete; how to bounce light off and celebrate material. If the luminaires have to be in view then their appearance should enhance the space or work within the harmony of the architecture or interior decor.

Decide what not to light. Only through the manipulation of

light and shade can form be modelled and atmosphere created. Light is an invisible volume that facilitates activity and communication. At the heart of our work should be a profound understanding and concern for those that will eventually use, inhabit and encounter our designs. It is by serving these people, our ultimate clients, that our concepts become justified and defendable.

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We design in four dimensions. The nature of space changes from the heat of midday to the golden lowlight of dusk. So too does the use and function. Artificial light needs to follow and support this, respectful of the natural rhythms of the day and seasons.

It should be sensitive to context be it political, social, environmental,

historic or cultural – whether we aim to harmonise or counterpoint.

Lighting is an art but also a science. Technology is developing

exponentially and creating surprising opportunities. Creativity can be found in exploring new ways of deploying light and creating new products to solve problems found in application. But we should remember novelty is no substitute for quality in the service of our ultimate aims.

I see my work as a designer is having the opportunity to blend and balance these inspirations, to listen to our clients, collaborate with our design partners and anticipate the needs of those people that inhabit our work. It is an honour and a delight.

Trinity Leeds

Manchester Town Hall Library

Maggie’s Culture Crawl, Rocca Gallery, London

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Brown Hart Gardens, London

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Creating technically advanced spaces

underground and heavy traffic and designed the structure to

Creating inspiring and collaborative environments inspires scientists

create ideal conditions in which scientists can operate their highly

to push the boundaries of their research. Our engineers need to

sensitive equipment. On AstraZeneca’s new Global R&D Centre

understand the science being undertaken in the building to create

and Corporate Headquarters, our challenge was to achieve Herzog

the right environment. At the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, we

& de Meuron’s inspirational architectural vision incorporating 8m

are creating the Pears Building, a world-class research institute, with

cantilevers and still create the necessary structural robustness for

Hopkins Architects. We used specialist finite element modelling to

the scientists to carry out their research. We did this through intense

predict vibration from external sources such as the London

structural optioneering, testing and refinement.

4 Contributor:


“Creativity is like genius – one percent inspiration, ninety-nine perspiration.”


here’s a spark alright - there has to be. But then the work begins. Great structural engineering needs great creative ideas realised through a great deal of dedicated and detailed

hard work.

AstraZeneca’s new Global R&D Centre and Corporate Headquarters, Cambridge with Herzog & de Meuron C R E AT I V I T Y –

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Pears Building, London with Hopkins Architects C R E AT I V I T Y –

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MICHELLE MCDOWELL Q&A Enterprise Centre, University of East Anglia

Favourite place you visited this year Kingham food fair in the Cotswolds - the very best of local produce all set on an idyllic village green on a hot sunny day.

Efficient and affordable steel frame design The dramatic triangular form of Enterprise South Liverpool Academy was inspired not only by the shape of the site but by our engineers working with the architect to avoid deep buried services. The ground was highly contaminated but our engineers used ground modelling and capping techniques to create new sports pitches and avoid the disposal of material off site.

Favourite person you have worked with this year

We drove a rational structural grid to fit the complex plan of the

building and used steel trusses up to 31m long to support the roof and create the dramatic heart space.

My team - they are hard-working, highly motivated, exceptional engineers and technicians. Professional highlight of the year Selected by Hopkins as engineers to work on the world-class Pears Building at the Royal Free

The award winning building has received much critical acclaim and praise from both staff and pupils at the school.

in Hampstead.

Taking sustainability to the next level We love a challenging brief – a world class building, an inspiring

Re-use of 1960/1970s buildings through radical structural intervention

workspace, a gateway to the university and the greenest building in

Bringing life back to buildings from the last century gives our

the UK. Our engineers worked with Architype architects to achieve

engineers real opportunity to innovate. At 60 Victoria Embankment

what has never been achieved before. A ‘materials map’, drawn at

overlooking the Thames, JP Morgan Chase wanted to modernise

100m radius around the site, assisted the team in selecting locally

by creating a large, column-free entrance space – only achievable

available materials including timber from Thetford Forest for the

by removing two primary columns supporting six storeys of the

structure and thatch for the cladding panels. The embodied energy

building above. Through extensive communication with the client,

of the finished building will be about 20% of that for a typical

comprehensive structural analysis and detailed construction

university building. The building is accredited by Professor Feist,

sequencing, we jacked the building and removed the columns.

founder of the Passivhaus movement.

Our client, who understood the complexity and magnitude of the

Personal highlight of the year Taking my three year old to the Moscow State Circus - he was mesmerised (and quiet!) for two whole hours.

engineering operation, stood shoulder to shoulder with us on site as it happened. And the result – a stunning column-free space.

60 Victoria Embankment, London

Enterprise South Liverpool Academy C R E AT I V I T Y –

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5 Contributor:



he retail market is perpetually evolving and retailers by nature need to be an adaptive breed. The internet market share is growing year on year and this

contributes to a more responsive and competitive retail landscape. One of the biggest issues facing the traditional retailer is how to compete with internet shopping, given the savings offered there through low overheads and large turnovers.

For new shopping centres as well as the high street, the challenge

is to produce an offer which exceeds the might of the internet. They need to raise the bar of the shopping experience so that not only are existing customers retained but new ones attracted.

Whilst it may be convenient to sit at home or on the bus ordering

your Christmas presents, doesn’t it lack something? You can’t touch, feel or try on clothes and, as a result, the return rate on fashion goods is 30-40%. This is frustrating for the consumer and expensive for the retailer. In terms of experience you cannot smell perfume or pine needles using your ipad, nor can you sense the excitement of fellow shoppers and, once you have completed your shop, you cannot go for a walk in the park, for a meal or to the cinema. In short, internet shopping is a lonely texture-less experience devoid of sensory stimulus.

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High street retailers need to capitalise on whatever advantages they

schemes because not only do they offer something unavailable

can offer. Beyond competitive pricing and more interesting shop-fits

through the internet but also increase dwell times and the periods of

there is a key element which is largely outside their control - a more

operation until late in the evening.

enticing and attractive built context for their stores to inhabit. This

is where our design skills and experience can make a real difference,

is crowned by an expansive restaurant and leisure terrace which will

generating a powerful allure and adding value through creativity and

take advantage of spectacular views over the dreaming spires of the


historic city. This will create a true destination within the city, day or

night, increasing its draw to a wider audience throughout a longer

In conceiving spectacular locations for these progressive retailers,

we are able to create true city destinations.

Westgate Oxford is a good example of this. The retail component

operational day. In Bracknell we have designed a series of buildings to re-establish the town centre. These will add variety thereby enlivening the

Environments which are carefully considered and beautifully designed, full of life, stimulus, energy and experience – crucially places which people want to visit.

townscape. They also enrich the visitor’s experience and, crucially,

refurbish an existing centre will be complete in 2015. Now Sweden’s

By incorporating restaurants, cinemas and other leisure activities

largest shopping centre, the new development has become the heart

within both city centre and out-of-town schemes, we are able to

of the local community. In addition to an internal square which has

create spectacular locations with the power to draw large numbers

been upgraded, the new shops and entrance address a major new

of people throughout the day and evening. Restaurants and leisure

public space surrounded by restaurants, offices and apartments.

aid orientation through improved legibility. An urban grain within the town is established through streets of varying scale and width. A key element of the scheme is a ‘restaurant lane’ with al fresco dining throughout the year. Covered by an elegant roof structure, this lane will transform perceptions of the town increasing its attractiveness. At Taby Centrum north of Stockholm, work on site to extend and

activities are increasingly important components of sustainable New Covent Garden Market, London

Westgate Oxford Edinburgh St James with Allan Murray Architects C R E AT I V I T Y –



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In China where competition for shopping time/money is fierce, further leisure elements are being incorporated into the arsenal of


distinctive attractions. Developers continue to demand the creation of unique retail places with a strong identity to set them apart

Favourite place you visited this year

from the competition. Besides the retail component, there will

Bantham Devon, spectacular landscape,

invariably be a diverse mix of uses ranging from hotels, office towers,

beautiful beach the perfect retreat and refresh

residential towers and complementary leisure uses. Fine dining

from London life.

experiences and fast food offers are increasingly a large component of the developments. As in other parts of the world, there is a move

Favourite person you have worked

to design places which complement and interact with internet

with this year

commerce through the use of technology and showcasing as is

Helen Moorhouse, a joy to work with, never

illustrated by our project at Taizhou.

cross even when people are late in supplying


Located next to the world’s largest convention centre in

Shanghai, the West Hongqiao Broadway masterplan is conceived as a unique retail, leisure and themed urban development. A

Professional highlight of the year

series of streets and open plaza spaces brings diversity, activity

Becoming an Associate Director.

and vibrancy to the commercial and leisure offer. In addition five theatres (including a 1200 seat auditorium) are located within the

Personal highlight of the year

scheme. These effectively act as anchors, encouraging movement

Teaching my three year old son to ride a bike,

of people from the adjoining metro and convention centre. Another

aside from the bumps and cuts.

strong design driver in the quest for a new concept is the re-adaption of historic buildings. Many developments evoke a sense of history by convincingly recreating the past as happens at Xin Tian Di in Shanghai and the Wide and Narrow Alleys in Chengdu. This is a design driver for our Nanjing Road project in Shanghai.

West Hongqiao Broadway, China

Nanjing Xianling, China

At the extreme end of the spectrum of Chinese retail destinations are places such as October Harbour in Shenzhen and our Nanjing

We are designing beautiful schemes which will challenge the allure of the internet so that people are drawn away from their screens and back into our town and city centres.

Xianling project. These are predominantly leisure related comprising restaurants, bars, a theatre and entertainment destinations with niche retail areas incorporated amongst them.

Many retailers have evolved their shops into showrooms. Their

goods are showcased and, interestingly, a lifestyle is established through interior spaces resembling stage sets which helps to develop brand loyalty. Customers view the goods, absorb the experience and then order their purchases online directly from the retailer’s website. The new city spaces we are designing create a perfect setting for a new breed of showroom shops.

In this increasingly optimistic market, there is a real sense

that once again we can push the boundaries of our imagination to conceive exceptional spaces. Our ideas are supported by a commercially savvy approach.

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6 Contributor:



he education sector is a changing landscape of diverging trends. Whilst the renewal and expansion of schools has shifted to a challenging low cost, prescriptive design approach,

we seem to be entering a golden age of capital investment in universities which offers the opportunity to transform teaching, learning and research on a global scale.

Higher education in the UK has experienced a monumental

change over the past five years with the advent of tuition fees and the decline in government grants. Next year, the cap on student numbers will be lifted, intensifying an already hugely competitive market and rising expectations of students. Universities are now investing and the impact on the construction industry will be significant. In May this year the country’s top (Russell Group) universities announced a £9 billion spending spree on new facilities over the next three years. This investment focuses on enhancing the student experience, providing world-class facilities for teaching and research and developing sustainable estates that can adapt to changing student numbers as well as hitting the HEFCE carbon reduction targets.

The masterplan for Liverpool John Moores University

rationalises their existing estate and relocates all key university activities within one compact, sustainable, city-centre campus. Whilst it will offer an exceptional student experience, it emphasises the university’s role in Liverpool’s future. This will be to provide an engine for economic growth, thereby impacting positively on society and the city’s cultural life.

Copperas Hill, Liverpool John Moores University

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We hear a lot about the student experience and the physical environment has a significant role to play in enhancing the experiences of both students and staff. Traditional university campuses used to be a collection of separate buildings for different activities but today we are seeing the emergence of new building typologies. The Copperas Hill Redevelopment for LJMU will provide a new heart to the campus housing the university’s library, student


union, student services, teaching and learning academy, sport, health and wellbeing facilities and retail and food outlets. Social learning

Cardiff and Vale College


spaces will bring together a diverse suite of activities, providing agile technologically-enabled and student-centred learning environments to

Favourite place you visited this year

offer a rich blend of experiences. This is a building with no boundaries

Rome - I’ve never been before and my husband

or domains; a building ‘owned by no-one, but used by everyone.’

arranged a surprise weekend away for a special birthday this year. The city works on so many levels; the mix of historic architecture and urban

With four UK universities within the world’s top ten research universities and more Nobel Prizes per capita than any other large nation, UK universities are also investing heavily in new worldclass science and technology research facilities. A common theme within our designs for these facilities is an emphasis on interdisciplinary working, both within the university and with industrial partners. The Technology Innovation Centre for the University of Strathclyde brings together academics, researchers, engineers and leading industrial partners to work side by side in a state-of-the-art building. The design for the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology building for the University of Cambridge creates an uninterrupted, reconfigurable wrap of serviced laboratory space, enclosing a social hub where researchers, teachers, undergraduates and administrators converge.

Whilst home student numbers have been maintained, UK

universities are in intense competition for international students on the global stage. Universities and their selected partners are providing new facilities to support emergent pathways for international students leading to enhanced recruitment. Ambitious UK universities are also branching out, creating satellite campuses abroad. Our new campus for Xi’an Jiaotong Liverpool University in Suzhou, China accommodates a range of academic buildings and our

morphology, chic Italian shops and restaurants, great coffee and ice cream and sunshine and friendly people. Favourite person you have worked with this year Ed Butler, an extremely talented architect that I’ve had the privilege of working with on both ESLA and St John Bosco. It is always amazing to design buildings with like-minded people, where design and creative talents complement each other, the process is fun and enjoyable and the resultant architecture is one to be proud of. Professional highlight of the year Our award winning night at the NW RIBA 2014 Awards in Liverpool. ESLA won a regional award, was shortlisted for a National RIBA Award, the client won NW client of the Year and BDP won NW Architect of the Year. It was a memorable night with the team, client and contractor and the champagne flowed! Personal highlight of the year Nearly completing the transformation of our family home which we started three years ago and, of course, being a Mum to my fantastic son Dylan; watching him learn, develop and grow as a young person through his first year at school.

recent design for the International Business School Suzhou on this campus mixes teaching, research and business engagement, offering a creative and professional context supporting their aspiration to become one of the top business schools worldwide. International Business School, Suzhou, China

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Common to all these trends in investment is the role of good design

learning spaces. The school is uplifting and inspirational; a long way

and the provision of dynamic spaces to facilitate a technologically-

from the baseline templates in every respect except for the tight

enabled, social learning environment which encourages collaboration.

budget within which it was delivered.

In an age where students have become consumers, universities are

focusing on building a brand. Great architecture has a key role to play

and educational approach, much can be achieved on a very tight

in this to attract and inspire a new generation of students.

budget the wider political agenda and economic circumstances have

resulted in a rigid, cost driven one size fits all approach to school

The new school buildings programme in England (PSBP) is in stark

Whilst St John Bosco illustrates that, with a strong creative

contrast to the emerging unique student-centred projects within the

design based on traditional teaching methods. The new golden age

higher education sector. Over the past few years, we have seen the

of capital investment in universities should take note.

English government’s thinking on the design of schools change from an agenda which aspires to create educational transformation and the creation of learner-centred environments to a new emphasis on speed, efficiency, value for money and low-cost. The PSBP programme suggests all schools should be the same; built to one of a small menu of standard baseline templates with limited user engagement.

In response to challenging new budgets we have developed an

approach promoting more compact, regular and efficient schools, utilising tried and tested solutions to certain elements consistent across schools whilst also focusing on the differentials which give each school its unique identity, character and appeal, as well as finetuning them to their site specific context. St John Bosco Arts College in Liverpool takes this approach; a large single-span ‘learning box’ fitted out internally to respond to the school’s specific transformational approach to delivering flexible pupil-centric

The next generation of studentcentred learning environments should be timeless and capable of responding to future change. At the same time IT should promote the individual values of the institution and enhance user experience within creative and collaborative environments.

above: Lasswade High School, Scotland left: Eastwood High School, Scotland


left and above: St John Bosco Arts College, Liverpool

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7 Contributor:


AstraZeneca’s new Global R&D Centre and Corporate Headquarters, Cambridge


GRAHAM MCCLEMENTS Q&A Favourite place you visited this year Gothenburg, Sweden: soft northern light, great architecture and maritime history, creativity and industry…reminded me of Glasgow! Favourite person you have worked with this year


I have the good fortune to work alongside some

n 1953 James Watson and Francis Crick discovered the structure

fantastic multi-talented people and the tactful

of DNA - the code of instructions for all life on earth. In 2003 -

(but truthful) answer is that there is no one

just 50 years later - humankind had developed and exploited the


technology, the computing capability and the financial and social impetus to record one whole human DNA sequence; some 3 billion

Professional highlight of the year

letters of genetic code.

Enjoying the creative energy, growing activity,

and day to day challenges in what was my 30th

driven by information technology, open innovation, open data and

year with BDP.

other new and better tools for research and collaboration.

The revolution in life science research continues. It is a revolution

Importantly, the places created to facilitate research and

Personal highlight of the year

development activity are also changing. Design concepts which

My son and daughter taking their first tentative

adopt traditionally introverted cellular laboratory facilities, often

steps towards financial independence by

hidden behind write up and office accommodation, are being

getting jobs!

challenged. The drive is to find a typology that responds to the rapid pace of change and the demand for more collaborative, flexible and open research environments.

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• Opportunities for joint working in flexible, open plan laboratory

spaces supported by collaborative meeting and project space.

The design of the AstraZeneca new Global R&D Centre and Corporate Headquarters seeks to embody all of these principles in a low rise building which interprets, in an entirely new idiom, the traditional Cambridge collegiate model. At Norwich Research Park, the new Centrum building is designed to a similar set of objectives. In this case, it is as a facility for a range of small and incubator enterprises who wish to be part of the collective expertise of the research park with its links to both the university and hospital. The new building is at the heart of our 15 year masterplan strategy for the development of the research park. It provides flexible laboratory and write up space on the upper floors, and on the ground floor amenity and collaborative spaces are designed to act as a social hub within the campus, encouraging both formal and informal exchange.

As architects, designers and engineers, we are creating innovative

science and research environments for a growing portfolio of pharmaceutical and research companies, as well as in the higher education and healthcare sectors. Across this spectrum we recognise that creating places which celebrate and nurture science as a cultural activity is as important as designing for the ever advancing technology.

AstraZeneca’s new Global R&D Centre and Corporate Headquarters, Cambridge with Herzog & de Meuron

Above and below: Centrum, Norwich Research Park

Translational science or research is a key trend for those researching

From the outset, the brief for AstraZeneca’s new Global R&D

in life sciences. Some researchers define this as what occurs from

Centre and Corporate Headquarters on the Cambridge Biomedical

laboratory bench to bedside in the development of new drugs,

Campus has embodied the principle of creating a place which, by

devices and treatment options for patients whilst others view it

its organisation of space, encourages and facilitates this potential

as translating research into practice. Regardless of the definition,

for cross flow of ideas. In turn, this stimulates debate and fosters

the benefits of agglomeration of expertise (education, research

opportunity for innovation and creativity within the organisation and

and development, treatment), multidisciplinary co-location and

the wider science community.

the influence of place have all been recognised as significant

components in attracting those individuals who are delivering

which achieves an environment capable of supporting the rapidly

thought leadership in research and innovation.

changing demands of research:

• Accessible and visually permeable buildings providing good

By creating places and facilities which encourage connections

A number of design principles underpin the realisation of a design

and a collaborative culture (what Vygostsky termed ‘the zone of

visual connection between sciences in action, both within the

proximal development’), individual and collective achievements

facility and from outside, thereby improving access to and from

are strengthened and creativity and innovation are nurtured. The

the wider research community.

essential social aspects of study, research and care are increasingly

• The provision of spaces which promote opportunities for informal

recognised as important as drivers of progress as advances in

conversation that can stimulate debate alongside flexible project

robotics and the global reach of open data.

space as well as formal facilities for information exchange such as

conference rooms.

In life sciences, Cambridge has emerged as one of the UK’s

pre-eminent examples of such an agglomeration of expertise with

• On the one hand a more intensive use of space to create a vibrant

facilities within the university, the hospitals, the Wellcome Trust

collaborative environment whilst, on the other, a more diverse

Genome Campus and the Medical Research Council. The result is a

range of work settings which can respond to changing needs for

vibrant environment within which the exchange of ideas and shared

concentration or privacy.

research goals has been successful in advancing scientific knowledge

• A good balance between generic flexible/adaptable laboratory

and developing therapies and medicines. Taken together, these

space and the specific, fixed specialist core laboratory functions

represent major advances in the treatment of chronic disease.

such as imaging.

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DP has been at the forefront of designing for the workplace for quite some time now – whether that is in the form of new buildings, fit-outs or refurbishments. We are actually pretty

good at it too. There cannot be too many practices with quite so many BCO nominations, regional awards, national awards or that can boast two ‘Best of The Best’ awards.

That said we do not rest on our laurels. The nature of the

workplace and what it offers those who use it is constantly evolving and we strive to embrace new ideas and continue to innovate.

The impact of technology on the workplace is well known and

Atrium, London

continues to present new opportunities. Laptops, tablets and smartphones mean we can collaborate anywhere, and not always at the office. We are seeing more emphasis on ‘not-desking’ than ‘hot-desking’ with people choosing to work and meet in any number of spaces rather than at a desk.

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The new facilities at Exchange Station in Liverpool (a BCO regional

Part of what attracts them, in addition to salary and promotion

award winner) provide such spaces for a vibrant multi-tenanted

prospects, is the working environment and a positive work/life

building which are in constant use and foster interaction and

balance. Research suggests that 88% of GenY prefer a collaborative

collaboration between individuals and businesses. In Glasgow we

working culture with the ability to be mobile and flexible in their

designed new facilities for Scottish Enterprise in the recently opened

work patterns. Offices are fast becoming destinations or ‘hubs’ for

Inovo building (another BCO Regional award winner).

increasingly mobile workers to meet and collaborate and the design

of them and the facilities they offer is an important tool in recruiting

This facility provides space for businesses and academia to co-

locate in a collaborative environment supported by a central cafe,

the best talent.

business lounges and meeting suites. The demographic of the workplace is also changing however. The Millennial (or GenY) generation born between 1980 and 1995 will soon make up the majority of workplace occupants and their expectations are wholly different to those of previous generations. They are tech savvy, brand aware, environmentally conscious, mobile and very ambitious.

It is this talent pool that companies look to recruit and retain.

PwC for instance recruits 1500 graduates per year and estimates that by 2016 almost 80% of its global workforce will be Millennials.

Inovo, Glasgow

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Our recent work for PwC is also a great case in point. We completed

and avoids a corporate cookie-cutter solution. How that is evolved

one of the largest London office fit-outs in recent years for them in

and incorporated into the design is the result of extensive user

2011. 7 More London accommodates over 6000 staff in just under

engagement, listening to the views of all – including the millennials –

50,000sqm with only 4,500 workstations. It offers a variety of work-

to develop a design which belongs to them.

settings and collaborative areas for a very agile population.

a few years ago with greater use of colour, pattern and texture, a

The settings, standards and sharing ratios we developed there

The new spaces feel a lot less corporate than they perhaps did

have now started to be implemented across their entire UK portfolio

variety of worksettings reflected in the use of furniture and fittings

and we have completed new projects over the last year or so in

and individual graphic treatments.

Edinburgh, Reading, Belfast, Norwich (another BCO regional award winner) and Newcastle (a design which is hopefully attracting the Y-aye Generation!).

Each location subscribes to the workplace criteria and brand

standards we developed and shares standard common elements. However each is allowed an element of own identity to reflect the building or location which instils a degree of individual personality

They are proving to be very successful – not just with the BCO judges – but with those that work in them, of all ages.



Favourite place you visited this year

Professional highlight of the year

I went again to The Green Man Festival which

It was good to see BDP nominated in so many

I’ve been going to for eight or nine years with

categories at the BCO Awards this year having

the kids. It’s a great little festival nestled into

won a number of regional awards. Although

the beautiful Brecon Beacons. Good music and

we didn’t win a national award it was a strong

for once it didn’t rain much.

showing from the firm as a whole which did not go unnoticed by peers and clients alike.

Favourite person you have worked

We also won a significant fit–out project this

with this year

year for Cambridge Assessment against really

Our clients at Atrium were great to work with.

stiff competition which is always nice.

Although in BDP terms this could be considered a small project it was one I enjoyed hugely. It

Personal highlight of the year

involved the ID team working alongside our M&E

I somehow managed to reach a significant

engineers and the London lighting team so it

birthday this year and, while that in itself might

was a true interdisciplinary project and one that I

not be considered a highlight, it coincided

think everyone enjoyed. It looks pretty good too.

with my daughter’s 18th and my son’s 16th

Images from top clockwise: PwC Newcastle PwC Norwich PwC Reading PwC Newcastle PwC Edinburgh

birthdays. They continue to be the most important people in my life and to see them develop into actually quite nice human beings is very rewarding.

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am privileged to be able to spend a good deal of my time

Running in parallel with this new and rejuvenated sense of youthful

The last few years have been challenging and achieving a

visiting various BDP studios and, regardless of location, I am

vigour, we are strengthening and refreshing the infrastructure of the

sustainable level of turnover in a highly competitive market has,

always struck by the sense of vibrancy and creativity. It doesn’t

practice. Our uncommon financial prudence over the years has paid

until recently, been our prime focus. This year is different. This year

matter if I am in Shanghai or Sheffield, Benthuizen or Bristol, there

dividends for the firm and for the people we employ. Despite the

has been about creating an ideal working environment in each of

is a palpable energy surge evident throughout the practice as our

difficulties of recent times, over the last five years we have carefully

our studios to empower our most talented designers to create first

marketplace unfolds from years of recession. This all-pervading sense

managed to develop a strong network of international studios. In

class design solutions for our clients. The improved economic context

of rejuvenation across our family of studios is much more than just

addition to our UK and Ireland locations, we now have an established

has enabled a leaner and fitter BDP to take stock and we have set

perception. Our turnover in the past year has increased by 12% and,

presence in China, the Middle East, India and the Netherlands.

ourselves a strong strategic plan for growth and increased excellence

on the basis of a thorough review of our locations, professions and

Our international studios combine local knowledge with the vision,

in service. By focusing intensely on precisely how to get from now

sectors, we are planning on achieving a similar degree of growth

values and infrastructure of a major award-winning practice. We are

to the future, it makes that future state far more real for our people

in each of the next two years. The growth in activity this year

also reinforcing substantially our IT infrastructure with increasing

and for our clients. It also results in a crisper strategy and greater

has enabled us to introduce new ideas, new methods and, most

investments in BIM technology, the refresh of our website and the

emphasis on the key initiatives required to achieve our goals.

importantly, new people to the practice.

adoption of new and improved business management systems.

These investments in places and technology will open up ever greater

next year will be even better. We move forward with a high degree of

opportunities for us across the globe.

determination and positivity and as pioneers in interdisciplinary working and sustainable design, we stay ahead by providing a complete service,

Our recent Graduate Conference in Manchester, attended by over 50 of our young professionals, was a truly uplifting experience, revealing remarkable levels of creativity and innovation within our younger generation.

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This has been an excellent year for BDP. We are confident that

combining elegance and vitality, excellence and value.



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The Grenfell Baines Award is presented to the best completed project produced over the previous 12 months by any one of BDP’s studios. It is named in honour of the firm’s founder and the man whose vision we have become, Professor Sir George Grenfell Baines. From twelve submitted projects in 2014, the following five received Best Designed Place Awards. Brown Hart Gardens, London g “A grown-up oasis has been created, capable of being used in many different ways. This area now has a clear identity and the sense of community has been strengthened.” Ebbw Fawr Learning Community & Pen-y-Cwm School, Wales m “The best new teaching facility and first of its kind in Wales, this project successfully unites the varied requirements of an Integrated Children’s Livat Centre, Wuxi, China h

Eastwood High School, Scotland i

“With over 140,000 sqm lettable retail space and 375 shop units over

“A mature design process not only consults – it listens. The fact

Norwich Creative Arts Hub i

three levels, this design explores intriguing spatial interrelationships

that pupils, staff and the local community were listened to, and

“Humming with young people exploring the full spectrum of the creative

and the use of the flowing line to produce an ever-changing sequence

adaptations made on their input, has given the end users of this

arts, this building gives the City College a dramatic contemporary new

of vistas.”

building a sense of ownership that is rarely achieved on new

Centre, a Primary School and a Special Needs Educational School.”


image inspired by the traditional architecture of Norfolk.”

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St John Bosco Arts College, Liverpool “The relationship between the architect and the school was very special and based on trust. The initial ‘learning box’ vision really has been made a reality – the resultant product far outshines many more conventional solutions and demonstrates wonderfully that an inspirational design really can be delivered on a shoestring budget.”

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ifty developing professionals from around BDP attended our 2014 Graduate Conference which took place over two days within a suite at the BDP designed Emirates Stadium at Old

Trafford, Manchester. The event aimed to give delegates a better understanding of interdisciplinary working, an opportunity to meet and learn from some of the firm’s more experienced professionals and get to know more about each other.

Talks and exercises were interspersed with activities, including a

high energy, very noisy ‘drum jam’ session that got the adrenaline pumping. The conference ended with a look into what the future holds for BDP. It was a memorable, stimulating and inspirational experience with great fun also being had by all.

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PHOTOGRAPHERS Colin Ball David Barbour John Beswick Sanna Fisher-Payne Hufton+Crow Max McClure Killian O’Sullivan Jonathan Towers Philip Vile Terrance Zhang UK Pavilion at Milan Expo 2015 images by Wolfgang Buttress. Courtesy of the UKTI.

EDITORIAL David Cash Vanessa Brown Helen Moorhouse Richard Dragun

DESIGN Lynda Athey Watson


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Profile for bdp.com

BDP 2015 Creativity  

BDP's 2015 Annual Review

BDP 2015 Creativity  

BDP's 2015 Annual Review

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