We were thrilled to be asked to exhibit again at this year’s Grand Designs Live in Birmingham, Stuart is busy putting up the stand today and we will be there from Friday 4th until Sunday 6th. Every year we get to meet lots of great people who are looking for an architect to help them design their new home. We’ll be offering design advice, budget cost information and tips for helping you achieve planning consent. Come and find us on stand B943 in the Grand Build Section.
Why Living Space Architects
The name relates to our own desire as architects to create spaces that are alive with energy and activity. It is after-all the activity and events that happen in spaces that make them special and our architecture is a backdrop to this, an enabler if you like. I think a lot of people think we chose the name Living Spacearchitects because we specialise in residential architecture, in fact we don’t specialise in this area at all although naturally as a young practice we do a lot of residential work.
As a student I was fascinated by writings by Architects like Tschumi – event cities etc. Tschumi said architecture is not simply about space and form, but also about event, action, and what happens in space. I designed an ice factory in the back streets of west end London with an ice wall that crashed to the ground every day nada yearly ice festival. It was the idea of history, memory, and event making a place special through its architecture and buildings being a dynamic part of this not just bystanders. Obviously as a student you were expected to make a scale model of said ice factory along with real ice, which I then decided to hang from the ceiling. Questions like how much does a sq m of ice really weigh and what is the load bearing capacity of the studio ceiling had to be asked as well as what happens when it melts on the floor.
Living space follows on from this with its practice, creating spaces not just as a backdrop but as places where people can interact and where things happen, ideas are created, friendships are formed and strengthened and life lived to the full. This may be a dining room extension or a more complex design for a performing arts centre, but the essence of a dynamic, living form of space remains and enriches our design process to create forms that resonate with our clients and the building users.
TEA WITH AN ARCHITECT is a series of events around the country where you are invited to come and have a chat and a cup of tea with architects in your area. Last night Kirsty Curnow Bayley opened the first Tea With an Architect event in Exeter at the Magdalen Chapter Hotel, which was attended by founder and TV Apprentice star architect, Gabrielle Omar. During the event money was raised for local disaster relief charity Shelterbox.
Whether you’re thinking about building something from scratch, trying to decide whether that house you’ve seen at the estate agent could realise its potential, or just thinking about extending your own home, one of our Tea with an Architect sessions are a great opportunity for you to bring in your ideas, designs and questions and benefit from a free consultation. Further events will be taking place in Exeter later in the year.
Over the past year Kirsty Curnow Bayley has been working closely with architect Nick Gilbert Scott at The Maynard Girls School in Exeter as Architect in Residence. The project involved a number of workshops with the year 8 students, where the girls tackled issues such as site planning, scale and sustainability as well as having fun drawing and making models.
The project culminated with a presentation of the girl’s ideas for a new Performing Arts Centre on their site in St Leonards, Exeter. The girls showed an amazing level of thought and creativity during the project, choosing their own site and making an analysis of the factors that would influence the design. It is hoped that some of the ideas will be taken forward in the future for a new building for the school. Living Space are looking forward to working further with the school later this year.
As we prepare our exhibition stand for the Listed Property Show we can show here the first pictures of a recently completed Listed House refurbishment and modern extension to a thatched cottage.
Living Space Architects secured planning and listed building consent for this integrated light and modern extension. The form of the new building is a crescent shape which follows the afternoon sun and is positioned to enjoy far views from inside or sitting on the new terrace.
The interior of the new rooms are bright, modern and open plan, which provides a welcome relief from the low ceilings and darker interiors of the original house.
We decided to purchase a Nissan Leaf which has a range of around 100 miles, but this does depend on how many hills you drive up. Thankfully the regenerative breaking helps restore the range on the way back down!
After an announcement made by the government Permitted development rights look likely to be extended to include the conversion of parts of certain offices and shops to two residential flats. There will still be exceptions as local authorities can remove permitted development rights where they think they may cause a problem – for example in conservation areas.
Under the 1995 Order, local authorities can remove permitted development rights in geographic areas where they think these new rights might cause a problem. They can do so by making an Article 4 direction, the effect of which is to a require a planning application which in other locations would not be necessary. Article 4 directions are commonly found in conservation areas.
Announcing the proposed changes Mr Pickles said:
“These are common sense planning reforms that will deliver more affordable homes in areas where there are good transport links whilst ensuring better use of existing developed land. Cutting this red tape should be a shot in the arm for the high street increasing footfall and providing a boost to regeneration.”
We look forward to finding out if the new permitted development rights will be as revolutionary as Mr Pickles hopes when they are brought into force in October.
We’ve got a stand at the Grand Designs Live Exhibition at the NEC in Birmingham from the 12th -14th of October. At the show Living Space Directors, architects Kirsty Curnow Bayley and Stuart Bayley, will be on hand to talk to you about your project and give design and technical advice.
Whether your unsure about planning law, or want some tips about making sure your build comes in on budget, come along and see us for a chat.
You can find out more about the show by following this link to the website http://www.granddesignslive.com/
Based on the Channel 4 TV show and presented by design guru Kevin McCloud, the event will be packed with over 500 exhibitors, across 6 different sections! Covering interiors, garden, home improvement, self build, renovations, technology and shopping.
Come along and get all the information and inspiration you nedd for your project in one place.
All in a name – Employing an architectural designer to work on your project may not be what you expect
Undertaking a building project, whatever its scale, can be a daunting experience. As the chair of the Exeter branch of the Royal Institute of British Architects I am often involved in dinner party discussions where I hear the story of someone’s bad experience with an architect. “But were they really an architect?” I ask; “I’m not sure they reply – I think so but I’m not totally sure”.
I met someone who had employed a designer they assumed was an architect to design their loft extension. When it was almost finished they went up to take a look and realised there wasn’t enough space for the double bed because the ceiling was sloping too much. Their designer hadn’t drawn plans showing furniture in the rooms, so they weren’t aware of the problem until it was too late. Another friend used a designer who again they thought was an architect to design and run their renovation project on site with his recommended builder. There was no contract and the project seemed to go on forever, the bills started increasing and without an agreed contract sum they felt that they didn’t have much choice but to continue paying until the project was finished.
The fact of the matter is that to call yourself an ‘architectural designer’ you don’t need any qualifications or experience, whereas the title ‘architect’ is protected by law and can only be used by people registered with the Architects Registration board (ARB) having gone through the relevant training. Unfortunately there is nothing to stop anyone setting themselves up as an ‘architectural designer’ with little or no experience. No wonder there is often confusion when it comes to choosing someone to work with you on your building project.
That said you don’t always need an architect to draw up a set of simple planning drawings and there are also a lot of good architectural technicians that will give you value for money (although perhaps not the design flair), but again make sure they are registered with the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technicians (CIAT) to ensure you are getting the professional service you should expect.
Chartered architects are also members of the RIBA in addition to the ARB, which gives you additional piece of mind that they are adhering to a strict code of conduct and keeping up to date with the latest legislation and technical innovations.
To help you make the right decision about which professional to choose to design your building project and make sure you get value for money, we’ve set out the top questions to ask when you need to employ a design professional to help you with your project:
Things to ask your Architect or Designer:
Are you registered with the ARB, RIBA or CIAT?
Do you have Professional Indemnity Insurance (PI)?
All RIBA and CIAT registered professionals must have this in place and it means that if something does go wrong you have piece of mind. Some architectural designers may not hold this insurance, which means you will have to foot the bill for any mistakes they make even if it isn’t your builders fault.
Can I speak to some of your previous clients?
A good architect will have a long list of happy clients and they will be only too pleased to pass you their details so that you can have a chat about their experience.
What do you specialise in?
If a firm mostly designs schools or office buildings they may not be the right practice for your new house or extension (or it may get passed to the office junior). The best practices for residential projects are those that have a good track record of this type of project, and these are often the smaller practices.
Lastly don’t forget that you need to get on with your architect; everyone is different and you could be working with them for some time, so you need to make sure you click. Your architect should be able to explain things to you in a way that you understand and feel comfortable with. We don’t all wear black polar necks and wear silly glasses (well only some of us) and often a more sensitive approach can be helpful at the early stages of a project when you are trying to work out your brief.
To give you added reassurance make sure you use an RIBA chartered architect and you will be employing someone who has undertaken 7 years of training – no other building professional is trained to such a level of expertise.
If you need help choosing an architect you can contact the RIBA client services team who will match you with 3-4 local architects who specialise in the type of work you want to do, no matter how small your project.
For further information call the RIBA on 020 7307 3700
Or visit them at www.architecture.com/useanarchitect
Kirsty Curnow Bayley is the chair of the Exeter Branch of the RIBA and is a Director of Living Space Architects in Southernhay.
Living Space Architects were set up 8 years ago specialising in residential and domestic projects and can be contacted on 01392 267 213 or at www.livingspacearchitects.com
We have enjoyed meeting new clients this weekend at the Self Build & Design Show at Westpoint in Exeter.
Visitors have been keen to discuss the proposed revisions to planning legislation announced this week and to find out if they will be able to take advantage of this. Government proposals include increasing permitted development rights to enable extensions of up to 6-8m.
We have also been giving a lot of advice about the potential for achieving planning permission on particular sites across Devon, Cornwall and Somerset. A high number of clients are looking at building and extending properties on Dartmoor, an area where we have a lot of experience.
We are pleased that there have been an increased number of people visiting the stand this year, which hopefully is a reflection of an increase in activity within the residential construction sector.
With exciting developments such as the new John Lewis store opening next month, Exeter is clearly the place to be in the southwest. Here at Living Space Architects are have enjoyed watching the city centre changing and developing over the last few years and feel that the success of the Self Build show this weekend reflects the optimism felt by the local community.
We’re looking forward to visiting all the potential new clients we have gained from the show from Dartmoor to Ottery and helping them all to achieve their property dreams.