Wellbeing and Heritage


The intriguing link between wellbeing and heritage

“Directly or indirectly, well-being, in some shape or other…is the subject of every thought, and object of every action, on the part of every known Being…nor can any intelligible reason be given for desiring that it should be otherwise.”

– Jeremy Bentham, Chrestomathia (1817)

We specialise in bringing historic and listed buildings back to life, we were pleased to hear that according to recent research by Historic England  living in historic buildings makes you healthier and happier.

What is wellbeing?

‘‘Wellbeing can be understood as how people feel and how they function, both on a personal and a social level, and how they evaluate their lives as a whole.” New Economics

How does heritage impact on our mental health?

  • Historic sites often require volunteers to run. The act of volunteering over time makes us feel happy and fulfilled within ourselves
  • Visiting heritage sites gives us an opportunity to spend time with family and friends whilst being immersed in culture and meeting new people with similar interests
  • We feel pride in the historic buildings in our area, they give us a sense of place e.g. In Exeter our historic buildings such as Exeter Cathedral and Exeter Castle give us a sense of pride where we live

Image result for Exeter Cathedral

The Results

“People who visit heritage sites are happier than those who do not. As noted earlier, between 2010 and 2013, on average, those who had visited a heritage site in the previous 12 months, reported happiness scores 1.6% greater than those who had not.” – Heritage Counts 2016 Report

In summary, heritage sites can help combat issues of isolation, exclusion and lack of identity, by building relationships between people and places.

Latest news from Living Space Architects 06/02/2019

1. Planning submitted for Grade II listed ‘Red House’ apartment

We are excited to have  submitted planning permission for a Grade II listed ground floor apartment on Topsham Road that is part of the larger three storey house ‘Red House’. Situated close to Wyvern Barracks, this house was possibly once Officers accommodation, and its well-preserved South East facade bears witness to the traditions of late Georgian housing. The proposed adaptations will turn the cellular apartment into a more open plan and contemporary home internally whilst retaining the important historical features.

2. Are barn conversions the new way forward to create your Grand Design

Check out our 10 top tips for gaining Class Q consent on our blog:


3. Learning about ‘The Retrofit Revolution’

We attended a seminar run by conservation and energy experts Mitchell & Dickinson to learn about the ‘Retrofit Revolution’. With a report from parliament stating that all houses must be carbon neutral by 2035, older properties are posed with a huge challenge to meet this target. We learned about the benefits of retrofitting  and why it is important to start now in order to upgrade listed buildings and improve their quality and comfort.

4. Planning consent achieved for alteration to a Grade II listed house in Topsham

We are delighted to have received planning approval for an extension and alterations to a Grade II listed house in Topsham. The proposed adaptations will update and improve the property, creating a more contemporary and connected home. The historical significance of the property will be maintained, as our detailed designs allow for these changes to be made with minimal impact to the existing house. 

How we obtain planning permission for an extension to a listed building


St Leonards, Exeter

The Brief:

  • The client requested a major ground-floor extension, replacing the conservatory and bay window, extending into the garden and creating an extended kitchen and living space

The Problem:

  • The property is a listed building within a unique style of buildings in the area.
    • Regency style architecture – spanning the first 30 years of the 19th century and showing a natural progression from the Georgian style that preceded it
  • There was a need to ensure that the new extension did not obstruct the light to the neighbours property

The Solutions:

  • The pictures below show a “butterfly roof” whereby the 2 sections of the roof (one slightly raised with a gap between them) allow light into the extension itself as well as not obstructing light to the neighbouring property.
  • Having a very positive relationship with the planning officers meant that collaboration and feedback from them was able to be taken into careful consideration and implemented in our design.
  • The extension is very contemporary and contrasts to the Regency style architecture surrounding it. This is key to the design as it allows us to tell a story of the time period through architecture.

Pictures of the final drawings:

What are the benefits of using 3D scanning and point cloud integration in architectural work?


A point cloud is a set of data points in space. Point clouds are generally produced by 3D scanners, which measure a large number of points on the external surfaces of objects around them.

Living Space Architects have become one of the only architects in Exeter using this new technology.

Example of a point cloud of a model Stegosaurus

How does the 3D scanning work for buildings?

Using the ReCap Pro mobile app, the scanner streams the image and point cloud data to the iPad. The app filters and registers scan data in real time. After capture, ReCap Pro enables point cloud data transfer to a number of applications. The integration of BLK360 and Autodesk software dramatically streamlines the reality capture process.

Leica BLK360 Scanner in action

CLICK HERE – Point Cloud Video


What are the benefits of using this cutting edge technology?

  • It provides immediate 3D data for all our design drawings
  • It creates virtual reality images that we can immediately begin work on
  • The detail and accuracy of the images produced are second to none
  • The process of gathering information from the site is much easier and quicker

The results

By uploading the scans into Recap Pro, we can then create the existing 3D model. Here are some examples:


Site visit to our Stoke Poges build

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It’s always exciting to see a project that you have created coming together.

That’s exactly how we felt on our latest trip to Stoke Poges, to visit the site of our innovative new build with a contemporary design and similar feel to a German Huf Haus.

The greyness of the day didn’t attract from the immensity of the building as it has begun to take shape, complementing the plot with its innovative structure and creative design.

With the main structure built, and character of the interior being established, we are well on our way to completing the project in time for our May target.

So, what makes this project so unique? 

Even at first glance it is clear that this property doesn’t fall in line with convention. Its dramatic pitched roof, high ceilings, glass exterior and timber structure give it a different feel to the brick houses that Britain has grown so accustomed to. Its open-plan design and use of windows and glass allow it to capture sunlight and create a bright and modern place to live.

What inspired the design?

Our client came to us with a brief of creating a house with a similar feel to the award-winning German Huf Haus design. Big open spaces and natural light appealed to them, however they wanted the house to have a little more privacy and a more ‘homely’ feel than the original German design. We therefore designed a house with some Huf Haus characteristics, such as the pitched roof, high ceiling, terraces and large glass windows to capture natural light, while maintaining some more British features of a home and tailoring the property to suit our clients preferences, such as supplementing a brick wall on the outside ground floor.

What other features does the house have?

We decided to use innovative construction for the new building, settling on Structural Insulated Panels (SIP) from Kingspan TEK. These are made of wood, but their invisible structure gave us freedom with the interior design. Furthermore, their prefabrication meant that construction time was less and there was limited on-site waste. The panels also have high energy efficiency, allowing for a thinner construction than usual insulation.

What comes next?

Although our Stoke Poges build has begun to take shape and acquire character, there are still things to be done before our May deadline. Currently, underfloor heating and electrics are being fitted and then decorating and finishes for the property will commence. We can’t wait to follow the progress of this contemporary and modern design, and are looking forward to seeing the finished product!

Our January Newsletter

Living Space Architects awarded Best of Houzz 2018 award