August 2020

Planning for Climate Change and Rapid Urbanisation

FCBStudios have been working with the Commonwealth Sustainable Cities Initiative on a series of online webinars and pre-recorded lectures, the aim of which is to explore the potential for greater inter-disciplinary, cross-sector collaboration to address the challenges posed by climate change, rapid urbanisation and the recovery from Covid-19. 

Our first lecture, 'Climate Responsive Design', provides an overview over the subject matter based on a Manifesto which has been written by FCBStudios on behalf of the Belgian Development Agency, Enabel. It is followed by a case study of how the principles of climate responsive design have been used on the Aga Khan Academy in Bangladesh, to create an inspiring and comfortable educational environment.

Our second lecture, which takes place on the 6th August, explores the value of 'Heritage Led Regeneration', in terms of the reuse of existing buildings, and the potential to generate social and economic value. 

You can watch a recording of the first lecture here

For more information on The Manifesto for Climate Responsive Design and to download a copy, visit the climate section of our website. 


The Beam shortlisted for BCIA Award

The Beam, Sunderland is one of five projects shortlisted in the commercial property project of the year category in the British Construction Industry Awards.

The project is the first building to be completed as part of a 15-year regeneration of the Vaux site in Sunderland City Centre. The building offers five floors of Grade A, flexible office space, wrapped around a protected courtyard atrium. It has been designed to be a healthy and sustainable workplace, in a lean building that sets a high standard of accommodation for the site.

New Civil Engineer editor, Claire Smith, said. “What is clear from this year’s entries is that there is real passion and resilience and all those that have made the shortlist should be commended for their efforts."

This year, site visits have been replaced with presentations by shortlisted candidates to a team of judges via Zoom, and the winners are set to be announced at a gala event in London on 28 October.

July 2020

Material Matters #2: Continuing the debate
Following the success of Understanding Embodied Carbon in Building Materials event, this event brought together a panel of speakers to continue to materials debate and explore more of the issues around embodied carbon, specification and the relative qualities of building materials. 

Chaired by Peter Clegg, Partner, FCBStudios, our panel of knowledgable and engaged speakers were Jo White, FCBStudios, Bruce McLean, Expedition Engineering
Steve Webb, Webb Yates, Louisa Bowles, Hawkins/Brown and Kristian Steele, Arup.                                                                                                                                    

You can watch a recording of the event:
Zero Carbon workspace given go ahead by Lambeth Council

FCBStudios and Bywater Properties have been granted planning permission for a six-storey carbon neutral office development in Vauxhall.

The scheme, named Paradise, will replace the disused Costa Coffee roastery on Old Paradise Street and transform a neglected and disused site into 60,000sqft of flexible work and maker space.

Paradise will be a landmark timber-framed building. The building will have a cross-laminated timber structure and an extruded terracotta façade and the proposals are on target for almost 60 years of negative carbon footprint.

The generous floor heights and flexible open-plan, in combination with the servicing strategy, will create a building that is future flexible and low energy in use. This whole-life approach to the building has also been reflected in the careful consideration given to the end of life strategy, such as connections for the structure allowing for easy disassembly.

The workplace will support the health and well-being of future occupiers from within the building and has been designed with WELL standards in mind. The timber structure will be exposed, with natural light and ventilation maximised throughout.

At second floor level, the open floor plate will bring a strong visual connection from passing trains to the historic Old Paradise Gardens.

The site is a key link in the green chain that joins Waterloo to Vauxhall. The façade’s design draws inspiration from the former Royal Doulton Headquarters nearby and the glazed ceramic cladding reflects a progressive approach which uses traditional materials in a contemporary manner.

Alex Whitbread, Partner at FCBStudios said “Paradise was born of a collective approach to sustainable design, humanistic values and quality place-making, but also the desire to make a healthy and innovative workplace that people would love to use.

Paradise is designed to be part of its local and citywide community and to make a responsible contribution globally. With this scheme receiving planning permission, we hope it will set the standard for office design that is carbon neutral and has the wellbeing of the user at the fore. We are looking forward to bringing it to fruition.”

Bywater have proposed that up to 13% of the total floor area should be non-office (light industrial and maker space) of which 68% is affordable and made available first to local businesses.

Options for a number of layouts have been developed with Bywater, which respond to the current and future requirements of the workplace.

University of Plymouth share their vision for a new Engineering and Design Facility

The FCBStudios designs for a new landmark building is a key component of the University of Plymouth’s Campus Masterplan, to be situated on the western edge of the city centre campus. Through renovation of the existing 1970s Babbage Building and a new extension of approximately 3,140m2, the Engineering and Design facility will provide a new home for the School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics and additional space for the School of Art, Design and Architecture.

The vision is to create an environment that enables staff to engage in world-leading research through the use of state-of-the-art resources; supports the delivery of forward-looking teaching programmes that attract greater numbers of motivated students, and meet the future needs of UK industries; facilitates interdisciplinary collaborations across the University and with industry; and attracts, retains and inspires talented academic, technical and support staff through the provision of an outstanding working environment.

The low energy building will include large, flexible teaching spaces and innovative teaching and research enabled resources, and social spaces for students and staff.

It will offer enhanced and modern specialist equipment, aligned to staff research and expertise and targeted on activities that support our research focus and enable us to engage with regional industrial partners.

Professor Deborah Greaves OBE, Head of the School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics  said: “This new building will offer a state-of-the-art setting to inspire the engineers of tomorrow, giving us the ultimate place to bring together students, academics and industry in an environment that not only benefits them but also society as a whole.” 

Virtual public consultation is currently underway, and the university envisages that the new building will open in the summer of 2022.

Hayle North Quay wins Housing Design Award

The first phase of Hayle North Quay has been announced a winner in the Housing Design Awards 2020 ‘Project’ category.

The project is the first phase of  FCBStudios' and Sennybridge's regeneration of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hayle’s North Harbour, invigorating a coastal community, activated by nature, leisure and living. 

The scheme proposes around 300 homes with waterside commercial spaces and a generous new public square to the north of the historic dockyards, inspired by the coal wharf heritage of the site. The dwellings range from three-bed wharf houses to one, two and three-bed apartments, with the majority benefiting from private outdoor space and generously proportioned terraces overlooking the new public square and harbourside. Many of the homes are dual aspect maximising the benefits of sunlight and visual connectivity with the harbour.

Construction of the quayside apartments is currently ongoing, with the first homes due to be completed in 2020.

The Housing Design Awards are the most prestigious awards in the sector recognising the very best in UK housing. Read more about the award winners here.

FCBStudios shortlisted as AYA Housing Architect of the Year 2020

We are thrilled to have been shortlisted as one of eight practices for the Building Design Architect of the Year Awards Housing Architect of the Year, 2020, as well as being named on the shortlist for Higher Education Architect of the Year.

FCBStudios have extensive experience of creating new communities through masterplanning and designing residential schemes. Our Stirling Prize-winning scheme Accordia is widely regarded as setting new standards for UK housing and our homes continue to be responsive to different patterns of living, providing intimacy, privacy and security whilst forging a sense of community.

We are currently delivering homes in six London Boroughs and around the UK, responding to the twin crisis of housing and climate, whilst contributing to regeneration and placemaking in our cities.

We are leaders in the discussion on architecture for climate change and have made a commitment to interrogate the properties and impact of our material choices which influence our strategic design decisions.

Across our diverse housing sector, we continue to ensure that our ethos of high quality design and craftsmanship; the creating of lasting communities and a light touch on the environment are upheld.

Explore our Residential sector portfolio here

FCBStudios shortlisted as AYA Higher Education of the Year 2020

In addition to being listed in the Housing Architect shortlist, we are proud to have also been named as one of eight practices on the Building Design Higher Education Architect of the Year shortlist.

 Higher Education is a highly significant and rewarding area of work for FCBStudios. We have delivered many successful projects including faculty buildings, libraries, student accommodation, unions, specialist research buildings, estate strategies, masterplans and city campuses.

 Last year we completed the Centenary Building - a teaching and learning facility for the University of Southampton. We won two RIBA competitions, one for an Engineering and Design facility for the University of Plymouth and one for a teaching building for the University of Portsmouth. We are on-site with two projects for Manchester Metropolitan University and one for the University of Warwick and are currently in design development stage for a number of other technical, residential and teaching led schemes across the UK which will complete in the coming years.

Our reputation in Higher Education is built on our knowledge of evolving themes in learning, teaching and student life, as reflected in the continuing success of our completed buildings. 

Explore our Higher Education sector portfolio here

FCBStudios reveal plans for second phase of regeneration of North Hayle Harbour

The next phase of the regeneration of the historic coastal Cornish town will deliver 377 homes alongside extensive community facilities, establishing it as a residential, visitor, business and cultural destination.

FCBStudios and Sennybridge have submitted detailed plans to Cornwall Council for a £200m mixed use development in the seaside town of Hayle to deliver housing, community and commercial space. Construction work started earlier this year on phase one of the FCBStudios masterplan to develop quayside homes, shops, restaurants and public space.

Simon Wright, CEO of Sennybridge, said: "From the outset our clear aim is to deliver a project which greatly enhances the local area and its economy, brings benefits to the local community, protects and promotes its heritage and puts Hayle Harbour on the map as a desirable destination.

"At the heart of these proposal is a commitment to quality of design, support for local marine industries and water users, promoting a busy and successful working harbour and creating a bustling and lively waterside quarter which is open to the community and visitors year-round."

The regenerated harbour will be integral to the town, forming part of the wider community for new and existing residents and visitors. A filmhouse and art gallery on the harbour will be the focal point for a creative community of workshops that will bring social and economic activity to the waterfront.

In addition, there will be a water sports centre, and plans for waterside and harbour improvements including a new footbridge, new quayside toilets and showers, improved facilities for local fishermen, wharf extension and dry berth facility, new workshops, slipway improvements for local water sports clubs and additional moorings, delivering jobs in industry, and in the knowledge and service sectors.

The proposed 377 homes (including affordable homes) and an hotel are embedded within a lush landscape, taking advantage of the mild microclimates in this part of Cornwall. Public spaces and gardens between clusters of homes work with the topography to create spaces for play, contemplation and activity, as well as extensive walking and cycling routes linking into existing local routes.

Matt Williams, Associate at FCBStudios said “We have been involved in the regeneration of this significant brownfield site for 10 years and have had the unique opportunity to shape the vision for the port. Located within the UNESCO World Heritage Cornwall and West Devon Mining landscape, Hayle has exceptional beauty, inspirational history and a community, engaged with its future – all of which has helped to influence the emerging designs. With the construction work of our first phase fully underway, this next phase will deliver the facilities and housing that will support the continued economic and community success of the town.”

The proposals are site-specific, drawing their character from that Hayle and from the vernacular of Cornish dwellings and industry. The new additions are intended to create places that promote community, sustainability and a healthy lifestyle attracting and supporting businesses and residents who will continue to feed back into the local community.

FCBStudios Partners join NLA Expert Panels for Wellbeing and Healthcare

Amanda Whittington and Sara Grohmann have joined the NLA 2020 Expert Panels for Wellbeing and Healthcare. The NLA Expert Panels bring together industry experts from across the NLA membership to advise on our core programmes, provide thought-leadership on design, development and construction in London and respond to new policies or consultations.

Understanding the impact of the places we live, work and spend free time on our physical and mental health, Amanda and the Wellbeing Expert Panel will share thought-leadership on the relationship between the urban environment and mental health; physical wellbeing – improving air quality, physical activity and health outcomes for all Londoners; and social sustainability – understanding how the design of the physical environment links with infrastructure to support social and cultural life, social amenities and systems for citizen engagement.

The healthcare sector is set to see a new level of government investment not seen in over a decade. Sara Grohmann and the Healthcare Expert Panel will focus on the delivery of new healthcare buildings for London, best practice in design, health and adaptability, as well as the opportunities for wider regeneration and integration into the urban environment.

NLA brings people together to shape a better city and improve quality of life across London. The vision is a better planned, designed and managed built environment, as set out in the New London Charter. To achieve this, the NLA seeks to guide policymakers and professionals and engage a wider audience in the debate. The year-round programme includes research, public events and debates, training, roundtables, industry viewpoints and exhibitions

The expert panels meet 3-4 times a year, setting out key lines of enquiry which shape our forward agendas and inform our year-round programmes. Reports from each meeting are shared with NLA members and the broader network, alongside a selection of contributions and viewpoints from Panel members.

Alexandra Palace Big Schools: Green Screen Champions!

FCBStudios have collaborated with the Alexandra Palace Big Schools Team to create a learning resource for their Green Screen Champions Festival.

The festival invites young people with a passion for the environment and sustainability to join them online and be part of the green solution. FCBStudios are one of several industry experts who have experience and knowledge of sustainability practices from across different creative sectors from film and media to gaming and architecture who were asked to take part in the Festival this year.

FCBStudios have developed a strong relationship with Alexandra Palace, having been appointed architect for the regeneration of the East Wing, which completed in 2018 and breathed life back into the abandoned theatre, the East Court and the Creativity Pavilion – designed to house the learning programme.

The theme of sustainability resonated with the practice. Since our inception, we have pioneered designs that have a light touch on the planet are low in carbon and energy-use, and which help us and our clients to mitigate the impact of climate change.  Our interest in reducing both embodied energy and whole lifecycle energy consumption, and our commitment to the wider social aspects of sustainability still mark us out as leaders in environmental design.

The learning resources that we have created draw on Carbon Counts, an exhibition which was launched in our London office at the end of 2019 and which has now been transformed into an interactive online exhibition. Carbon Counts focuses on material choice, with a key message that as an industry we need to understand how materials are made and how we can reduce the impact of each material at each stage in its life, from alternative sources of raw materials, ways to extend its usefulness, and what we do with it at the end of its life.

The learning resource encourages children to look at the materials they can see in the buildings around them and think about where they have come from and how they have been made. Through being involved in this sort of project the hope is that we can inspire a new generation of green pioneers and thinkers, as well as spark interest in buildings and architecture.

Big Schools – Green Screen Champions kicks off on Wednesday 1st July. The programme continues over the course of two weeks with a mix of films, webinars, challenges and creative activities that promise to inform, challenge and inspire.

To discover more visit:

June 2020

Material Matters: Understanding Embodied Carbon in Building Materials

This event brought together a panel of speakers to talk through the processes involved in the creation of common building materials. Each process contributes to the final product; how they are extracted, how they are formed, and how we use them. But they also contribute to the amount of embodied carbon they emit.  Understanding these steps will enable us to make more informed decisions and lessen our impact on the environment.

Chaired by Hattie Hartman, Architects Journal Sustainability Editor

Nick Hodges, FCBStudios - Timber
Eva MacNamara, Expedition Engineering - Concrete
Steve Webb, Webb Yates - Stone
David Bates,  FCBStudios - Ceramics
Lex Harrison, Arup - Brick                                                                                                                                                      

You can watch a recording of the event including the Q&A here:
FCBStudios shortlisted for Practice of the Year in AJ100 Awards

FCBStudios have been named as one of nine practices in the running for AJ100 Practice of the Year 2020.

Geoff Rich, Managing Partner, FCBStudios said “We are thrilled to be shortlisted as Practice of the Year, which we feel is a recognition of our all-round success as a practice over the past year. Our workload remained strong, particularly in the Higher Education, Residential, and Arts and Culture sectors, with major projects including Murrays’ Mills and the University of Southampton Centenary Building completing. Our ongoing work with the Architects Declare movement has been instrumental in shaping the national agenda on designing for climate change. This is reflected in our own ambitious programme for delivering zero carbon across our portfolio of projects by 2030, building on our 40 years of expertise in pioneering environmental design. We are beginning this year with a portfolio of important cross-sector projects which will help to shape places throughout the UK and internationally. “

FCBStudios are ranked in12th place in the survey of the top architecture practices, for the second year running.

The Practice of the Year award is based on business and quality of design output and takes into account both key business data from the main AJ100 research and findings from the employee satisfaction survey and the winner will be announced in September.

Murrays' Mills shortlisted for AJ100 Building of the Year

Murrays’ Mills in Ancoats, Manchester is one of nine projects shortlisted for the AJ100 Building of the Year. Described by the awards as “a residential scheme which mixes the redevelopment of an 18th-century cotton mill with key contextual new-build elements,” the scheme has given the oldest surviving steam-powered cotton mill in the world a new lease of life as the flagship project for the neighbourhood.  

The sought-after award is given in recognition of the finest building completed by an AJ100-listed practice in the past 12 months. The winners of all the AJ100 awards will be announced in September. 

Planning applications are submitted for the next phase of Sheffield's Heart of the City II

Planning applications for the next phase of the Heart of the City II scheme, which include a cultural destination and a new low operational carbon office building, have been submitted by Sheffield City Council this month. The announcement marks another milestone for Sheffield’s landmark regeneration project, as it continues to transform the city centre.

Block H, located between Wellington Street, Carver Street and Cambridge Street, sits at the centre of the Heart of the City II masterplan and includes some of the most interesting heritage buildings within the masterplan.

The FCBStudios designed proposals for the block aim to create a new ‘cultural heart’ for the scheme, which will combine existing and new architecture to provide a destination which has a character uniquely of the place.

The proposals for a collection of spaces, The Cambridge Street Collective, sit behind Henry’s Corner and Bethel Sunday School on Cambridge Street – include a large, industrial-style space where people will be able to meet to eat, drink and be entertained. The historic building fronts will be retained and adapted to bring them back into use, with a new structure stitching the whole collective together.

Wrapping this space will be complementary shops, a bar and restaurant, and an upper level leisure space. The existing Bethel Chapel building will also be renovated, with plans for this to become a live entertainment venue.

Next to Cambridge Street Collective, a visually striking low operational carbon office building is proposed for the vacant site in between Cambridge Street and Carver Street. The new premises will provide approximately 70,000 sq. ft of Grade A office space over seven upper floors, with shops, restaurants or cafés at the ground floor. The building’s dark coloured metal finish is inspired by Sheffield’s celebrated industrial past, allowing it to complement heritage assets across the Block H site.

Alex Whitbread, Partner, FCBStudios, said: "Our approach recognises the significance of the buildings on Cambridge Street as a collection, and the story they tell of how the area has developed over nearly 200 years.

By celebrating and working with the existing fabric we will create a place that is distinctly ‘of Sheffield’, while also reflecting Sheffield’s bold and forward-looking ambition in which a new context will be created for the old.

Contemporary new buildings will be inserted and situated next to the existing fabric to create permeable routes through the site and new areas of public realm. These structures will also enclose a new gathering space that is reminiscent of some of the city’s lost markets, providing a new backdrop for the next chapter of Cambridge Street’s development.”

Andrew Davison, Project Director at Queensberry, commented: “The plans for Block H epitomise our ambition to create places with character and personality that will bring something entirely unique to Sheffield city centre. Cambridge Street Collective promises to become a destination that both locals and visitors will cherish and enjoy, and we are very excited about bringing this vision to life.”

Digital consultation opens on FCBStudios' proposed scheme for 67-75 Piccadilly, Manchester

A second round of consultation has opened regarding the future of 67-75 Piccadilly / 4-6 Newton Street and the Grade II listed 69-75 Piccadilly. Due to the current situation, this is an online consultation.

The proposed scheme is focused on the retention of the Grade II listed building as well as the introduction of a high-quality contemporary 4-star+ hotel across 67 and 69-75 Piccadilly, creating a distinctive gateway to the Northern Quarter on a prominent site.

The hotel is a joint venture partnership between Eastern Green and an international hotel brand and would provide 151 bedrooms, a rooftop terrace, as well as a bar and café on the ground floor.

Improvements to the public realm surrounding the site, creating an open and welcoming space outside the hotel, while establishing a sense of safety at the corner of Piccadilly and Newton Street. The planting of trees and the provision of seating areas would help to create a high-quality public area for customers, hotel residents and pedestrians passing through.

Detailed information can be found on this website. and comments are open until Friday 19 June.

First precast facade panels installed at City of London Academy, Shoreditch Park

Construction of the new City of London Academy, Shoreditch Park (CoLASP), within the ambitious Hackney Britannia Masterplan has reached a major milestone with the installation of the first of the façade panels.

The façade is constructed using a profiled precast concrete façade system with inlaid brickwork, supported by a lightweight steel frame. This has allowed for fast erection on site while minimising construction site area. The first 50 of 500 profiled precast façade panels have been installed, including beam panels with the school name and crest, the Council logo and a series of music pattern panels, which run in a ribbon on the ground floor to the north east of the building.

Take a look on site in this film

When complete in summer 2021. the secondary school will provide places for 1140 students from 11-18 years, including a sixth-form of 200.

Centenary Building shortlisted for RIBA South Award

A new learning and teaching building for the University of Southampton has been shortlisted for a Regional RIBA Award.

The judges said “These modern, shared learning and teaching facilities for the university’s Highfield Campus contain a 250-person lecture theatre, Harvard-style lecture theatre, nine seminar rooms, independent study spaces, computer room, MBA suite and a café. Part of the brief was for the student hub to increase campus permeability and connect into and regenerate its public realm. As a result, it acts as a focus to a sequence of terraces growing from the lower landscaped gardens to the upper ground.  The column-free nine and four storey wings of the BREEAM Excellent concrete frame building were built for durability and employ simple environmental systems. Reflective ceramic cladding and large-format fluted tiles give the building a modern yet timeless feel.

The Centenary Building is one of four FCBStudios projects shortlisted for regional RIBA Awards in 2020, alongside Murrays' Mills, The Beam and St Albans Place

May 2020

FCBStudios named as part of Southwark Council and LHC architect design services framework

One of 110 teams selected for a £10.5million architectural services framework, FCBStudios are one of 10 practices on the framework to deliver ‘Education, social care and community projects (£10m+)’.

The four year framework aims to promote innovation through design and by partnering and is committed to create good quality public sector design for the 2020s.  Led by the Southwark Regeneration team, it has a broad scope to deliver new homes as well as landscape design, commercial, educational, industrial, community, social care and other requirements.

FCBStudios has a strong track record of working on public projects in Southwark. We completed the first phase of the Charter School East Dulwich in 2019, with design work now continuing on the second phase, and are looking forward to the new building for Rotherhithe Primary School starting on site in the summer.

Brighton & Hove City Council gives unanimous support to University of Sussex, West Slope residences

FCBStudios’ design for 1899 student rooms on the University of Sussex Falmer campus has been approved by Brighton & Hove City Council’s planning committee, with unanimous consent at a virtual meeting this week.

The West Slope residential development for University of Sussex provides three typologies of student rooms together with ground level student amenities comprising student hubs, launderettes, a supermarket, health centre, student library and a cafe. Balfour Beatty is developing the scheme, and once complete will operate the student housing on behalf of the University.

The new buildings, and their relationship to the parkland campus, have been designed to respect and enhance the vision of the campus’ founding architect, Sir Basil Spence. Spence worked collaboratively with landscape architect Dame Sylvia Crow on the original campus, which focussed on capturing the natural landscape of the South Downs chalk valley. The landscape, as Spence said, is as important as the architecture for the ‘Little Town in the Valley’.

The FCBStudios proposals, developed with Grant Associates, seek to reinforce this landscape / townscape concept in an integrated way. New landscape spaces in the valley and on the slopes are arranged in response to new student life and a relationship with nature against the backdrop of the South Downs National Park.

In the valley, the North Court forms a civic parkland which continues the original green thread of ancient woodland that weaves its way through the bottom of the valley. The residential buildings form and animate a new public space, and at ground floor level include the residential reception and space for a replacement Health and Wellbeing Centre, as well as amenities to include a supermarket, and pavilion library.

The West Slope is a steeply sloping site adjacent to the South Downs National Park. The scheme retains the character of the existing parkland setting and the student clusters and townhouses propose an integrated architectural and landscape design. It is respectful of the existing mature trees and creates garden terraces around these trees for the smaller neighbourhood clusters of residences to use, occupy, and claim as part of their identity.

The West Slope clusters, which make up roughly three-quarters of the accommodation, touch the ground lightly. They have been developed and positioned to minimise excavation, retain as many trees as possible and respond to the contours of the site. Four storeys in height, they contain two cluster flats per floor of seven and eight bedrooms with associated kitchen, dining and living space arranged around a single stair and lift which again acts as a space for social interaction. These rooms will have wonderful views of the trees and the surrounding landscape.

At the centre, a special West Slope cluster contains a student hub at ground level and is one storey higher to identify its significance.

The townhouse terraces sit on the contours running along the site. Their living spaces at ground level are visually open to encourage interaction with other groups of students and help to form communities. The family units are located away from the more socially active student rooms with their own external and internal play areas.

Located on the West Slope of the campus, the new residences are part of the continuing evolution of the Sussex campus to improve the University’s facilities, ensure the best possible student experience and continue the architectural legacy of Sir Basil Spence.

The scheme is inspired by and respectful of the 1960s Spence campus. The architecture is intended not to be an overt pastiche of the architectural language employed in his work at the University of Sussex, but as a continuation of his ideas of public space, enjoyment and learning, enveloped, connected and surrounded by landscape.

The unanimous approval has recognised that our scheme will bring high-quality facilities and architecture to the site, providing the University with the accommodation it needs.

The materials for the new development are inspired by Spence and relate to the land – natural materials made from clay. Terracotta tiles - a contemporary interpretation of the local tile hanging and mathematical tiling of Brighton - are used in differing profiles and tones that reflect the light and animate the surfaces against the trees.

The proposals achieve BREEAM excellent. They include intensive green roofs to the villas - using a downland seed mix to encourage local biodiversity, greywater recycling, heat recovery from students’ showers, photovoltaics to the roofs of the North Court, reducing embodied carbon with the use of lightweight reusable structures and reduced embodied carbon to the foundations by minimising excavation and working with the landscape and topography. Natural ventilation, windows sizing optimised for performance and views, on site composting and provision for student allotments also contribute to student wellbeing, along with a generous allowance of cycle storage to encourage student cycling.

Environmental sustainability, as well as maintaining the features of the unique landscape setting within the South Downs, underpins the project.

It is anticipated that minimal work will be done on the project until further decisions are taken later this year on proceeding with the enabling works. The accommodation would be delivered in several phases over a four-year period once these works are completed.




Ulster University Belfast Campus Tops Out

A major milestone has been reached in the construction of the Ulster University Greater Belfast Development.  A topping-out ceremony was held on the thirteenth floor, marking the achievements of the client,  the whole project team and the contractor Somague Sacyr in the ongoing construction of the University Buildings.

The project heralds a moved from the suburban Jordanstown Campus, into the City Centre’s Scotch and Cathedral Quarter, driving regeneration and development of the area. Once complete, the University’s six faculties will be positioned together, within this thriving cultural quarter.

Making Models - A Short Film

Whether used to generate or test ideas or as a tool to communicate with clients and the wider public, architects have been using models for centuries. An integral part of the design process, cutting, pinning, shifting, adding or subtracting small pieces of card or blocks of foam creates room for inspiration and drives the design process, whereas an intricately created showpiece, be it a miniature replica of the final scheme, or an abstract object which celebrates a core element of the design thinking, are sculpted and formed to stand the test of time, a piece of art in their own right.

Making Models,  a short film made by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios with Kate Goodwin, Head of Architecture and Drue Heinz Curator at the Royal Academy of Arts, explores in more detail how and why we use architectural models and the skill and craftmanship that goes into their creation. Watch the film.

Kate will be in conversation online with FCBStudios partner Hugo Marrack and modelmaker, Cassidy Wingrove, as part of the Architecture Foundation 100 Day Studio. For more details and to join the event click here.

Can primary schools adapt to a post-lockdown world?

Helen Roberts, FCBStudios Partner and schools sector lead, responds: 

The unconfirmed suggestion for primaries is that year 6 would return first, to enable them to prepare for the important transition of moving up to secondary school. That on its own would not be so difficult to implement – assuming that children, parents and staff were confident that they would be safe from infection when travelling to/from school, as well as throughout the day. It may require one class to be spread over two rooms, or for children to take it in turns to come to school for a morning or an afternoon - and a building that is not fully occupied with other years will afford at least some short-term spatial planning opportunities – staff availability and numbers allowing of course.

But what is the picture if children all return to school? As my 10 year old pointed out, there would need to be twice as many classrooms, and twice as many teachers, to make social-distancing, as we now know it, work in his primary school. That’s not going to happen by 1st June, or indeed ever. The fact that the government ‘guidelines’ on area provision for all schools have only reduced with every recent revision of the Building Bulletins, to keep investment to an absolute minimum, means there is little room to play with in any school, in the very best of circumstances, unless it is hugely undersubscribed, let alone when teachers and children are all recommended to be 2m away from each other because of a pandemic.

Therefore, a full school, without any adaptations, running even a vaguely normal time-table, is a much harder thing to imagine now. Schools, by their nature, encourage gathering. A happy school functions like a mini-society; it depends on celebration, on communal eating, large gatherings and small group work alike, where people do things together. It is where children develop emotionally and socially as well as academically, and this, as much as informal learning, depends on interaction. Children are not mini-adults, and even those who are old enough to understand the issues will find it hard, once back in a familiar setting, to comply with a new set of behavioural rules that seek to separate them from each other.

Children will be desperate to get back to school to see their friends, but they have also been exposed to the fears of their parents, the restrictions of government to keep away from other people, and they may have lost relatives to CV19. Their reintroduction to school will force these issues to be tackled too. Re-designing schools, as suggested by the Scottish government, or the odd ‘quick fix’ - like more handwash stations, temporary ‘rooms’ in the playground, and distance markings on the floor, will only be a relatively small part of the solution, even though they may certainly help.

Do secondary schools have different challenges?

It may be more successful to get older age groups to comply with newly imposed rules in school but, in the same way that primary schools can tangibly feel like happy and confident places, so too do secondaries, because of shared endeavour and community spirit.

The secondary curriculum requires a lot of teaching to take place in specialist classrooms, with fixed equipment and a prescriptive layout. Such rooms, like science labs, with services provided to fixed island benches, work fantastically, but they are the response to a specific set of briefing requirements and known pedagogy. Change all of this, because you can’t teach in groups of 24-30 any more and the space utilisation becomes inefficient; there suddenly aren’t enough subject teachers, and the timetable doesn’t work.

Unlike primary school pupils, secondary students move around a lot. They do this in huge chattering crowds, of course, and even in most schools, where lunchtime is staggered over multiple sittings, there will still be hundreds of students on the move at lesson changeover, typically on corridors which are typically no wider than 2.4m, and they will pass through a 900mm wide door opening to get into a classroom, often after waiting outside in a line. We cannot easily change these dimensions or this routine, but it could all be done if it had to - and if there was funding, plus a little time. Extending the school day/term will likely not be viable for lots of understandable reasons, but it would make the building work harder for longer – and be accessible to more students, for as long as distance restrictions are in place.

Will architects be asked to help to address the issues [and should they be?]  

Architects are obviously expert in how existing space can be best used; how constraints can be worked within to promote a new mode of operation and how a simple intervention might liberate a planning problem. These skills are absolutely relevant to the immediate issue of getting children and young people back in to school, even though they can offer only part of the solution. Extensions and alterations will likely be out of the question in the short-term (by 1st June), but if funding magically becomes available, of course things could be done - The Nightingale Hospital proves this. FCBStudios will certainly be hoping to help our schools clients think about how their buildings could better serve them through this crisis, to see whether small adaptations, ideas about people flow, use of entrances, ensuring optimum ventilation, exploiting the potential of any underused spaces etc. etc. can help them to revive their schools. This is part of our social commitment and we expect many architects will want to act in the same way.

What are the longer term impacts on school design resulting from the coronavirus crisis 

The possibility of teaching smaller groups, in buildings which allow a loose-fit, where some spaces are technically under-occupied, calls for an immediate increase in space overall and, of course, more teachers and TAs, or, at the very least, IT equipment to allow sharing screens across multiple rooms. Achieving this is dependent on government desire, policy and investment. Spaces which can be flexibly used, do not contain lots of fixed equipment, and lend themselves to easy connections to adjacent spaces, have been driven out of the area allowances in current state school budgets. Spaces are prescriptive to meet direct curriculum needs and anything seen as flexible for the sake of it has been deemed excessive.

Whilst the current area allowances and their attendant budgets, can lead to buildings that work acceptably in optimum circumstances, we may need to be designing with the expectation that CV-19’s descendant will affect education delivery in the future too. We will need bigger classrooms, more toilets and washbasins, more sliding partitions, some overspill spaces that are not regularly timetabled, and we will need to ensure environmental comfort at all times.

On a temporary basis, we could think of running two school cohorts in one set of buildings. FCBStudios are currently looking at school provision for a new urban community in Rwanda where the school-age population is 30 percent of the total population. In many areas, this is regarded as a workable, albeit temporary solution, (on top of the fact that class sizes tend to be 50 percent larger than ours) but of course, it puts more pressure on both buildings and, more importantly, the teaching profession, and we would struggle to cope for very long with this in the UK. In the short term, we will probably need the continuation of more distance learning in schools, which might buffer with the transitional period.

It is appealing to think that, with the potential for lower infection transmission rates, teachers might become more enthused about teaching and learning taking place outside, especially in primary schools. BSF and Academies programmes talked so effusively about outdoor learning (beyond PE), and often the space is there but is not used creatively for lessons that are expected to take place in a rectilinear classroom. Going into the summer term, spending more time outdoors, especially for the millions of children who’ve lived without outdoor space throughout this pandemic, I am tempted by the thought that primary school maths could be taught in the open air – where the air quality might be better too.

Material Matters by PechaKucha

For International PechaKucha Day 2020 we brought together a programme of inspiring speakers who have considered materials in new ways to reduce waste, create strategies for reuse and reduce the embodied carbon of the products they design.

Staged alongside our current exhibition, ‘Carbon Counts’, the evening, entitled ‘Material Matters’ covered topics ranging from product design, fashion, bio-fragmentation and architecture. Communications design expert, Sophie Thomas, shone a light on what happens to our unwanted products, Juan Ferrari and Ruth Kelly Waskett, lighting designers from Hoare Lea asked how we can become more comfortable living without artificial light, and textile designer, Laetitia Forst, explored design solutions for creating new recyclable materials for fashion.  

FCBStudios’ Marcus Rothnie explored how we found appropriate construction uses for plastic that correspond to the material’s longevity in two projects – one high tech, one very low tech - for the annual Forest of the Imagination festival in Bath, and how they engaged the community in thinking about the issue and forming good habits.

All the presentations from the evening are now available to view here.

April 2020

FCBStudios joins collaborative 3D printing project for the NHS

FCBStudios has joined forces with a collaborative project called ‘The Industry Prints’. The initiative has seen a number of practices working together to help contribute towards the staggering shortages of personal protective equipment being experienced by the NHS across the country.  

Full-time modelmaker at FCBStudios, Cassidy Wingrove, has set up a temporary modelmaking studio in his home using a 3D printer to produce components for face shields. These will be sent to a central distribution centre where they will be assembled, sterilised, and delivered to the areas where the need is greatest.

Cassidy said: “The current situation has called for new and innovative solutions to the challenges that we are facing in our day to day lives. The reaction to the national issue of PPE shortages has been astonishing, with thousands of companies and individuals using their 3D printers to help in any way they can. We decided to get involved and managed to overcome some of the challenges encountered, such as sterilisation, distribution and quality control, by joining up with a national 3D printing society, who are managing these issues from a central hub.

It has been fascinating to witness the speed at which the design process is working on this project, with continuous feedback informing new versions that better suit the needs of the end user. We’re looking forward to continuing production for as long as needed and as a practice are looking at other ways to do more.”

Information on the visor design, model files and operating procedures are available to download via The Industry Prints website. And if you don’t have a 3D printer, you can still help by donating to the Contractors Appeal which is fundraising to buy more PPE equipment for NHS frontline staff.

Brabazon Bristol shortlisted in Housing Design Awards 2020

Brabazon first phase housing scheme in Bristol has been shortlisted in the Housing Design Awards 2020 ‘Project’ category.

Located on the former Filton Airfield, home to Hurricane Aircraft in World War 2 and the birthplace of Concorde and supersonic travel, this historic landmark is set to be transformed into Brabazon, a thriving new neighbourhood for Bristol.

The first phase of new homes will form a highly sustainable residential quarter that will set the tone for the transformation of this 380-acre site.

The Housing Design Awards are the most prestigious awards in the sector recognising the very best in UK housing. Results will be announced at an awards ceremony on Wednesday 2nd September 2020.

Architects Declare Embodied Carbon symposium: Presentations now online

Signatories of Architects Declare came together in FCBStudios’ London studio in March 2020, for a day of learning and debate around embodied carbon.

The embodied carbon of a building is made up of the impacts from the extraction, processing, manufacture and packaging of the materials used in its construction; the carbon emissions resulting from their transport and construction on site, maintenance over their life span and what happens after the building is demolished.

Divided into three parts, and introduced by Peter Clegg, senior partner at FCBStudios and member of the Architects Declare steering group, recordings of all the presentations are now available to watch on Vimeo here

Simon Sturgis, Targeting Zero
Jane Anderson, Construction LCA

Elemental Impacts
Andrew Wylie
, Buro Happold – Reducing embodied carbon of structure
Louise Harnot, Elementa – Impact of MEP
Louisa Bowles, HawkinsBrown – Modelling elements at different stages
Andrew Waugh, Waugh Thistleton – Using timber in construction

Embodied Carbon in Practice
Joe Jack Williams,
FCBStudios - Embodied Carbon within the practice and FCBStudios' route to zero carbon
Anis Abou-Zaki – International perspectives on embodies carbon
Christian Dimbleby – Refurb and retrofit decision process
Ben Hopkins – Delivering embodied carbon savings

Craig Robertson
– RIBA 2030 and embodied carbon
Maria Smith – Broader scene-setting and shift of culture required.

Read more about FCBStudios' route to zero carbon, in our Explore blog. 

Hayle North Quay shortlisted in Housing Design Awards 2020

Hayle North Quay has been shortlisted in the Housing Design Awards 2020 ‘Project’ category.

Since the decline of the Cornish mining industries, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hayle harbour has lain derelict since the 1970s. But the regeneration of this unique site is now underway, delivering a vibrant new coastal community activated by nature, leisure and living.

North Quay features a range of dwellings from three bed wharfhouses to one, two and three bed apartments, with the majority benefiting from private outdoor space and generous proportioned terraces overlooking the new public square and harbourside. Many of the dwellings are dual aspect maximising the benefits of sunlight and visual connectivity with the harbour.

The Housing Design Awards are the most prestigious awards in the sector recognising the very best in UK housing. Results will be announced at an awards ceremony on Wednesday 2nd September 2020.

360 virtual tour allows design team to explore "grandfather of all skyscrapers"

An innovative virtual reality tour of Shrewsbury Flaxmill Malting has enabled the project team to explore and view the building from multiple angles when not on site.

Tim Greensmith, Associate from FCBStudios said: “This Matterport 360 degree camera survey was commissioned by Historic England at our request. It has been very useful in allowing members of the design team and contracting team to explore issues on site.

We are currently working with Seeable, the company who created the survey, to generate virtual reality representations of the Kiln entrance and Main Mill fourth floor co-working space for the purpose of marketing.”

The interactive tour also offers a new experience for those who go to the visitor centre, to be able to see inside before the building is fully opened in the summer of 2021.

The site comprises eight listed buildings, including the Main Mill, which when built in 1797, was the world's first iron-framed building, paving the way for the modern skyscrapers that now burst through the skylines of our major commercial centres. It is one of the most important buildings of the industrial revolution.

March 2020

Sustainable hot springs heated floor one step closer at Bath Abbey

Two-thirds of Bath Abbey’s historic floor have now been fully restored and saved from collapse as part of Phase 2 of the Abbey’s Footprint project.

Essential work has been taking place over the last 6-8 months in the north side of the church in order to stabilise and repair the collapsing floor in this area, with surface repairs being made to ensure the floor is even and accessible throughout. Historic ledgerstones, some dating back to the 17th century, have been reinstated and where needed, new stones have been re-laid depending on the level of damage to the original stones.

Once the Footprint project is completed, an eco-friendly underfloor heating system using sustainable energy from Bath’s hot springs will be installed throughout, and the Abbey will be reopened up to be enjoyed in its full glory by future generations.

Image: ©Bath Abbey

St Albans Place shortlisted for RIBA Yorkshire Awards

One of 11 schemes on the RIBA regional shortlist for Yorkshire,  St Albans Place, student housing for VITA, is a 7,11 and 18 storey serviced apartment building which brings a sense of home and belonging to its residents.

The 376 studios range from 20m2 to 34m2. Each one contains kitchen and ensuite facilities and is well planned to feel spacious and have impressive views across the city. At ground floor and mezzanine level is a student Hub where residents can build friendships and connect with their city.

Peter Cartright, RIBA Yorkshire Judging Panel Chair said “This year’s shortlist of potential RIBA award winners in Yorkshire covers a wide range of sectors with many schemes reinventing existing buildings rather than building new, which is great to see. We are very interested in the operation and performance of buildings, as opposed to purely how they look – their beauty must be more than skin deep. We believe awards should go to buildings which will continue to look good for years to come, taking into consideration their low carbon strategy and approach to whole life cost.”

All shortlisted buildings will now be assessed by a regional jury with the winning buildings announced at an awards ceremony at Cutlers’ Hall, Church St, Sheffield on 4 June 2020.  If successful, the Regional Award winners will be considered for a highly-coveted RIBA National Award in recognition of their architectural excellence, the results of which will be announced in July.

FCBStudios among five finalists in RIBA contest for Rwanda eco-city

FCBStudios have been named as one of five teams shortlisted in the RIBA international design competition for a 600ha residential masterplan in Kigali, Rwanda.

Green City Kigali is a sustainable urban development project supported by Rwanda’s Green Fund and German Development Cooperation. The competition selection process sought to appoint an experienced and suitably qualified Urban and Architectural Design Consultant organisation to further develop their masterplan proposals for the 600 hectare Kinyinya Hill area, together with a detailed masterplan and associated construction stage information for the pilot development.

The five applicant teams have now been invited to participate in the design competition and tender phase.

Read more about the competition and finalists on Architects' Journal and RIBA.

FCBStudios' scheme to become ‘cultural heart' of Sheffield's Heart of the City II

Plans have been unveiled for Sheffield Council’s Heart of the City II development which create a new ‘cultural heart’ and retain a significant amount of existing heritage.

FCBStudios have developed plans for Block H, located on the site between Wellington Street, Carver Street and Cambridge Street, which will provide a wide-ranging development split into three distinct elements (H1, H2 and H3). A period of public consultation on H2 and H3 is currently underway, ahead of a planning submission this Spring.

H2 will be a brand-new building offering approximately 70,000 sq ft of Grade A office space, split across seven upper floors and boasting an impressive south-facing roof terrace, with retail and food and beverage units on the ground floor.

The visually striking, dark-coloured metal building will take inspiration from Sheffield’s celebrated industrial past. H2 has been designed to be energy efficient in operation, emitting around 40% less carbon than a typical Building Regulations compliant design.

The development for H3 (to be known as Cambridge Street Collective) aims to retain as much of the quality, existing fabric and façades along Cambridge Street and Wellington Street as feasible – helping to attractively balance the old and new across the site.

Our proposals for Cambridge Street Collective include a large, industrial-style space, which would be perfectly suited to a food hall or similar sociable, communal offer. Wrapping this space would be complementary shops, a bar and restaurant, and an upper-level leisure space. The existing Bethel Chapel building will also be renovated, with plans for this to become a live entertainment venue.

Although not part of this planning application, the site is also home to Leah’s Yard (H1) – a Grade II* Listed building housing a collection of small former industrial workshops. Plans are still at an early stage, however, there is a real desire from the project team to maintain the building’s unique Sheffield character by providing similar workshops for the city’s next creative generation. In the meantime, Listed Building Consent is being sought by the Council to undertake the structural works required to make the buildings secure.

Councillor Mazher Iqbal, Cabinet Member for Business and Investment at Sheffield City Council, explained the vision: “We will be retaining a lot of attractive heritage across the Heart of the City II site, while also ensuring we create new spaces that are sustainable to the local economy. With some of the most interesting architecture in the city centre, Block H was always going to be one of the most rewarding blocks in the masterplan. We truly believe that these new plans will help provide a cultural heart and social anchor to the scheme.”

In a bid to ensure a viable and attractive development – one that also respects the heritage assets on the Block H site, Sheffield City Council and its Strategic Development Partner, Queensberry, have been working closely with heritage interest groups in the city. They have been discussing design and usage ideas.

The emerging proposals for this block now showcase the retention of far more original architecture than envisaged in the 2018 masterplan. Plans now include the preservation and sympathetic restoration of the quality fabric and façades along Cambridge Street and Wellington Street, including the listed Bethel Sunday School and Leah’s Yard, as well as the Bethel Chapel and the buildings that formerly housed Brewhouse and Henry’s. The historic buildings fronting these streets will be kept with internal adaptations and reconstruction carried out where necessary to bring them back into use.

Nick Roscoe of Hallamshire Historic Buildings, said: “Sheffield City Council should be commended for taking this enlightened and forward-thinking approach to the interesting range of buildings that we can see on Cambridge Street and Wellington Street today.

“They have brought in first class architects and consulted carefully with stakeholders to make the most of these precious heritage assets. This is a project to be proud of and an approach we hope to see followed again.

Due to the current situation, Public consultations drop-in sessions on 25 and 26 March will no longer take place. Instead, more information about the plans is being added to the Heart of the City 2 website. 

The pre-application consultation period will run 12 March to 14 April 2020.
Click here to complete the online response form.

The Beam shortlisted for an RIBA Northeast Award

The Beam’ is the first phase centrepiece of the ambitious regeneration of the former Vaux Brewery site in Sunderland City Centre.

The speculative office building provides five floors of Grade A accommodation with views across the River Wear towards the Wearmouth Bridge and ground floor retail, café and restaurant offers. Designed with health and wellbeing in mind it is a sustainable and appealing workplace.

RIBA North East Regional Director, Amanda Khan, said: The North East region continues to play host to a remarkable array of carefully-crafted buildings. I congratulate all practices who have been shortlisted in this competitive process. We received a high standard of entries from a range of national and international practices..

Six projects are shortlisted for the RIBA Northeast Awards.. 

Murrays' Mills on RIBA Northwest Awards shortlist

FCBStudios’ transformation of Murrays' Mills - the oldest surviving steam-powered cotton mill in the world - into 124 diverse dwellings, is one of 10 projects to be shortlisted for a RIBA Northwest Award.

Our brief to restore and transform the Mills was relatively simple; to create a new community, and to let the buildings’ layout, character and heritage inform how this was achieved. Through the sensitive conversion of the mills into modern-day dwellings and the addition of a new building which completes the mill courtyard, Murrays’ Mills has spearheaded the regeneration of the Ancoats neighbourhood.

All shortlisted projects will now be assessed by a regional jury with the winning projects announced at an awards ceremony at the Liverpool Everyman on 21 May 2020.

St Albans Place has also been shortlisted for a RIBA Yorkshire Award. 

Alexandra Palace highly commended at Civic Trust Awards

The regeneration of Alexandra Palace’s East Wing and Victorian Theatre has been rewarded as one of the successful projects for the 2020 Civic Trust Awards,  being highly commended in the AABC Conservation Awards. 

The brief was focussed on reviving the Victorian theatre, the East Court and adjoining areas, and called for some far-reaching design interventions and careful conservation. The scheme has been designed not simply to bring these historic spaces back into viable use, but to create an entirely new experience for contemporary audiences.

The Civic Trust Awards are an independent awards scheme with the objective to recognise projects that have made a positive contribution to the local communities they serve. The 61st Anniversary Awards Ceremony took place on Friday 6th March 2020 at the Imperial War Museum North, in Trafford, Manchester.

February 2020

The Beam shortlisted for RICS Social Impact Award

The Beam, a speculative office in Sunderland by FCBStudios, is one of 34 projects shortlisted in the Commercial Category, in the North East Regional Awards. 

The Beam is the first building to be completed on the landmark Vaux Site and is part of a 15-year regeneration project which, once complete, will extend the city centre, create thousands of jobs and have a major social and economic impact on the region. Designed with five themes in mind: a healthy office, a sustainable workplace, an appealing workplace, a lean building and a contextual response, the Beam sets a high standard of workplace accommodation for the ambitious regeneration of the site.

The projects shortlisted for the RICS Social Impact Awards 2020 are reflective of the outstanding work being done within the built environment, recognising the built environment's positive and transformational contribution to society. The winners will be announced on 1 May, and go forward to the National Awards.

Creativity Pavilion opens at Alexandra Palace

Alexandra Palace’s Creativity Pavilion provides a new home in the recently developed East Wing of the building for the charity’s Creative Learning programme. The programme uses the history of the Park and Palace and the arts to inspire people of all ages and backgrounds to develop new skills and boost their health and well-being.

Designed by East Wing project architects FCBStudios, the pavilion has the flexibility to be transformed and adapted for a range of activities; including interactive workshops for schools, music and theatrical performances, community-curated exhibitions, creative sessions for people with disabilities and family drop-in classes, such as Baby Jazz.

The upper levels of the space form a light box, whilst below a series of fixed and moveable panels enable the space to be enclosed from the rest of the East Court or opened up to become part of the larger space. The interior is equipped with a lighting rig and speakers which gives a theatrical feel, whilst the new suspended ceiling and motorised curtain rail allows for the space to be darkened for projection. The Creativity Pavilion provides a welcoming, inspiring and modern fit-for-purpose facility which contributes to the vibrancy of the newly restored East Wing.

The opening of the new Creativity Pavilion is another step in Alexandra Palace’s mission – along with the renovated Victorian Theatre, and the transformation of East Court – to repair, restore and maintain the Park and Palace for public recreation and enjoyment.

Daniel Burt, Architect at Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios said: “The Creativity Pavilion is a flexible, inclusive space which will be host to a huge array of workshops, exhibitions and events for schools, families, young people, adults with disabilities and older people at Alexandra Palace. We wanted the space to communicate a sense of excitement, enlivening the East Court, and provide a welcoming and secure environment in which the Palace can expand their ambitious cultural and community programmes.”

The official launch on Tuesday 25 February included the opening of a new exhibition called Little Inventors. This is the culmination of a year-long project that challenged children across north London to start on their own inventive journey, inspired by the innovative spirit of the adventurers and aeronauts of who have appeared at Alexandra Palace over the years. Four winners were selected, and their designs brought to life by redLoop, the design and innovation centre at Middlesex University, and will be displayed in the Creativity Pavilion until 24 March.

Louise Stewart, chief executive at Alexandra Park and Palace Charitable Trust, said: “We’re delighted to be opening the Creativity Pavilion. Having a dedicated and specially designed space for these activities means we will be much better placed to deliver creative activities to inspire people of all ages and backgrounds. It’s going to be exciting to see how this space will support the charity to benefit more people in new ways.

“The Creativity Pavilion also marks the latest phase in our restoration of the park and palace. To see how much this space has changed in the last few years is almost unbelievable, and we’d like to thank everyone who has worked with us to make this possible.


Former Ladywell Leisure Centre Development Site: Ideas welcome at community drop-in event

FCBStudios have been appointed by Lewisham Homes (on behalf of Lewisham Council) to develop design proposals for the redevelopment of the former Ladywell Leisure Centre site for new housing and retail uses. The aspiration is to provide 50 per cent new social rented council homes.

Kelly Green, Associate at FCBStudios said “The Ladywell site is a fantastic opportunity to extend the work already done by Lewisham Homes to provide quality housing for those who need it most. Following our resident drop-in event in November last year we are looking for local people to get involved in the design process and to contribute their ideas for the site. “
During the community workshop, local artist Jake Sherwood will be creating an interactive site model to be used by residents and school children to propose their own designs through Lego building, along with other activities such as wayfinding maps, sticky note comments and discussion with the design team.
He said “It’s really exciting for me to be part of the consultation process at this early stage - where good engagement, and good art, can have the most impact. Models like this one have a fantastic ability to help visualise and contextualise what might be built, but also give a critical and creative opportunity for collective discussions during the making of the model that can help to shape later development.”
Jake has previously worked with Architects for Social Housing and Open House London while in Central Hill Estate on Gipsy Hill. His work in the community built relationships with residents, initially through portraiture then later in a more collective way, making an architectural model of the entire hill.
A community workshop event will take place at PLACE Ladywell Lewisham on 27 February, from 3 pm to 7 pm. More information is available at

Plans for third Circle Square office approved

A 215,000sq ft office block on the former BBC site on Oxford Road has been approved by Manchester City Council.

No. 3 Circle Square, for Bruntwood Sci-Tech follows on from 1&2 Circle Square and will offer 13 full floors of office space, with floor plates of approximately 16,400 sq ft. The open-plan ground floor space combines a reception area with retail and leisure amenities, as well as a cycle hub and showers. There will also be a new roof terrace and lounge at the top of the building, providing companies at Circle Square with a private garden space from which to work that complements the new state-of-the-art conference and events facilities provided at No.1 Circle Square.

Amanda Whittington, Partner, FCBStudios said “On the eastern side of the Circle Square masterplan, 3 Circle Square has a strong architectural presence along Newman Street and Princess Street. The scale reflects the significance of Corridor Manchester while being responsive enough to create a defined and intimate character around the main frontages and the new public realm of Symphony Park.  The building will command its own individual character, whilst maintaining common threads of architectural language and material quality defined within our overall masterplanning strategy. With its generous and inviting rooftop terrace and the retail at ground level, 3 Circle Square will be a flexible and sustainable working environment within a prominent grade A commercial offer.”

Circle Square, formerly the BBC Site, will create a new destination within Manchester City Centre, providing a dynamic mix of office, commercial retail / food and drink, hotel and leisure uses, residential accommodation for build-to-rent, a major new public green space, streets and cycle routes.

FCBStudios introduces ten Mental Health First Aiders

Ten members of FCBStudios have qualified as Mental Health First Aiders via Altruist with MHFA England.

Jayne Rolls, HR Associate said “Through this training, and for some of us through personal experience, we have an understanding of mental health and the factors that can affect wellbeing. We have been trained to listen, reassure and respond; providing a safe space to have a confidential conversation about mental health. We are not therapists and the aim is not to diagnose or treat but to encourage and support those to access the most appropriate help. We are also committed to supporting positive wellbeing in the practice and to address any stigma.

FCBStudios believes in the importance of mental health; to encourage a culture of wellbeing, where people are able to bring their whole selves to work so they can feel supported and included, particularly in the more difficult times.

Plans submitted to transform former Kellogg's site

The proposals, which have been put forward by Bruntwood Works and Trafford Council, include a residential-led mixed-use development, comprising a primary school, commercial workspace, hotel, public realm, a park and retail offerings.

The scheme, designed by FCBStudios, was showcased at a public consultation in November, where feedback was taken from local residents, businesses and stakeholders.

The project is part of the Council’s wider Civic Quarter Masterplan, which covers a 120-acre site that includes the town hall, Lancashire Cricket Club, the former Kellogg’s site – including University Academy 92 (UA92) campus – stretching up to the A56/Chester Road to White City retail park.

As part of the wider Civic Quarter Masterplan, the Council is set to build a new leisure centre; an improved public realm; create opportunities for new homes and offices; and improve cycle and pedestrian routes. There is also the potential for a new public piazza and ‘processional route’ linking Lancashire Cricket Club with Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium. The strategic vision is being created with consultancy team Planit-IE, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and Avison Young.

Now, the plans for the former Kellogg’s site have been submitted to Council planners, with a planning decision expected to be made by spring 2020.

Cllr Andrew Western, Leader of Trafford Council said: “These plans present a fantastic opportunity to provide much-needed housing, further develop local amenities, improve community use of the area and completely transform our public spaces. The plans aim to create a fantastic place for those who live and work here.”

Andrew Cooke, regional director for Bruntwood Works said: “We’re thrilled to be moving forward with our vision to create a new mixed-use development at the heart of the Trafford Civic Quarter community. We are passionate about creating thriving towns and cities, working with local businesses and stakeholders to help secure economic growth in the area."

Geoff Rich to speak at UN Habitat World Urban Forum

FCBStudios Partner, Geoff Rich, will be participating in the UN Habitat World Urban Forum (WUF10) in Abu Dhabi.

He will be speaking as part of the event on ‘Heritage & Culture-led development and Sustainable Architecture’ organised by UIA and AUA, and supporting the practice’s ongoing initiatives with the Climate Heritage Network and the Commonwealth Architects Association.

The Tenth Session of the World Urban Forum (WUF10) will hosted by Abu Dhabi, capital city of the United Arab Emirate from 8 – 13 February 2020 with the theme Cities of Opportunities: Connecting Culture and Innovation.

If you would like to meet with Geoff at WUF, please contact

January 2020

Planning consent granted for new commercial building in Clifton, Bristol

Detailed planning consent has been granted for a development on the derelict site at 2-16 Clifton Down Road adjacent to Clifton Arcade. The current derelict building, which has been out of use for six years, will be replaced by a new commercial building providing a food store, cafés, shops, a restaurant and offices that will add positively to the ongoing regeneration of the local area.

Architect Ashley Clayton said: “Working together with the developer THATGroup, the design team, and through consultation with the general public, the proposed scheme has been set respectfully within the surrounding context. New extensive landscaping to the surrounding streets, including resurfacing, planting and dedicated outdoor seating areas continue the well-established alfresco café dining of Boyce’s Avenue and will bring new life to Clifton Down Road itself. The proposed scheme is a result of listening to the people of Clifton and understanding how good contemporary design can enhance historically significant parts of cities”

Due to the historic context, the scheme has been designed to fit within its urban setting, drawing references from both the history of the site, and also from the existing, visible context which includes Georgian Terrace Houses and the Victorian Clifton Arcade enabling the scheme to feel ‘of the place.’

The Britannia Project highly commended at Building London Planning Awards

The Hackney Council-led scheme brings together education, leisure and housing on one site while maximising community benefit through delivering eight large-scale, intensively-used buildings into an already dense context. One of four projects in the Best Mixed-Use category, The Britannia Project was highly commended.

The Building London Planning Awards celebrate outstanding town planning and development in London and showcase the diverse talent working across the built environment sector. Schemes were judged by the Greater London Authority, London Councils, the Planning Officers Society and Royal Town Planning Institute.

Jules Pipe, Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration and Skills, said: â€‹“This year’s shortlist contains an extremely high standard of entries, which once again reflects the sheer range of talent in the capital. London needs thousands more genuinely affordable homes – and it is essential they are well-designed and supported with the workspaces, amenities and transport links needed to create places in which Londoners want to live and work.

The Britannia Project is currently onsite.  Read more here

LETI launch Climate Emergency Design Guide

LETI's Climate Emergency Design Guide, launching tonight, outlines the requirements of new buildings to ensure our climate change targets are met - setting out a definitive journey, beyond climate emergency declarations, into a net zero carbon future. It is specifically aimed towards developers/landowners, designers, policymakers, and the supply chain. It aims to help to define ‘good’ and to set clear and achievable targets.

The Guide covers 5 key areas: operational energy, embodied carbon, the future of heat, demand response and data disclosure. Our methodology includes setting the requirements of four key building archetypes (small scale residential, medium/large scale residential, commercial offices, and schools). The guide was developed by over 100 LETI volunteers over a period of 12 months, including Dr Joe Jack Williams, Researcher at FCBStudios.

This guidance demonstrates that the building industry knows how we should be designing buildings. In 2020 buildings that adopt these requirements now will be seen as leaders. By 2025 these requirements must become standard design practice otherwise the building industry will not meet our collective responsibility in this climate crisis.

LETI believe that in order to meet our climate change targets, in 2020 10% of all new projects developers and designers are involved in, should be designed to meet the requirements set out in this guide. Design teams will have the opportunity to register their projects as LETI Pioneer projects, to share knowledge and overcome barriers with other design teams working towards the same goal.

Peter Clegg, Partner, FCBStudios said: 'Following the recent declarations of climate and biodiversity crises, a new sense of urgency that has emerged within the environmental movement in architecture. It is characterised by an awareness of embodied as well as operational energy. It is focused on cradle-to-cradle lifecycle assessment of our buildings, and it is driven by the passion and enthusiasm of a new generation of architects and engineers who are determined to make change happen. The London Energy Transformation Initiative sits at the heart of this movement and their guide provides an inspirational ‘call to action’ for everyone in the built environment.'

Download the guide here.

FCBStudios Climate Awayday in Liverpool

Around 200 FCBStudios staff, from our five UK offices, will be gathering in Liverpool on 10/11 January 2020 for our annual Awayday weekend.

Based at the University of Liverpool School of Architecture, where we have recently completed a Masterplan for the City Centre Campus, the weekend will focus on the application of sustainable design principles in our future work, taking Liverpool as a backdrop for some fun and inspiration.

As well as the £1bn masterplan for The University of Liverpool, FCBStudios is also working on a 10-year strategy the National Museums Liverpool to rethink the maritime quarter, located at the heart of Liverpool’s UNESCO World Heritage Site.

2019 was a positive year for climate action. It was designated as a year of Green Action by Liverpool City Regions, and in July they declared a climate emergency and stated their aim to be carbon positive by 2030. FCBStudios are part of the steering group that launched Architects Declare and are at the forefront of defining and implementing the rapid and unprecedented changes needed. By 2025 all FCBStudios projects completed on-site will include zero carbon plans with operational performance targets for 2030.

The focus for our 2020 Awayday will be to share our climate action plans cross-practice, alongside real-life examples and strategies that will help us to achieve them. The Awayday will start with walking tours of Liverpool and its key buildings, putting the city’ past, present and future in focus. Saturday will be made up of talks and design workshops. Guest lecturers will introduce us to Liverpool’s architectural, cultural and environmental life and inspire sustainable design thinking.

Keith Bradley, senior partner at FCBStudios, said “Liverpool has a bold history of forward-thinking city planning and strong governance, and the guest speakers at our Awayday will be able to set the scene for how the city and its institutions are continuing to lead on social and climate justice. We hope to draw inspiration from them for our afternoon design session to further explore themes and ideas that will continue the collective climate action conversation within our practice about how to respond in our present and future work.”

Our afternoon design session will take an active approach, using our response to Architects Declare as a framework of ideas to be communicated through ‘pop-up installations’ on the dry dock on Liverpool’s waterfront. The outputs from each group aim to be provocative, polemical installations or interventions in the spirit of an Expo - espousing the principles of the Architects Declare statement.

Brabazon Housing starts on site

Construction has started on the first phase of housing at Brabazon, on the site of Filton Airfield. Enabling works and groundworks have been taking place from October through till late December, and on 24th December YTL took over the site as the main contractor and will now be managing the rest of the building works.

The first phase of new homes to be built at Brabazon will form a highly sustainable residential quarter that will set the tone for the transformation of this 380-acre site.

An official breaking ground ceremony took place with the planting of a ceremonial tree by the leader of South Gloucestershire Council Toby Savage, and Yeen Yeoh of the YTL family. The site was blessed by a local priest.

Cllr Savage called it a “momentous day. There has been so much talk over the years about building a new community here that properly pays homage to and respects the aviation heritage of Filton Airfield. It has been several years leading up to this point, and there are many years before it’s completed, but it’s an opportunity to do something really special, not just building new homes and creating new jobs but a new community. Today is the next part of that journey to start building the new homes of the future.”

The new neighbourhood will deliver 278 new homes: a range of family homes, private apartments and affordable homes all set within private gardens and community spaces

Final phase of Gallions Quarter masterplan gets go ahead

FCBStudios has gained planning permission for a major residential scheme, the final part of the Gallions Quarter masterplan.

Gallions Quarter 2b is a housing-led regeneration scheme being developed in partnership between Notting Hill Genesis, Telford Homes and the Greater London Authority. The scheme will provide 267 new homes - 51% of which will be affordable and 40% family units- with a concierge, residents’ gym and management/residents’ space.
Stephane Lambert, Associate at FCBStudios said “It’s an exciting moment for Gallions Quarter as Phase 2b is the final phase of Royal Albert Wharf’s regeneration programme. The introduction of a strong, traditional, urban structure of streets and blocks creates the opportunity to establish a new emerging community that stitches into the existing masterplan and placemaking. A mix of size and tenure across the development arranged around generous open spaces and high-quality public realm accessible to everyone."

Gallions Quarter is part of Notting Hill Genesis’ Royal Albert Wharf development in Newham, a vibrant, thriving and sustainable community, delivering over 1,800 new homes in an historic riverside and dockside setting. One of the first neighbourhoods to be delivered under the New London Plan, Royal Albert Wharf addresses London’s requirement for housing by optimising the site capacity with high-quality homes at an appropriate density.
The proposals for Plot 2b, within Macreanor Lavington’s Gallions Quarter masterplan, have been developed to relate to this future context of Royal Albert Wharf in its consistent use of colour, materials and clean modern aesthetic.
FCBStudios are also currently working on schemes for Gallions Quarter 3b and Great Eastern Quays Phase 2, delivering a total of over 950 homes within Royal Albert Wharf.

December 2019

Best wishes from FCBStudios

For a Happy Christmas and a successful New Year.

Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios will be closed for the holidays from 12.30 on Tuesday 24 December until 9.00 on Thursday 2 January.

We look forward to seeing you in 2020.

Image: Copper, from our current Carbon Counts exhibition. The exhibition reopens on 2 January. 

Alexandra Palace commended with Civic Trust Award

The regeneration of Alexandra Palace’s East Wing and Victorian Theatre has been revealed as one of the successful projects for the 2020 Civic Trust Awards, AABC Conservation Awards and Selwyn Goldsmith Awards. Fifty-six projects will receive either an Award or be Highly Commended, with a number of additional Special Awards presented to CTA winning schemes for excellence in specific areas.

The Civic Trust Awards are an independent awards scheme with the objective to recognise projects that have made a positive contribution to the local communities they serve. The 61st Anniversary Awards Ceremony will take place on Friday 6th March 2020 at the Imperial War Museum North, in Trafford, Manchester.

Staffordshire University appoints contractor to build £40m Catalyst project

Staffordshire University has appointed VINCI Construction UK as the main contractor for its £40m Catalyst building – a flagship regional hub for apprenticeships and digital skills.

Located in the heart of the UK at Staffordshire University’s Stoke-on-Trent campus, Catalyst will act as both a physical and virtual hub, connecting employers, students and apprentices from across the Midlands and beyond.

The project team consists of Mace as project and cost managers, FCBStudios as lead designer and architect, Max Fordham as mechanical and electrical engineers, and Momentum as structural and civil engineers. VINCI will commence construction works on the site of Staffordshire University’s recently demolished Brindley building in spring 2020.

Professor Martin Jones, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Staffordshire University, said: “We are delighted to announce VINCI Construction UK as the contractor for this exciting project. We look forward to working with VINCI and our other development partners to bring Catalyst to life, offering a state-of-the-art hub that will serve our communities and help us to realise our Connected University vision.

“Catalyst will enable Staffordshire University to bring thousands of apprentices to the region, increasing economic prosperity and supporting business growth. This cutting-edge facility will also provide people with the opportunity to study flexible degrees, helping us to enhance learning and deliver a first-class student experience.

Due to open in September 2021, Catalyst features a striking yet functional design. Supported by an angular brick frame, the flexible, open-plan space comprises a glass frontage at ground level and distinctive design on the upper storeys. The apprenticeships and digital skills hub will feature a new library, social learning spaces and a restaurant and café.

VINCI prides itself on its collaborative approach and commitment to social value and sustainability. The contractor boasts an impressive portfolio, with projects ranging from state-of-the-art concert halls and theatres to the restoration of historic buildings.

Michael Roadnight, Regional Director at VINCI Construction UK Ltd, said “We're delighted to be appointed on the Catalyst building project, which will provide a fantastic facility for employers and apprentices from the Midlands and beyond. VINCI is looking forward to working with Staffordshire University and its team on this exciting flagship project.

Construction of Staffordshire University’s Catalyst building was halted temporarily last year following the discovery of a protected species of bat in the former Brindley building. Demolition works were able to take place last month after ecologists confirmed the bats had safely vacated the premises.

Professor Jones added: “I’m pleased we are now in a position to press ahead with the construction of Catalyst. This landmark development will empower the Staffordshire University community to address regional skills shortages and meet the challenges of the 21st century head on.”

Carbon Counts Exhibition Opens

FCBStudios’ latest exhibition, Carbon Counts opened this week in our London gallery space.

Carbon Counts is an exhibition about material matters which draws together key metrics for some of the most common materials used in architecture today, interrogating their carbon impacts: The embodied carbon of a building is made up of the impacts from the extraction, processing, manufacture and packaging of the materials we use; the carbon emissions resulting from their transport and construction on site, maintenance over their life span and what happens after the building is demolished. Read more about these here.

FCBStudios’ response to the Architects Declare manifesto advocates an accelerated shift to low embodied carbon. In order to achieve this, we have committed to interrogate the material choices in all our work.

By understanding the embodied and emitted carbon in the construction and life cycle of our designs, we will be able to make better informed choices to improve the impact of our work on the environment.

The exhibition itself has been designed to have a low environmental impact, while ensuring strong visual presence and longevity. Each material used represents what we feel is the best balance, with a particular focus on how we can use each most efficiently.

The exhibition is running in our London gallery space until March 2020 and will form a backdrop to a series of curated events to be announced in the New Year.

University appoints FCBStudios to work on new Engineering and Design Facility

The University of Plymouth has appointed Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios (FCBStudios) to design a new multi-disciplinary Engineering and Design facility on the western edge of its main campus.

The facility will involve a dedicated new-build component and refurbishment of the 1970s Babbage Building, creating more than 10,000m² of research and teaching space in an inspirational and innovative new home for its School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics, with additional space for the School of Art, Design and Architecture.

The proposals will combine re-equipped laboratories with modern, state-of-the-art resources that will enable engineering research to underpin the fourth industrial revolution, while creating the attractive environment necessary to attract and retain high-calibre staff and students.

The cutting-edge building will inspire new inter-disciplinary activities in teaching, learning and research, and nurture the innovative graduate engineers demanded by future society.

It will incorporate low carbon technologies, supporting the aims of both the University and company to achieve net zero carbon emissions and promote world-leading sustainability practices.

FCBStudios was awarded the design contract following a competitive dialogue process, managed by RIBA Competitions, which received applications from practices across the UK.

The winning concept design promised to transform the western edge of the main campus, complementing the neighbouring Marine Building and supporting the opening-up of the campus to form an attractive central green space as part of the overall masterplan.

Professor Judith Petts CBE, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Plymouth, said:“The vision of Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios – to design outstanding buildings that inspire those who work within them – mirrors our own aspiration for this new facility. It also marks an exciting first step in our long-term campus masterplan, unlocking opportunities to make our whole estate more inviting and inspiring for everyone connected to the University.

“This new facility will create a space where students, researchers and industry come together to develop new ideas that enable society to meet some of its most pressing global challenges. By encouraging innovation in engineering and design, we can be at the forefront of supporting regional and national industrial strategies, now and in the future.”

Tom Jarman, Partner at Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, said: “We are proud to have won the RIBA competition for the University of Plymouth’s Engineering and Design facility with a scheme that will promote creativity, cross-disciplinary collaboration and wellbeing and is in line with our shared sustainable design goals. Our proposals create an open and connected building that will house a wide range of teaching and workshop spaces for the engineering and architecture schools.

“The scheme retains the 1979 Babbage Building, extending it volumetrically to create a series of interlocking parts. On the upper level, terraces connect visually to the landscape and provide additional outdoor teaching spaces. We are looking forward to developing our plans in close consultation with the University, to deliver a new western gateway at the threshold of the University and the City of Plymouth.”

A full planning application for the new building will now be developed, and the estimated timescale for completion of the new combined facility is summer 2022.

FCBStudios win competition for the University of Portsmouth's new academic building on the Victoria Site

A multi-disciplinary design team led by FCBStudios has been selected as the winner of the RIBA Competition for the University of Portsmouth’s new academic building on the Victoria Site.

The 13-storey building will serve as a northern gateway to the University’s city-centre campus and will bring together the Faculty of Business and Law with the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. 

As well as providing accommodation for academic research and teaching and learning, the new building will also provide student support services, general administrative space and public space on the ground floor.

Professor Graham Galbraith, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Portsmouth, said: “We had a large number of high-quality submissions and the panel felt that the practice’s extensive experience in the higher education sector was very evident. The panel agreed that the building would create a strong identity for the University and a statement for the city.

“The design is an outstanding example of a sustainable and environmentally responsible building for the University. By bringing the two faculties together within one building, it will enable us to become a centre for collaboration, creativity, innovation and above all inspiration and interaction.”

FCBStudios were selected by an evaluation panel which consisted of members of the University Executive Board - including the Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Vice-Chancellor. The panel considered the design proposals developed by FCBStudios to offer a comprehensive response to the multi-faceted brief, in which the new academic building would be rooted within Victoria Park, with a physically and visually permeable ground floor establishing a new, publicly accessible route between the city and the park. 

Panel members admired the aesthetic sensibility of the scheme and the strong sculptural form and diaphanous veil to the new academic building, which they felt would create a strong visual identity for the University and striking addition to the Portsmouth skyline.  Large ocular windows to the principal elevations defining triple-height spaces that would be at the heart of each faculty, with the careful articulation of a central atrium stair, departmental landings and bridging of floors providing both visible connections and opportunities for interaction. 

Andy Theobald, Partner, FCBStudios said “We are delighted to have won the RIBA competition for the University of Portsmouth for the new Victoria Park Academic building. Located centrally in the city, the building links the southern and northern campus together with a new landmark building for the University which also forms a new gateway into the city. Considered as a singular and sculptural piece, the building is located alongside the railway in Victoria Park creating a new civic frontage to the University.

Our proposals aim to deliver new academic neighbourhoods combined with inspirational teaching and learning that will enable innovative working, collaboration and creativity across the two faculties. Flexible enough to serve and evolve with the University, we have echoed the brief’s ambitions to establish a careful balance of environmental, economic and social sustainability. We are looking forward to working with the University to refine and deliver this project."

The new building is part of the University’s ambitious £400 million Estate Masterplan to be delivered over the next 10 years, including a new indoor Sports Facility in Ravelin Park.

Plans submitted for expansion at Circle Square

Plans have been submitted for the development of the 15 storey, 224,500 sq ft No.3 Circle Square providing another major boost to Manchester’s Oxford Road Corridor innovation district.

Plans for the development of No.3 Circle Square have been accelerated by Bruntwood SciTech as a response to soaring levels of demand for workspace from science and tech businesses looking to invest in Manchester - one of Europe’s top 20 digital cities and renowned TMT hotspot.

No.1 and No.2 Circle Square, due for completion in summer 2020, have received exceptional levels of interest from high growth businesses, looking to capitalise on the location’s access to skills, talent and vibrant tech community, including global technology company Hewlett Packard Enterprise, who announced it is set to relocate 300 employees to  Circle Square.

Designed by FCBStudios, No.3 Circle Square will offer 12 floors of office space, with floorplates of approximately 16,400 sq ft. The open-plan ground floor space combines a reception area with retail and leisure amenities, as well as a cycle hub and showers. There will also be a new roof terrace and lounge, providing companies at Circle Square with a private garden space from which to work that complements the new state-of-the-art conference and events facilities provided at No.1 Circle Square.

The glazed ceramic façade will pay homage to and complement the Victorian and Edwardian architecture prevalent in the neighbouring area.

Subject to approval from Manchester City Council, it is expected that construction work on No.3 Circle Square will begin in March 2020.

November 2019

Construction underway for pioneering School of Digital Arts

Construction is underway on Manchester Metropolitan University’s School of Digital Arts – a £35m investment into the future of digital storytelling.

Opening in 2021, the School of Digital Arts (SODA) is a groundbreaking interdisciplinary school to support the urgent and growing demand for skilled workers in the region’s creative digital and tech sector.

SODA will provide state-of-the-art lab spaces, workshops and professional networks, underpinned by a unique teaching and research environment to create, among others, the next generation of filmmakers, animators and games designers.

Construction work on the SODA building commenced on Monday (November 25) at a special event attended by Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, Manchester Metropolitan Vice-Chancellor Professor Malcolm Press, representatives from Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership (GMLEP), Manchester City Council and the SODA architects Feilden Clegg Bradley (FCB) Studios and construction partners Kier.

Penny Macbeth, Dean of Manchester School of Art at Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “It is hugely exciting to see the stunning architectural plans for the SODA building starting to take shape. Alongside this, we are building the new SODA curriculum and developing an ambitious research agenda, inspired by the University’s strengths in digital innovation, creativity and collaboration. We are looking forward to welcoming our first cohort of students in 2021.”

Simon Doody, Partner at FCBStudios, said: “SODA is a future-facing school for Manchester Metropolitan University, which aims to provide facilities, support and a canvas for digital storytelling that is relevant to industry and groundbreaking in its outlook. From the outside, a subtly textured façade is created from pleated metal panels which reflect the local context. It also echoes the nearby workshop building that this faculty had its conception in – keeping that exciting culture going in the new building has been a key driver to its look and feel. Internally, the building is designed to be highly flexible, providing spaces that will encourage collaboration, exhibition and community, and allow faculties to evolve as technology advances.”

Alexandra Palace wins Heritage Project in AJ Architecture Awards

The Regeneration of Alexandra Palace’s East Wing has been awarded the prize for heritage at the 2019 AJ Architecture Awards.

‘There was an intricate delicacy in its approach,’ said one of the judges ‘Often new interventions can be too robust, but FCBS showed an advanced level of gracefulness in line with the artifice of show.’

Overall, the judges were particularly impressed by the client’s dedication to the project, from driving high-level ambitions, down to creating hand-painted signage – a rare and beautiful result of the project’s value engineering. They concluded: ‘It was a successfully balanced and incredibly engaged response’ and one that was ‘done very respectfully’.

Milestone celebration for University of Warwick Faculty of Arts

The University of Warwick is celebrating the new FCBStudios designed Faculty of Arts building with a ceremony to mark construction progress.

A time capsule was buried by James Breckon, Director of Estates at the University of Warwick, Penny Roberts, Chair of the Faculty of Arts, and students from the Department of Classics and Ancient History, as the formwork was removed from the first of the structural columns.

Construction started on site in April with the project team lead by main contractor, Bowmer + Kirkland, working closely withFCBStudios to create a stunning building which will bring together the Faculty of Arts department under one roof and enable collaboration and creativity among users.

Professor Penny Roberts, Chair of the Faculty of Arts, said: “This is an exciting moment for the Faculty of Arts and for the wider University community as we begin to see our long-held vision for the future of research and teaching taking physical form. The new building will provide a stimulating and collaborative environment for all our students and staff, enhancing excellence and innovation in learning and scholarship.

Andy Theobald, Partner at Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios said: “Working with the University on such an ambitious project is a true privilege. Together we have developed a bold design for the new Faculty building which sits at the heart of the University Campus providing a platform for engagement with the Arts. The sustainability agenda for this project goes beyond energy-efficient design, the new building will be both life-enhancing and responsive to change. It is constructed out of materials that will last and the design has future flexibility built-in.  We look forward to seeing the building come to life over the coming months.”

Standing proud at 35 metres high, the building will be a prominent addition to the Central Campus and a key destination within the University. The project is due for completion in the summer of 2021.

Major construction milestone at Circle Square

Bruntwood SciTech and FCBStudios have celebrated a major milestone at Circle Square with the topping out of its first two commercial buildings - No.1 and No.2 Circle Square.

Located in the heart of Manchester’s Oxford Road Corridor innovation district, No.1 and No.2 Circle Square provide 400,000 sq ft of commercial workspace at the new city centre neighbourhood.

Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, joined Chair of Bruntwood SciTech - Chris Oglesby, the team from FCBStudios - Amanda Whittington, Joya Zaman and Ernst ter Horst - and guests to celebrate the landmark event.

Sir Richard said: "This is a real milestone in the emergence of Circle Square at the heart of the Corridor Manchester innovation district. Circle Square will be a real asset to the city, strengthening its role at the cutting edge of tech and innovation-led business, creating hundreds of jobs and developing ever closer links with our world-leading universities.

"The wider development will also see the creation of more city-centre green space, the football pitch-sized Symphony Park, for Manchester people to enjoy. Together with the new Mayfield Park, it shows how green areas are being actively created as part of our wider masterplanning."

Due to be completed by September 2020, No.1 and No.2 Circle Square have been designed by leading architects’ FCBStudios and are being built by contractor John Sisk & Son Limited.

Michael Paul Lewis commended in WAF Drawing Prize

FCBStudios’ architectural assistant Michael Paul Lewis has received a commendation for his artwork entitled ‘Drawing Architecture’ in The Drawing Prize at the World Architecture Festival.

Shortlisted in the ‘hand-drawn category, Drawing Architecture is a celebration of the design process; documenting over one thousand individually hand-drawn ink diagrams, sketches and annotations. The piece spans ten years of architectural thinking and includes work from his time at Bath University, competitions and live projects at Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios.

Click here to view Drawing Architecture.

The work will now be exhibited digitally on the Drawing Prize stand at the World Architecture Festival in Amsterdam and at the Sir John Soane Museum from Wednesday 15 January – Sunday 16 February 2020.

Alexandra Palace shortlisted for New National Treasure Award

Following the regeneration of the East Wing, Alexandra Palace Theatre has been shortlisted by National Geographic Traveller as a New National Treasure in its annual reader awards.

Returning for its fifth year, the 2019 awards claim to represent the last word on the best places, experiences, hotels and personalities that make our travels meaningful and memorable.

One of three attractions in the ‘New National Treasure’ category, the winners will be announced on 4 December 2019.

Plans revealed for former Kellogg's site in Old Trafford

Large-scale proposals by FCBStudios for the development of the former Kellogg’s site in Stretford have been unveiled.

Bruntwood Works and Trafford Council has announced plans for a residential-led mixed-use development to include housing, primary school, offices and public realm.

The partnership is committed to engaging with the local community to find out what residents, local councillors and other stakeholders would like to see delivered as part of the scheme. A public consultation event will take place at Trafford Town Hall on 7 November, from 3 pm to 7 pm, where people can view the plans and provide their feedback.

People can also give their views online by logging onto real estate company Avison Young’s consultation document on Thursday 7 November 2019.

The proposed development sits within the Council’s Civic Quarter Masterplan which covers a 120-acre site taking in the Town Hall, Lancashire Cricket Club, the former Kellogg’s site including the University Academy 92 (UA 92) campus, stretching up to the A56/Chester Road and White City retail park.

The Council’s proposals for the area include building a new leisure centre; an improved public space, opportunities for new homes and offices and improved cycle and pedestrian routes. They also include the possible development of a new public piazza and ‘processional route’ linking Lancashire Cricket Club with Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium. The strategic vision is being created with consultancy team Planit-IE, FCBStudios and Avison Young.

Leader of Trafford Council, Cllr Andrew Western, said: “The plan presents a fantastic opportunity to provide much-needed housing, further develop local amenities, improve community use of the area and completely transform our public spaces. The plans aim to create a fantastic place for those who live and work here, so please take the time to tell us what you want: your views are vital in shaping this project.”

Andrew Cooke, regional director for Bruntwood Works said: “We’re pleased to be bringing forward this exciting vision for a vibrant mixed-use development, which will sit at the heart of the Trafford Civic Quarter community. The next phase of development will provide the facilities and amenities to anchor and support the sustainable long-term growth of the area – providing high-quality housing and education, alongside an attractive retail and leisure proposition, which will bring people to the area and enable local businesses to attract and retain first-class talent. We look forward to engaging local community and working with them to shape the plans for this development.”

Alexandra Palace regional finalist in Civic Trust Awards

Alexandra Palace has been announced as one of the 2020 Regional Finalists for the Civic Trust Awards, Pro-Tem Awards, AABC Conservation Awards and Selwyn Goldsmith Awards for Universal Design.

The project, completed last December, breathes new life into the North London icon and reopens important cultural and civic spaces for all.

It is one of 115 projects selected from all national and international. Judges from the Civic Trust Awards and AABC National Panels will now determine the winning schemes, which will be announced on 9 December. These will be presented with their Civic Trust Award or Commendation at the 61st Annual Civic Trust Awards Ceremony on Friday 6th March 2020, at the Imperial War Museum North in Manchester.

October 2019

Myhal Center for Engineering Innovation and Entrepreneurship wins Gold Medal at WAN Awards

The Myhal Center, designed with Montgomery Sisam Architects was one of seven finalists in the Education sector of the annual World Architecture News Awards and was awarded the Gold Medal as the best education project.

The University of Toronto’s Myhal Center signals a new era for engineering education through a design that encourages group work outside the traditional seminar room, providing dynamic and flexible environments that break down artificial barriers between people, foster collaboration, encourage active learning and accelerate innovation.

FCBStudios support the AJ Retrofit First campaign

FCBStudios support the AJ Retrofit First campaign.

Retaining, retro-fitting and intensifying the use of existing buildings is a key means to tackle the climate emergency. With wider understanding, and financial and environmental incentives to reuse our existing building stock, benefits will become more apparent to the whole property and construction industry, reframing the approach to development for the better.

The industry has the skills to extend the life of a building and benefit from the embodied carbon in foundations and built fabric, giving renewed value to existing structures whilst upgrading services and accommodation to respond better to contemporary needs.

FCBStudios encourage and facilitate the creative re-use of existing buildings, exemplified in our work at the Southbank Centre,  Alexandra Palace and the Richmond Building. Our expertise in historic building conservation alongside our research and knowledge of sustainable design enable us to advocate practical re-uses that enhance historical character and social and economic capital.

FCBStudios reveal plans to renew Ferneham Hall, Fareham

The executive of Fareham Borough Council have voted unanimously to approve the concept designs and £12.35m budget for the redevelopment of Ferneham Hall.

The work will see the existing 706 seat theatre refurbished and extended to 800 seats, with a new foyer, a cafe operating throughout the day on the ground floor and a terrace bar on the first floor. A new studio space on the first floor is also part of the proposal, with capacity for 25 people to accommodate a range of activities from dance and yoga classes to Brownie groups.

Councillor Susan Bell, executive member for leisure and community said “I think the designs are very exciting’ The expanded foyer, we hope, will create a better flow of patrons and it is very important that it will be open to the wider community. 

Remodelling the theatre was agreed to be cheaper than demolition and rebuild, and be an example of sustainable regeneration for the Council.

Colin Cobb, Associate at FCBStudios said: “Ferneham Hall is a theatre and venue with a shared history for the local community, a meeting place, and a springboard for local arts organisations and young people. Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios is very pleased to be working on the renewal of the theatre to create a place that will continue to be important for the culture, for the community and for the town. Our proposals aim to give a sense of contemporary quality and place, adding a new foyer and venue and refurbishing and improving the existing facilities.”

More detailed plans will be put before the council’s planning committee and the theatre is due to close in January 2020.

Manchester High Street Development Gets the Green Light

Manchester City Council’s planning committee has minded to grant full planning permission for the £79 million proposals for the regeneration of 20 – 36 High Street.

The FCBStudios design development is set to transform this gateway site between the High Street and Northern Quarter, replacing a predominantly vacant 1970s building, with a distinctly Mancunian building, drawing on Debenhams and Sunlight House for inspiration.

David Hodgson, Head of Strategic Development at CEG, explains: “This is an extremely challenging regeneration project on a constrained brownfield site. Today’s resolution has provided the opportunity to transform this rundown building with a bold, confident and distinctly Mancunian building. We are pleased that the committee has acknowledged this and allows CEG to move forward.’

CEG has managed investment into Manchester for many years, including the extensive renovation of the historic 196 Deansgate and is transforming Jackson House, now known as M33, in Sale and Altrincham Business Park. We look forward to continuing to work with the City Council to bring forward an exciting new development at High Street. Today’s planning committee process is just the first step in the journey to deliver much-needed regeneration of this key site.”

The architecture uses light ivory-white glazed ceramic tiles providing a far greater light reflectance onto the streetscape than the existing dark brick. The ground floor and a double-height mezzanine would offer a vibrant space for independent cafés, restaurants and shops, providing around 65 jobs. The scheme also reopens the Stationer’s Court to become a tranquil public green space connecting the High Street and the Northern Quarter.

Alex Whitbread, Partner at FCBStudios, said: “The scheme for High Street Manchester is a bold piece of architecture that draws inspiration from the art deco architecture and economic aspirations of central Manchester. It will revitalise this area of the city centre with street-level retail and cafés, a new link through to the vibrant Northern Quarter, an improved market and place a strong silhouette on the skyline. Our scheme sets the tone for the next phase of development on High Street – sustainable, social and connected.

FCB Studios has also designed proposals to relocate the popular market stalls on Church Street to a new contemporary style of accommodation offering indoor and outdoor areas, returning the markets to their historic home next to the nearby Church Street car park.

This will not only improve the outlook of this area, but it will become a destination in its own right; enabling seamless trading, contemporary, improved facilities for traders and those who use the market stalls, with vibrant seating, planting, and toilet facilities, all within sight of the current location, ultimately becoming an attractive and dynamic use on this key route in the city. 

Next phase of Rubengera Technical Secondary School approved for construction

The Richard Feilden Foundation and Rubengera Technical Secondary School have received a construction permit to go ahead with an accommodation block for female students, the next phase of the school’s masterplan.

The school, located near Kibuye in Rwanda, specialises in carpentry and has been testing new timber technologies on-site to incorporate within the design of the school buildings.

The new girls’ dormitory will be self-contained and provide lodgings for 24 students in rooms with inbuilt timber furniture designed and manufactured at the school, eco-san toilets and solar-generated electricity.

Designed to be simply and inexpensively built without the need for a steel structure, the building will employ new techniques being pioneered by the school. An innovative roof construction developed by the school and tested in Europe, alongside easily available standard materials, will form a unitised roofing system which can be easily manufactured and replicated by the students after graduation and adopted within the local construction industry as a sustainable structural material.

Work has already started on site, following on from the recently completed kitchen and refectory. FCBStudios Architect, Heidi Day, will be travelling to Rwanda in early 2020 to work with the onsite team on detail design development.

Work to restart on Brighton Corn Exchange and Studio Theatre Refurbishment

Brighton & Hove City Council has published details of a plan to complete the restoration of Brighton Dome Corn Exchange and Studio Theatre, with work due to start within the next two weeks.

The council is currently finalising the appointment of an interim contractor to carry out emergency work to the historic buildings, after the main contractor ceased trading in July 2019. The work includes carrying out essential weatherproofing and drainage works to protect the historic Grade I and Grade II listed buildings.

At a meeting on 10 October 2019, councillors on the Policy and Resources Committee are being asked to agree a plan to procure and appoint a new main contractor after the previous contractor, R Durtnell & Sons, ceased trading, entering into a Company Voluntary Arrangement with its creditors. Since then, the council has secured the site, installed 24-hour security, and the project’s design team, led by FCBStudios, has carried out extensive surveys to establish the remaining work needed.

Councillor Alan Robins, chair of the Tourism Economic Development, Culture and Communities Committee said: "We are committed to completing the refurbishment of these unique buildings to protect their long-term future in the cultural heart of the city. Our priority is to reduce any future delays, bring the buildings back into use as soon as possible and mitigate the financial impact on both the council and Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival. Completion of this project will protect and secure the future of this unique estate so it continues to be a world-class destination for residents and visitors.”

Completed restoration work so far includes:

  • The 200-year old Corn Exchange roof has been strengthened and stripped back to reveal the original widest span timber frame building in the country, formerly used as the Prince Regent’s riding house.
  • The unique Corn Exchange windows have been restored with approximately 185 panes of glass replaced in each of the large windows.
  • Essential repairs to the 1930s art deco statue of Ceres above the Corn Exchange entrance.

The redevelopment will improve accessibility for visitors, staff and performers, including new disabled toilets, hearing assistance systems and a public lift providing wheelchair access to all levels of the buildings. A new Creative Space will be available for community groups and emerging artists to use for workshops, meetings and rehearsals.

Andrew Comben, Chief Executive, Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival added: “We are grateful to Brighton & Hove City Council and the project team for their commitment and swift action on moving to appoint an interim contractor. We look forward to seeing the refurbishment work progress as we go into the final phase of the project and towards re-opening.”

The major refurbishment of the Corn Exchange and Studio Theatre is the first phase of a wider project to re-affirm Brighton’s Royal Pavilion Estate as a key cultural destination by equipping it for a sustainable future. The longer-term vision aims to reunite the historic Estate created by George IV in the early 19th century to create a centre for heritage, culture and the performing arts which reflects the unique spirit of Brighton. It is anticipated that the revitalised Royal Pavilion Estate will support 1,241 FTE jobs and have an economic impact of £68m.

£19.13 million of the total project costs has been raised from grant funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Arts Council England, Coast to Capital Local Growth Fund, private trusts, individual donations and contributions from Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival’s own resources. The Build Brighton Dome community appeal has raised over £130,000 from public donations with match funding of every £1 by The Roddick Foundation. The additional council funding through borrowing of £5 million would bring the council’s overall contribution to the project to £9.8 million – 32.8% of the total costs.

If you would like to support the project click here.

 Photo: Carlotta Luke

V&A to mark 500th anniversary of Raphael's death with refresh of Raphael Court by FCBStudios

In 2020, the V&A will mark the 500th anniversary of Raphael’s death by transforming the way museum visitors experience the iconic Raphael Cartoons, loaned to the V&A from the Royal Collection by Her Majesty The Queen.

The Raphael Court – home to the Cartoons – will be refurbished from 27 January 2020 until late 2020 when it will reopen as a revitalised space. The V&A has appointed FCBStudios as the 3D designers for the refurbishment, who will highlight the Cartoons within the space through subtle changes to the architecture and a radical change to the décor of the space. Accompanied by new furniture, the refreshed space will help focus the eye on the Cartoons’ vibrant palette and enhance the viewing experience. Lighting designers ZNA will create an innovative new lighting scheme, with state-of-the-art LED lighting to reduce reflections on the glass and produce a marked increase in visibility of the works. Following an extensive photography project, enhanced gallery interpretation will also reveal in-depth stories about the production and history of the Raphael Cartoons. High-definition images, infra-red and 3D scans of the Cartoons will be available in the gallery as well as online, enabling the public to explore the Cartoons in unprecedented detail and deepening access to these unique and monumental works of art.

New interpretation will explore the significance and status of the Cartoons – their function as full-scale tapestry designs for the Sistine Chapel, the ingenuity of Raphael and his workshop, the rescue, life and status of the Cartoons in England in the 17th century, and the fascination they have provoked since then up to the present day. The original set of tapestries for the Sistine Chapel is still on view in the Vatican palace in Rome, while an example of a later tapestry made in the 17th century in England after Raphael’s design – The Miraculous Draught of Fishes, on loan from the Duke of Buccleuch – is on display in the Raphael Court.

Dr Ana Debenedetti, Lead Curator of the Raphael Project and Curator of Paintings at the V&A said: “The set of seven surviving tapestry Cartoons by Raphael comprise a unique Renaissance treasure, both in terms of aesthetic value and technical achievement. The new pioneering photography project will provide the means to visually reveal the hidden process behind the making of the Cartoons, from the extraordinary assemblages of nearly 200 sheets of paper to the underdrawing and final painting stage. The outstanding outcome is one of the greatest examples of artistic collaboration and teamwork executed by a number of highly gifted assistants, which would not be possible without the guidance of such a visionary mind as Raphael’s.”

Matt Somerville, Associate, FCBStudios said: "While the physical impacts of the scheme on the Grade I listed interior will be minimal, the visibility and presentation of Raphael's Cartoons will be transformed. There is so much more to tell visitors about these cultural treasures, but that is first dependent on them being brought to the forefront of a re-worked gallery. The Raphael Court presents a change of pace within the busy Museum, and our proposals will emphasise this to create a quieter, more contemplative interior where the Cartoons are given the space they need, both physically and intellectually."

One of the V&A’s largest and most dramatic galleries, the Raphael Court is almost identical in proportions to the Sistine Chapel and was last refurbished from 1992 to 1996. A full redecoration of the space in 2020 as part of the V&A’s FuturePlan programme, with enhanced lighting and graphic and digital interpretation, will enhance the viewing experience for V&A visitors, and their enjoyment of these iconic works of art.

Image: Detail from Raphael Cartoon, The Healing of the Lame Man (Acts 3, 1-8), by Raphael, 1515 – 16, Italy. Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

September 2019

FCBStudios and Long Live Southbank present ‘Undergrowth' at Oslo Architecture Triennale

The 7th edition of the Oslo Architecture Triennale opened this week, exploring “the architecture of a radically transformed society in which cultural and ecological flourishing matter more than economic growth”. Under the title of Enough: The Architecture of Degrowth, the festival questions the damage caused to the environment by the constant economic growth.

One of four parts of the festival, The Library transforms Oslo’s National Museum of Architecture into a library of architectural futures, featuring works by over 80 teams.

In the Library stands ‘Undergrowth’, an architectural fragment of the Southbank Undercroft remade as a 1:1 replica ‘mushroom’ column from reclaimed graphitised timber.

The Southbank Undercroft is a covered place on the South Bank of the River Thames that has become a home to skateboarders, graffiti writers, dancers, videographers, photographers and many others over a 40 year period.

The columns are one of the most striking architectural features of the Southbank Undercroft. During the ‘Save the Undercroft’ campaign, Long Live Southbank appropriated the column as a symbol of their campaign, stamping their ownership of the space. Instead of board-marked concrete, the 1:1 column within the Library is constructed using timber reclaimed from a temporary hoarding which was used to close off an area of the Undercroft between 2004 and 2019. The timber is layered with paint from thousands of graffiti artists who have tagged, burned and bombed the hoarding whilst it was in situ. Here we aim to reflect on how the Undercroft sits in the wider discourse of public democratic spaces in our cities. To aid with reflection and exploration of Oslo, we also offer skateboards to borrow from the Library.

Inspired by 80s DIY skatemag culture, we have produced an accompanying ‘zine’ which contains stories of skateboarding & architecture at the Southbank. You can download a copy here. Designed by Studio Mothership.

The Art of Architecture

“This is no ordinary restoration. The architects settled on a design philosophy which said that decay was part of the story, and should stay.”

The final episode of Sky Arts acclaimed The Art of Architecture series looks at FCBstudios’ restoration of Alexandra Palace. The programme charts FCBStudios’ approach to the restoration of the theatre at London's Alexandra Palace, which was infused with modern touches, while keeping its rich history alive.

FCBStudios Associate, Matt Somerville and Alexandra Palace’s, Emma Dagnes tell the story of the project. Watch the full programme on Sky here.

International Heritage, Sustainability and Regeneration

Yesterday, FCBStudios hosted an evening of debate at RIBA London to explore the potential for international collaborations in creating successful, sustainable, heritage-led regeneration projects within developing cities.

The restoration of the Tourist Burma building project in downtown Yangon presented the opportunity to repair and regenerate the building and a significant opportunity to create a model to drive heritage-led regeneration in Yangon. The project was conceived to achieve the most beneficial outcomes for people, conservation/regeneration and future impacts. As it reaches completion, under the expert guidance of international regeneration charity Turquoise Mountain, those directly involved in the project and experts in the field consider how this model of embracing heritage as part of modernisation may be relevant to other international cities in developing countries.

Harry Wardill, Turquoise Mountain Myanmar said “Our key aim was to establish a concept where the strengths of the building were re-employed, the significance of the building was maintained, and its sympathetic ‘restoration’ would enable others to understand and enjoy the key qualities of the original space, safeguarding the heritage whilst also providing a blank canvas for decorative schemes inspired by traditional craft and contemporary design.”

Shoshana Stewart, CEO of Turquoise Mountain said “This project engaged local architects and engineers, and trained at least 500 local young people, giving them jobs and skills to work on future projects. The community that takes care of the building is one that works and lives there. Building relationships with a community matters.”

Peter Oborn, Senior Vice President, Commonwealth Association of Architects said “With global urban growth projected to be more than 100 billion m2 before 2060, 90% of which will be in Africa and Asia, we look forward to discussing how we can leverage such work to better support professional colleagues around the world grappling with rapid urbanisation.”

The discussion considered the responsibilities and opportunities within such projects, their measures of success, and the extent to which they may make a meaningful contribution to the broader challenges of sustainable development for developing cities. Peter Murray’s proposal for an Urban Room within the Tourist Burma building, similar to New London Architecture’s London space, could create a hub for sharing knowledge and experience within the city illustrating the impact of new development.

FCBStudios Partner Geoff Rich introduced the event, and it was chaired by Peter Murray, Curator in Chief, NLA London. The event was hosted by FCBStudios, who acted as UK-based architects and team leaders for the Tourist Burma project, and were mentors to the Yangon team directly involved in the realisation of the project. You can watch a timelapse of the refurbishment of the building here

Housing Fit for Purpose

This week's debate at FCBStudios was hosted by The Edge Debate and used Fionn Stevenson’s new book ‘Housing Fit for Purpose’ as a starting point for a lively discussion on evaluating housing performance, learning from feedback, looking at future challenges and educating designers, educators, clients and inhabitants for Post Occupancy Evaluation.

POE is vital for us to be able to understand how the buildings we design work in use. Across the whole industry, we need to make sure that it is part of a project’s lifecycle and that we spend time learning lessons from the findings, sharing solutions and feeding that knowledge into future schemes. Fionn’s book is a great introduction to the best practice in housing POE, and her research and philosophy should be extended to all sectors.

Peter Clegg introduced the event, which included a strong panel of industry experts: Fionn Stevenson, The University of Sheffield; Claire Murray, Head of Sustainability, Levitt Bernstein; Katie Clemence, Max Fordhams; Oliver Novakovic, Technical and Innovation Director, Barratt Developments PLC and Emyr Poole, Homes England, Senior Projects Manager, Planning, Enabling and Development team. The panel was chaired by Andy von Bradsky, Head of Architecture, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

You may also be interested to read ‘Creating the Cycle’. FCBStudios Researcher Joe Jack Williams explains why BPE (Building Performance Evaluation) should become an integral part of the design process.

40 ideas for London

New London Quarterly marks its 40th issue with 40 Ideas for London. Here we present FCBStudios’ napkin sketch contribution, from architectural assistant Sam Austen.

Driving Change: From Cars to Homes

Increasing the density of low-rise, suburban areas needs to be sensitive to the communities.  By recognising a natural trend in London; that of decreasing car ownership, the infrastructure that supports cars can provide a key opportunity for future development. We should repurpose the garages, driveways, and car parks to accommodate neat, modular homes and community spaces, using sites that are too small and awkward for large developers.

On 20th September, FCBStudios will be marking a day of Climate Action

Staff will be encouraged to march with the schools climate strike demonstrations on Friday 20 September. We will then link the offices for an informal lunchtime carbon footprint review before an afternoon of collaborative zero-carbon project workshops with contributions from guest speakers and project reviews focussing on their carbon impacts.
This day of Climate Action is one of a series of events and exhibits the practice is holding around this theme which started with a One Planet Living exhibit in the London studio during London Climate week in July. FCBStudios are the architectural global founders of  

FCBStudios were members of the original Architect’s Declare group that identified 11 actions that the construction industry needs to commit to, in order to create architecture and urbanism that has a more positive impact on the world around us. We are now extending, strengthening and adapting our practice, in order to make that commitment. Our response to the 11 action points can be read here:
Ian Taylor, Partner and R&I lead at FCBStudios said “In response to the climate emergency, we are taking considered action that affects every aspect of our work and life. In analysing what has worked, and what has failed, in the past, we can build up a body of knowledge that can be applied to how we shape and inhabit our built environment. Through access to research and data, creative reuse and new social systems, there is still hope that we can slow climate change.”
Peter Clegg said “When we started the practice we were determined to do things differently. There was a sense of rebellion in the air, and we seem to be rekindling that now. As individuals, we can all make a difference, but if we can collaborate and work together with our clients, our teams and our colleagues, sharing our knowledge and experience, that difference can be multiplied exponentially.

Alexandra Palace shortlisted for AJ Architecture Awards

The Alexandra Palace East Wing Regeneration project has been shortlisted for the Heritage Project category of the 2019 AJ Architecture Awards.

The regeneration of the East Wing of the 'people’s palace' has breathed new life into a much-loved cultural icon, integrating a new technical infrastructure while retaining the unique character of its historic spaces.

Behind the scenes, extensive engineering works have been undertaken, but much of the project has been about the exercise of restraint: of knowing when to stop. We used the term ‘arrested decay’ to describe an approach of consolidation rather than restoration. In treating rooms as found spaces, we’ve addressed the mechanisms of deterioration, removed elements that were unsafe or could not be viably repaired, and presented the result to public view as a direct manifestation of the stories embodied in all of these spaces.

The AJ Architecture Awards take place on 20 November.

Ninth-annual office to office bike ride is our largest yet

The 9th annual FCB Bike Club office to office ride was our largest yet, bringing together 22 cyclists from our Belfast, London, Bath and Manchester offices on two social rides, both arriving in London on Sunday 8 September.

FCBStudios Associate Chris Allen headed up the organisation of this year’s Bath to London ride. He said “This was a great weekend of cycling. The ride is as much about the café stops and spending time making new, and strengthening existing, friendships across our offices as it is about the cycling, but this year’s 225km route via Oxford was beautiful in the great weather. We’re all looking forward to doing it again for o2o2020”

The FCBS Bike Club has been running for many years and as well as arranging cycling events it provides a popular forum for cycling conversations within the office. Read about our office cycling culture, and why it matters to us. 

Ministers mark milestone in largest ever investment in Irish Higher Education infrastructure

The Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh TD and the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe TD today marked an important moment in the Grangegorman project with the topping out of FCBStudios’ Central Quad for Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin).

This milestone puts the Central Quad, and its sister building the East Quad, on track to be ready for the arrival of 10,000 students in Grangegorman in September 2020. It also reinforces the Government commitment to making Ireland’s education and training system the best in Europe by 2026.

The buildings, which span 52,000mof development, are being delivered via Public Private Partnership. They will provide academic facilities for ten schools from the College of Sciences & Health, the College of Engineering & Built Environment and the College of Arts and & Tourism from TU Dublin.

Minister McHugh said: “These flagship buildings at TU Dublin are helping to bring the vision for Grangegorman to life. The investment is transforming this part of the north inner city. Soon we will see 10,000 TU Dublin students on this campus and while we are attracting the young talent we are also matching it with state of the art facilities. This level of investment will help TU Dublin to deliver on its ambitions at home and internationally.”

Minister Paschal Donohoe said: “The Grangegorman project will have a hugely positive impact not just for TUD but also on this part of the city. From the earliest days of the development and planning of Grangegorman, it was always part of a much wider ambition beyond purely higher education – that of creating a new urban quarter in the city.  Grangegorman will be a place for study, for primary education, for healthcare, for recreation – a place for living.  I am sure that the development will not only benefit the students in the TU but also the local residents, and that it will a make a huge contribution to the regeneration of the North Inner City.”

Commenting on the opportunities that the campus will create, Professor David FitzPatrick, President of TU Dublin said, “To deliver on our mission and to do full justice to the ambitions of our students, it is vital to have facilities that support their learning.  Students who will study here from next September will benefit from working in laboratories, kitchens and lecture spaces with up-to-the-minute facilities and technology.  They will gain expertise that will ensure they can make a valuable contribution in key areas of the economy – in food science and innovation, pharmaceutical and nutraceuticals, health and environment, tourism and hospitality.”

Speaking on behalf of the main contractor delivering the project Sisk FCC, Donal McCarthy, Managing Director Ireland East, John Sisk & Son said “I am delighted to be here today on behalf of the Sisk FCC Joint venture leading the construction of the great new facilities at the East and Central Quads, as we hit this key milestone and formally top out the Central Quad.”

Simon Carter, Partner at FCBStudios said “In reaching this milestone in the construction of the Central Quad, we can see our combined vision for Grangegorman Campus emerging. We can see a well-proportioned civic building based around an open and welcoming quadrangle.  It will be a focal teaching and social centre for the whole Campus and encourage movement, meeting and collaboration. We are delighted with the high quality of the brick and precast stone facades, which bodes well for providing an exemplary finished building for TU Dublin. The building will provide state of the art specialist teaching spaces, which will be linked together by a variety of informal teaching, study spaces and informal social learning areas which will  facilitate a new teaching and learning model for interaction and engagement between students, staff and public.”

August 2019

Alexandra Palace shortlisted for Building Awards

Alexandra Palace East Wing has been shortlisted in the Building Awards Refurbishment Project of the Year (non-office) category.

The regeneration of the East Wing of the 'people’s palace' has breathed new life into a much-loved cultural icon, integrating a new technical infrastructure while retaining the unique character of its historic spaces

The Building Awards is the construction industry’s longest running and recognition of excellence, that allow companies across all aspects of building to have their achievements held up as an example to the sector. The winner will be announced at a ceremony on 5 November in London.

Read more about FCBStudios' approach to the restoration of Alexandra Palace's Victorian Theatre and Great Hall in Matt Somerville's explore article 'Arrested Decay'

Architecture Masters

Peter Clegg and Keith Bradley, Partners at FCBStudios are the subjects of the latest episode of Architecture Masters, the podcast from the London Festival of Architecture. They talk about ethics, environmentalism, awards and the importance of sharing a meal together.

In 1978 Peter Clegg and Richard Feilden founded their practice as Feilden Clegg Design in Bath in the West of England. Keith Bradley subsequently joined the practice in 1987.  

It wasn’t until 1998 – some 20 years after their founding – that the practice opened a London studio – where they now employ around 80 people. More recently the practice has opened studios in Belfast, Manchester and Edinburgh and still has one of its main studios in Bath. 

The practice has long been recognised for its environmental commitment and specialism in low carbon design with projects including Greenpeace’s UK Headquarters, finished in 1991 and the National Trust’s HQ in 2006.

The practice won the RIBA Stirling Prize in 2008 for Acordia a housing development just outside Cambridge, won with Alison Brooks and Maccreanor Lavington. It was the first housing project to win the Stirling Prize. 

As well as their commitment to low carbon design the practice has long been commended for their wider social and ethical commitments.

You can listen by searching for ‘Architecture Masters’ in your favourite podcast app or via this link.

FCBStudios low-energy housing for King's College Cambridge approved at planning

Croft Gardens will deliver 84 new homes for students and fellows of King’s College Cambridge and their families, with generous gardens and communal areas. 

The designs, approved at Cambridge City Council planning committee, adhere to the rigorous Passivhaus standards, which provide highly efficient buildings with very low energy demands and the highest levels of occupant comfort.

Hugo Marrack, Partner at FCBStudios said “The proposals create a new community for King’s College. Dwellings for students, fellows, and their families are composed to create a variety of shared landscapes, centred around a splayed court , which opens on to the street. The enduring crescent forms complement the character of the Conservation Area whilst bringing something new to the streetscape. An exemplar approach to sustainability and longevity has led this project from the start. We are delighted to be working with the College and the team, and now looking forward to progressing this exciting project”.                            

The brief demanded low carbon emissions, Passivhaus standards and stipulated that the scheme should be designed for a lifetime of 100 years. The scheme uses high-quality materials and calm forms which emanate a sense of permanence. 

Carbon reduction has been targeted in the building fabric as well as its operations. Sequestered carbon in the primary CLT structure exceeds carbon emissions generated from the clay products of the external walls. 

Alongside this the project is being assessed against a bespoke sustainability matrix, supplementing the high standards of Passivhaus building performance with a holistic view of sustainability within the contexts of the immediate site and global climate. This matrix demonstrates excellence in health and wellbeing, landscape and nature, water, materials and waste, community and neighbourhood, and construction impacts.

Through careful placement of the building forms, views of the new landscapes, existing trees and an existing Victorian villa are framed and celebrated. The buildings have pitched roofs with accommodation in the loft areas, reducing their height so that they graduate between their neighbouring counterparts along the Barton Road elevation. 

The pair of crescents are home to 12 two-bedroom and 12 one-bedroom apartments, all designed to exceed London Housing Design Standards dwelling sizes.

The single crescent is home to 48 graduate rooms. This building works as two halves, with two entrances, each serving three groups of eight rooms with generous common rooms and kitchens.

The proposals look to restore the existing Victorian Villa, and retain as many of its valued Tudor gothic features as possible, allowing it to become a shared building and also be available for community functions. The new extension to the south will provide lift access to the original building spaces and a common room area which spills out onto a sunny terrace and allotment garden.

The landscape has been designed to respond to the character of the buildings whilst aiming to unite the whole site as a community. Three distinct gardens are proposed which build on existing site characters: a communal open garden, a formal garden room and an informal woodland garden around existing mature trees. 

Read our Explore article Models of Sustainability about how the Croft Gardens model, submitted for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, focusses on the materials used and their role in reducing the embodied energy of the building both in construction and in use.