We are absolutely delighted that the refurbishment at the Grade II South Square arts and community centre in Thornton has recently completed. The project has been an enjoyable experience with a supportive Client TACA and long term collaborators Dobson Construction, Bernard Williams Associates, LEDA, Yvonne Deane Associates and Kingswell Jones Structural Engineers. The 8 month long construction period saw the leaky roof insulated and retiled, the stone external walls repointed with lime mortar and gently steam cleaned, 99 windows refurbished with two new shop windows to reflect historic proportions and an overhaul of the electrics and heating. TACA and their volunteers also revamped the garden at the rear into a beautiful new outdoor space to support their diverse activity programme. The centre is now open with a range of free public exhibitions recreating large scale props from the centre’s 1980s refurbishment. A bite to eat from the centre’s cafe Plenty at the Square and a cheeky (responsible) drink from The Watchmaker’s tasting bar are especially good on a sunny day in the courtyard!
We are thrilled that our project for 34 new, low energy, affordable homes in Armley has been granted planning permission!
It is great to be working with such a brilliant client as Leeds Community Homes to help deliver community-led housing in our home city of Leeds. We have worked together from feasibility stage to envisage the possibilities for the site, developing concepts, testing viability, and engaging with the local community.
The existing brownfield site has its challenges but they are exactly the kind that we like and lead to interesting proposals. The homes will be a mix of 1-bed and 2-bed apartments, as well as 6 semi-detached family houses. At the centre of the scheme will be a new multi-purpose flexible community space and all brought together with landscaping that will stitch in with the existing site and neighbours. Quality of space for residents, visitors and passers-by is crucial to the community housing scheme embedding into the existing neighbourhood. We worked with our collaborators Urban Wilderness to develop the building and landscape proposals in tandem, one informing the other.
The principal building intervention is to plug the existing gap in the street scene, creating definition and a sense of enclosure with new edges. Generosity of public realm guides the design approach throughout, with openness and permeability important qualities to create places to stay and enjoy. Around the site, at entrances, along desire lines and between different external spaces; edges and thresholds are designed thoughtfully with qualities of comfort, privacy and generosity.
Phase 1 of the Grade II Listed refurbishments at South Square Centre, Thornton is nearly complete. Dobsons of Ilkley have done a fine job of re-pointing the external walls in lime mortar with a lovely brush finish that accentuates the shapes and coursing of the original stonework. Years of staining on the walls from the leaky roof has been carefully steam removed revealing the soft yellow hued stonework underneath. The roof has be re-tiled, insulated and new gutters and flashing have been installed. Dobsons were able to reinstate all of the original stone hip and ridge tiles and retain a majority of the original cast iron downpipes. The timber windows have been repaired, eased and re-painted in a smart dark ink blue that complements the warmth of the stonework beautifully.
A lovely way to begin 2021 with this Observer article for the Museum of Making at Derby Silk Mill. It is great to see the excitement building for the new Museum of Making which is due to open in Spring 2021.
The ‘makers’ story has driven the project throughout and has been embraced by the local community, council, client, designers and contractor team. We’re looking forward to sharing lots more exciting updates over the coming months.
For more information on the project click here.
That’s us for 2020 as we’ll be spending the next few days recharging and getting excited for the year 2021!
We like to thank all who have been with us through the years, especially this one.
Have a lovely Christmas and New Year, whatever form it ends up taking.
Great news that FUSE Art Space have had their viability plan successfully approved by The Architectural Heritage Fund. We had the pleasure of working with FUSE earlier this year, supporting them on this feasibility study. The brief was to explore the potential to transform a set of existing buildings in the City Centre conservation area in the commercial core of Bradford. The concept proposals reimagine the buildings as a new multi-use arts hub and home for FUSE, creating an active street frontage and containing a variety of uses stitched together with a bright, new central circulation atrium.
Check out this exciting drone footage from Dobson Construction showing the impressive scaffolding and temporary roof that will protect the building while the existing roof is repaired over winter.
Follow progress and events from our Client the Thornton and Allerton Community Association here: https://www.instagram.com/southsquarecentre/
We are pleased to announce that we are embarking on an exciting new era for Bauman Lyons with Irena Bauman and Maurice Lyons standing down from the practice they founded almost 30 years ago.
Living up to our principles of collaboration, the practice has successfully been transferred over to the existing long-term team via an Employee Benefit Trust agreement which sees two thirds ownership now in the hands of the employees. Director Guy Smith, who has been with Bauman Lyons for 17 years, will be joined by newly-promoted Tom Vigar who also becomes a Director.
We are thrilled that South Square Centre has made the front page of Bradford’s Telegraph and Argus. The refurbishment of the Grade II Listed community arts centre is being taken on by BLA’s long time collaborators Dobson Construction. The restoration work will see the roof repaired and insulated, the windows restored and historic stone work repointed and upgraded internally to improve the Centre’s thermal performance and energy efficiency. The project is being supported by funding from Heritage Lottery, Arts Council England, the Garfield Weston Foundation and Bradford Council.
Read more about the project on this link: https://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/news/18871021.lottery-funded-restoration-south-square-centre-thornton-begun/ and find out more about the fantastic work done by our Client Thornton and Allerton Community Association here: https://www.instagram.com/southsquarecentre/
Long term thinking for our future cities, panel discussion with live Q&A
Join us to explore, with David Rudlin from Urbed+, Irena Bauman from Built in Common, Alastair Parvin from Open Systems Lab, Helen Graham from My Future York and Victoria Bradford-Keegan from Future Parks how we can collaborate in a progressive and long term, mindful way to bring about good change for our future cities. We’ll ask how effective the role of the citizen in planning for the future of cities can be, how we can move from engagement to action, explore how democratic, participatory development has evolved over time and how recent events and policies have shifted approaches to the future. This is an open conversation and you’re invited to join the discussion.
We are looking forward to this week as we will be joining York Design Week 2020 for a unique experiment bringing homeless people together with architects and designers to co-produce a blueprint for a transition accommodation within the city.
Marking a significant departure from traditional approaches to consultation, this project places those with lived experience of homelessness at the heart of the creative design and planning process to reimagine emergency shelters, temporary accommodation and supported housing.
The resulting blueprint will then be shared under creative commons licensing agreements for others to build upon.
For more information on the list of exciting events on York Design Week 2020, find out here.
MassBespoke and Park Road have been shortlisted for Structural Timber Awards in 2 categories: Affordable Housing and Innovation
For further details on the award, click here.
Buildings & Cities journal has just published a review of the book, Architecture and Resilience. The book was co-edited and co-authored by Irena and has recently received a positive review from Vanesa Castán Broto.
The review is available here:
We would like to thank Vanesa Castán Broto and Buildings & Cities for the positive feedback.
More information about the book can be viewed here.
We have just completed options appraisal work on the proposed new Eco and Heritage Skills Centre in Kirkham.
It is a very innovative project conceived by Fylde Borough Council as part of their successful Historic England HAZ bid.
It was great to work with Creative Space Management on the business plan outline. The next stage is to buy the building and commission a full business plan and planning submission.
For more information on the project click here
We are very pleased that after 7 months of intense and successful collaboration with Fylde Borough Council, MHA, BWA, ACCEND and Avison Young we have made a submission to the FHSF in support of funding for the regeneration of the High Street in Kirkham.
This government funding is eagerly awaited in Kirkham as clearly explained in this beautiful video made by Blake House Film Cooperative for this project – here
We designed MassBespoke to be both Bespoke and Mass-produced. It is a timber cassette system design for digital fabrication on a CNC router. This means that small workshops can be set up cheaply and easily in neighborhoods to build homes locally. We call this new infrastructure BuiltInCommon and explain it here: http://massbespoke.com/built-incommon.html .
We are now working with Hull-based fabricator contractor Blok Build, to build two affordable homes in Doncaster for Doncaster Central Development Trust who have put their trust in us for which we are hugely grateful.
After one or two mishaps including Covid-19 we have restarted on-site and the pace is furious.
For a second year running, the M-Arch in Architecture at Central Saint Martins will be joining forces with Material Cultures, a research organisation working at the intersection of low embodied carbon and high efficiency off-site construction.
As a part of the Construction in Detail summer unit CSM will host a series of talks about building and ecological action. Over 3 days, 9 speakers will open up the terrain of what it means to act sustainably and how this can be integrated into a form of practice. Irena will be speaking on Monday 6th of July about MassBespoke and Build InCommon.
Talks are open and free to the wider public see Microsoft Teams links below.
Many things have happened in the first half of 2020. One of the many good news stories we would love to share is that our Associate, Simon has recently passed his RIBA Part 3 examination and is now a qualified architect.
In response to the UK government guidance, everyone at BLA is now working from home. We have established procedures allowing us to continue operating, to look after the health and safety of our team, and to provide for our wider responsibility to others we work with and the general public. The health and wellbeing of our team is of uptmost importance to us and so we are supporting flexible working for any employees who may need it.
We continue to communicate and collaborate with each other and our clients, using a suite of digital tools.
Staff can be reached directly on their direct dial phone numbers. If you cannot reach a member of staff then please email directly and we will call you back.
All procedures enable BLA to provide a continued, professional and attentive service to our clients. Our full office protocol document can be viewed here.