Architects are only ever as good as their clients. It is credit to Blacktrace that their project to convert an industrial unit into a headquarters to house over 100 staff was completed within budget and in less than five months – from concept to completion.
Blacktrace is an extraordinary business, and an inspiring client; it was that combination and the previous experience of building a house for the founding partner, Mark Gilligan, that has added to the success of the project. A large part of creating a decent working environment is the provision of well-considered social and non-desk space to encourage social interaction and the sharing of ideas. Blacktrace instinctively recognise the benefits of such spaces and were supportive of our somewhat radical concept of placing an open theatre in the middle of the office.
Job satisfaction works on many levels, but nothing beats the gratification of witnessing a large organisation responding positively to a finished project.
We designed and oversaw the refurbishment of a large commercial kitchen at the Grosvenor House Hotel in 2008. The project involved the introduction of new services, the rationalisation of existing services and the reconfiguration of the kitchen to optimise all areas including the pastry kitchen, various preparation areas, cold stores, dry stores, and potwash area. A rolling programme of construction work, that coincided with the off-peak period, allowed the completed of the project on time and within tight budgetary constraints, whilst maintaining an operational kitchen at all times.
Quayside offers the citizens of Cambridge the first and only urban public space in close proximity to the river, and earned a place in “The Good Place Guide: Urban Design in Britain and Ireland” (2002). It was built to strict commercial constraints for a development company established by Magdalene College and Trafford Park Estates. The form permits spatial variety within its volume, such as top-lit studio-like areas on the upper floor. The main entrance areas have glazed lift shafts within a four-storey void where the stair landings and passages have been designed to encourage conversation and interaction.
Our urban regeneration proposals for Westlegate Tower and the surrounding area in the central of Norwich included an ambitious plan to re-clad and increase the height of the tower and for adding a new lift and staircase to allow its conversion into flats. Proposals also include the creation of a new public route and small square as well as the provision of retail and residential units repairing the street frontage to Timber Hill.
Fanham’s Hall, a Listed Grade II* turn of the century Country House, was bought by J. Sainsbury as their Management Training Centre. The site is 28 acres, and Nicholas Ray Associates prepared a Master plan which involved a complex phased building programme. We created a dramatic central atrium, and a two storey pavilion for dining and conference adjacent to a new lake. As lead consultants we advised on the appointment of structural and service engineers, landscape architects and other specialists. The landscape work by Higson Pearson won a design award from the Landscape Institute.