• [concept] Urban Flow-Housing

    [May 2018 - Atelier CPU / Manchester School of Architecture - Thesis Project] Can a modular urban architecture adapt to and stabilise value cycles resulting from variations in residential and commercial supply and demand for space? Flow-Housing is a proposal to subvert the dominant land-value and supply-driven mode of production of living and working spaces in the city, by the implementation of a standardised prefabricated module system. The module, while static, is designed to efficiently and effectively respond to enables changes in property demand, which would otherwise result in prices rising and falling, adding to the cycle of boom and bust that has afflicted developed cities in the past. The site, sandwiched between the Brunswick Estate and the Oxford Road Corridor was targeted as a clear break between a zone of low-rise, low-value and low-capacity social housing district and the burgeoning urban-scale institutional developments inside the development zone. Traditional development, responding to site value may lead to dense and inflexible residential development consisting of high rise flats or at best dense slab-block hybrids. These types have been shown to accelerate turn-over of an urban population, such that even if housing association tenants were rehoused on site, the affordable scales possible would not suit their needs for longer term. Flow-Housing enables equivalent densities anywhere between studio flats or HMO, and 4 bedroom maisonettes with ancillary spaces, subject to the development style and budget of the client. Built using principles of ‘system stacking’ the modules accommodate change of ownership, change of use and incremental repair and renovation, avoiding where possible the requirement for whole-site works and allowing embodied carbon to be contained inside the building for as long as possible.
  • [completed] Urban Brownfield Housing

    [Jan 2015 - John McCall Architects - RIBA Stages 0-6 - Construction Management Procurement] This project was awarded the 2017 Macclesfield Civic Trust Award for best Residential Development. The Brownfield site had proven difficult to develop owing to a number of constraints including a large sewer main with a 6m easement bisecting the site and a strong slope towards the North. Working with a development consultant and following a lengthy process of negotiation with the planning department we arrived at a scheme that remained sensitive to the local materials and urban grain - with massing that reflected a 'mill aesthetic' when viewed from the town centre - all the while remaining fully cognisant of the challenges arising from its location.
  • [research] Proto-Practice

    [Jan 2018 -  Manchester School of Architecture - Professional Studies Project] Towards Fee-Free Practice: an idea for fee-free practice that integrates stage 7 user feedback into experimental generation of value. The Future for Traditional Practice: how work in medium-sized practice has adapted to contemporary challenges from the construction industry.  
  • [completed] Church Re-ordering

    [May 2015 - John McCall Architects - RIBA Stages 0-7 - Traditional Contract] Contract administrator and project 'architect' role (under supervision). This well-attended church and church hall marks the entrance to West Kirby town centre and stands at the edge of a conservation area. Legacy funds provided an opportunity to rethink the way in which the existing buildings relate to the rapidly changing location. Built in the late 19th century, despite a number of additions, the church was failing to reflect the open nature of modern worship practices. A number of options were developed for discussion and consultation with the congregation, with further design development upon consultation with the heritage officer for the local council. The final design sees a welcoming glazed volume planted at the front entrance highlighting retained brick archway details while creating new openings in the brickwork facade to open up the interior of the church. Vertical views of the front elevation are framed by minimal rooflight and ceiling upstand. Internally, a number of measures were taken to adapt the spaces to the needs of the daily use of the congregation. Part M and Part K adaptations make it a safer more inclusive building, while energy efficiency measures including insulation of the solid wall construction reduce the running costs and make spaces more comfortable for users.
  • [design] Energy +ve Rural Living

    [Sept 2017 - John McCall Architects - RIBA Stages 0-3 - Private Commission] Project architect responsibilities, under the direct supervision of director Colin Usher, whose passive house had just been awarded the UK Buildings and Energy Efficiency Award for most efficient house. The building was tailored exactly to the client's needs, while creating a low-profile and exemplary piece of architecture for construction in an area of outstanding natural beauty, with tough planning conditions. Sitting precisely within the footprint of a run-down and disused agricultural building on this former farm, the building is centred around an internal courtyard, separating 2 long barn-forms. A large and open-plan 'living' barn is lit from the courtyard and benefits from views out across gardens, while a lower profile 'sleeping' barn receives morning light and is segregated from the noise of daily life. The courtyard contains an endless swimming pool recessed into the ground, and is converted into a winter garden with a motorised glazed canopy controlled at the flick of a switch, making the space habitable all year round and helping keep the building well sealed, which is vital to reducing energy consumption. More than 100m² of solar panels adorn the south-facing barn roofs, generating enough electricity not only to run the house year-in and year-out, but to charge and drive 2 electric vehicles a sum total of 16,000 miles (the average distance a car is driven in the UK). In-so-doing, the house resolves one of the key issues of rural living - the energy and cost of commuting is effectively reduced to zero. The house is expected to break ground later in 2018.
  • [research] Gross Housing

    [April 2017 - Tutor Dr Leandro Minuchin / Manchester School of Architecture - Dissertation] Awarded a first. ABSTRACT: This study seeks to assess the effects of neoliberal government policy on English housing stock since it’s gradual integration into the dominant political philosophy in the 1980s and 90s. Housing policy since 1945 is analysed to assess the relative trend toward regulation and deregulation, to drive an understanding of the types of effects that policies aimed at deregulation and anti-monetarism may have had. A statistical methodology is formulated, derived from the fields of housing economics and policy research, coupled with a perspective of architectural spatial criticism. The data study experiments with the manipulation of existing aggregate census datasets and other public sphere information on house prices and government housing stock in order to extract detailed trends and drive the basis for an aggregate model to eventually capture, categorise and assess the nation’s housing stock.
  • [research] Robotic Bricklaying

    [April 2017 -  Manchester School of Architecture - Technology Study] Brick’s status as a symbol of quality and solidity is threatened by the willingness of contractors to strip back detailing and cut corners in order to reduce cost. A study of Chi She Art Gallery, Shanghai, P.R.C completed in 2016 by Archi-Union Architects demonstrates an alternative future for the industry. The building features an reclaimed flemish bond brick wall facade with honeycomb sections and extensive undulating corbels, built entirely by robotic Arm. It is an early example of the implementation of robotic construction that will soon revolutionise the industry. Reverse-engineering the processes of construction using Rhino and Grasshopper allowed me to simulate the design environment and requirements of this technology. Building in complicated brickwork patterns has always been a very expensive, time consuming and increasingly rare trade. The fact that this has been achieved in such a modest project represents the dawning of an era: the democratisation of the skill of a master bricklayer. Robotic construction may revive brick as fundamental unit of construction in the modern era.
  • [completed] Sheltered Housing Refurb.

    [May 2016 - John McCall Architects - RIBA Stages 0-7 - Design & Build Contract] Project architect responsibilities (under supervision by practice associate). An existing development in Everton had been the victim of an earlier attempt  to create a sheltered housing development from this group of 3 blocks of council flats. The 1990s development left a series of draughty and overshadowed external walkways linked to a central communal block. Following an extended conception stage working closely with development officers at this housing association, the most cost-effective solution was renovate the existing development, with the added challenge of keeping existing residents in-situ for the duration. After several design iterations, a brief was set to establish internal walkways connecting all blocks. Challenges were posed by the construction of the existing blocks in a notorious 'no-fines' aerated concrete, which severely limited moves to create new openings or add load to existing structures. This was overcome using a light-touch approach, minimizing punctures in the existing fabric and opting for a lightweight timber frame construction. The design inverted the site using short stretches of corridor running around the outside of the blocks to link to an eye-catching and inviting communal block accessed directly from the main road and local shops. Demolition of the offending communal block and walkways aided the creation of a sheltered South-facing communal garden for the enjoyment of the residents.
  • [competition] Walled Garden Regen.

    [Oct 2015 - John McCall Architects - Competition Entry]

    Working in a group of RIBA part 1 and part 2 colleagues, we produced an entry for the Kirkleatham Walled Garden Competition hosted by RIBA North East. The competition brief to redevelop the Kirkleatham Estate in Redcar sought to reinstate a listed Georgian walled garden that had remained derelict since the 1940s. To supplement the tourist income the design sought to establish a cookery school, horticultural school and restaurant on site. Pushing the brief we elected first to integrate within the wider estate, which alleviated issues surrounding access into the garden. To achieved this we seperated the 2 commercial and educational functions and additionally suggested interventions within the wider estate to link into the redevelopment. Working in an advisory role on the design of the built elements, I focussed primarily on design of the garden itself. Reflecting upon the archaelogical and geophysical evidence of ancient structures on site I set up a careful interplay between old and new. We visited Norton Priory Walled Garden, run by the National Trust, in order to gain an fuller understanding of this increasingly rare garden typology. True to the archetype, the final plan establishes a delicate interplay between formal and informal spaces, establishing a series of flows using modes of compression and follies to demarcate different areas of the garden, while carefully framing views of the catering 'horticademy' to be situated within the garden itself. With the introduction of an area of dedicated nursery beds overseen by the cookery school we proposed to encourage the subsistence both in terms of growing its own specimens but also to encourage intensively raising produce for the use of the cookery school, true to the historical function of the garden.

  • [design] Town Centre Art Gallery

    [Sept 2015 - John McCall Architects - RIBA Stages 2-3 - Planning Permission] JMA had been contacted by direct commission, I was tasked with the detailed preparation and submission of planning documents, including a detailed conservation statement, for upgrades to The Chapel Gallery in Ormskirk. While my involvement was limited in the initial stages, my detailed work to help it reach planning helped solidify and finalise concepts, ensuring a light-touch approach was adopted to save and display features of this historic building that highlights the entrance into Ormskirk Town Centre. Despite the boldness of a proposal that introduces a glazed lift-house to enable disabled access within the building without disturbing the plan, the planning application was approved quickly and without issue.
  • [completed] Town Centre Apartments

    [Nov 2015 - John McCall Architects - RIBA Stages 0-6 - Construction Management Contract] Adjacent to the main arterial route into the centre of Southport and occupying a focal point to its notoriously straight roads, This site has presented an obvious gap in the streetscape for a number of years. With a brief to maximize the site for affordable rent housing, following careful analysis of both the site and Supplementary Planning Guidance from the local council, and making adjustments for neighbouring residents and businesses, we arrived at this scheme. A three storey volume occupies the front of the site, stepping down to minimize light loss, and wrapping around a South-facing rear courtyard, a linear mews-like shared surface road extends to the rear of the site where a further 2 storey block of flats is situated. Using intricate brick detailing and controlling proportions the design appeals to contextual archetypes without pandering to them.
  • [completed] Suburban Infill Housing

    [Apr 2015 - John McCall Architects - RIBA Stages 0-6 - Construction Management Contract] On the site of a former public house adjacent to an estate in Buxton, working with an affordable housing development consultant, this project went through a number of iterations before we resolved the site, pending much discussion with the planners and prospective housing association clientele. The design establishes a terraced bank of houses to bookend and frame an existing green, while a small block of flats and further houses is sited at the rear of the site overlooking the public park. The project sympathetically introduces new materials into the area, while small open-plan house types respond to local housing demand at a reasonable density.
  • [design] Conservation Area Housing

    [August 2015 - John McCall Architects - RIBA Stages 0-2] A brownfield development set on a mothballed farm on the periphery of the Green Belt in Liverpool with listed farm buildings in danger of dereliction. Working with a heritage consultant we developed a robust rationale for saving and reinforcing the heritage of the buildings while developing the site for 100% affordable housing. Working to densities set by a delicate balance of HCA funding and land values, we massed for a development that maintained 'village-edge' characteristics, framing views across adjacent farmland and responding to strict supplementary planning guidance and local planning policy.
  • [design] Suburban Infill Dwelling

    [July 2011 - Concept Design & Planning - RIBA Stages 0-3] 

    A small garden-infill site in suburban Southampton carefully considered to maximize the potential the site without inconveniencing the neighbours. The compact 2 bedroom dwelling is designed within strict limits delineated by the City Council's strict supplementary planning guidance which protects against overshadowing, overlooking and maintaining a minimum area of amenity.  This was a very brief project, being developed in a short 3 week period for planning submission.

  • [competition] Charrettes

    [Dec 2009 - University of Plymouth - BA Architecture] Vertical Team Project Working with students from all years in the school, we were briefed to envisage a future scenario for Devonport where the influx of climate refugees had caused the population of the local area to double. Our group were given a coastal site with a large area of parkland. Not wanting to build on this important feature, we proposed an ad-hoc megastructure suspended above and extending out into the mouth of the River Tamar framework that would welcome the gradual accumulation of immigrants and encourage a process of integration by inhabitation. [Mar 2010 - University of Plymouth - Design Competition] Jigsaw Garden Competition Working with a companion, I responded to a local competition to regenerate an area of wasteland close to the city centre of Plymouth with an extremely limited budget. Noting that Plymouth was in need of a water feature, and taking an intervention by Olafur Eliasson in Johanessburg as a precedent, we decided to introduce a palette of industrial and agricultural landscaping components and a scrubland aesthetic to frame an arena for an periodical intervention of literal 'inondation'. Creating a tranquil inward-focussed space akin to local types of amphitheatre, activities such as chalk drawing on the ground and artistic play would be encouraged, all to be periodically washed away by water discharged from large agricultural accumulation tanks at the highest point of the site. Collecting rainwater to be discharged during sunny days, the intervention would create rivulets and safe water features for children to play, while washing away chalk drawings and ritually cleansing the site.
  • [concept] The Peripatetic School

    [May 2010 - University of Plymouth - Year 3 Design Project] Briefed to work within or be reflective of the (now defunct) Building Schools for the Future initiative in order to completely redevelop this ‘hodge-podge’ of a school. I elected for a blur of modernised Aristotlean ‘peripatetic’ pedagogy with participatory [an]architectural theory to design a scheme that adopted a pragmatic and objective approach to salient problems within the school. The proposal appears superficially conservative, perhaps almost reverential with regard to the existing architecture: a variety of system-built units and earlier school archetypes from the past 100 years. I took this approach in consideration partially around ideas of sustainability and reuse, but also with regard to the extremely weak state of the economy in late 2009 and early 2010 (the B.S.F. programme would be entirely revoked as soon as the conservative government took power in June of that year). 'Peripatetic' pedagogy invokes literal walking and talking teachers with small groups of students in tow. The process is a natural flow and stopping through spaces potentially related to the subject being tought, coupling learning within a particular spatial experience and exercise. Building upon the prerequisite for much reduced teacher-student ratios by redirecting funding from top-down development to bottom-up wages, the project instigates a series of simple 'peripatoi' covered walkways and nodal forum spaces for informal teaching both within the school and extending out into the community. Every aspect of the design is intended to encourage the disassembly or manifestation of the existing buildings by the user. The building evokes Jonathan Hill’s ‘Creative User’ in the occupants by agglomerating classroom space, employing more liberal teaching methods and encouraging the autonomous creation and responsibility over space.
  • [concept] Music/Market

    [Oct 2009 - University of Plymouth - Year 3 Design Project]

    Working within a 2 week time-frame I was briefed to generate a conceptual proposal to redevelop this derelict 19th century, grade 2 listed Italianate market hall that was recently relinquished by Devonport Naval Base from a land-grab that followed the Plymouth Blitz in the 1940s. Context Analysis showed strong degrees of deprivation correlated with the ex-military compound which had all but cut off this part of Devonport. One half of the town was isolated by a 12 foot compound wall topped with barbed wire, and a mix of political gerrymandering and ongoing perceived vilification from the rest of Plymouth has meant that a large swathe of the city had been allowed to stagnate. Performing minimal interventions to reinforce the existing structures, while maintaining the patchwork of profiled metal it had inherited from its years of neglect for its symbolic value, my proposal was to help reinvigorate the local community by transforming it into a social hub: setting it up as an informal market / music hall, involving locals by utilising a ‘car-boot’ market ethos and informal music venue types as an alternative to the corporate industrial shed supermarket architecture that has steadily encroached on Plymouth since it was put out of action.
  • [concept] Fashion House

    [May 2009 - University of Plymouth - Year 2 Design Project]

    Following an extensive group-led process of contextual investigation of the locality, we were given an outline brief to create a building dedicated to fashion production and a venue for catwalks, along with a more specific brief of areas and facilities to be provided. I took the project in the direction of embedding a community of students and aspiring fashion designers within a multi-function space overlooking Sutton Quay with separate revenue stream from a cafe and restaurant. My design sprang from the concept of intersecting 2 separate grids related firstly to human scale framing the catwalks juxtaposed to a larger overarching institutional structure that reflected a nearby contextual scales. The interplay between these 2 scales helped formalise external flow through the site literally along the axis of the catwalk. The catwalk is inverted from the typically raised platform to a level and even sunken stage, intended as a means of empowering participation, informal usage and also to encourage the dissolution of an extremely apparent social divide in terms of body image: to embrace a multiplicity of body types who inhabit and use it daily to inform the mode of production of fashion.

  • [concept] Plymouth Townhouses

    [Nov 2008 - University of Plymouth - Year 2 Design Project] Urban infill townhouses for a site approaching the main railway station in Plymouth city centre. The project was a test of analytical ability to develop a strong sense of the site and develop a strong narrative design process for the site while conforming with strict spatial guidelines and economic restrictions. The response reinterprets the interplay of private, semi-private and semi-public spaces within an archetypal terraced townhouse  - particularly addressing the confused and often discarded space of the front garden. A principle aspect of the design creates a physical gap between the front wall of the house and the internal living areas: a so-called 'palisade' wall. This has multiple functions in attenuating road noise, controlling solar gain, creating a defensible external space, facilitating future expansion and encouraging user interaction.