The Abbot’s Kitchen at Glastonbury Abbey

The Abbot’s Kitchen at Glastonbury Abbey

I finally got round to visiting Glastonbury Abbey this week, having lived near-by for 5 years and been deterred by the magic-crystal shops, and discovered this little gem of a building. The Abbot’s Kitchen is the only ...

Precedents II – Dundon Passivhaus

Precedents II – Dundon Passivhaus

Rather than thinking about what it would look like, a lot of our discussions revolved around the atmosphere of the house and the way different spaces would relate to one another. Emily is an interior designer, so we each had different, but fortunately ...

Precedents I – Newington Green House

Precedents I – Newington Green House

Observing the built environment and studying the work of others are a crucial part of the design process, yet these are things most architects seldom discuss. We might talk about our favorite ...

Nantes Architecture School – Lacaton Vassal

Nantes Architecture School – Lacaton Vassal

Last week I went to see a building I’d been longing to visit since it opened in 2009. The School of Architecture in Nantes (ENSA) by Architects Anne Lacaton & Jean-Philippe Vassal takes a provocative and inspiring attitude to educational space that is sadly lacking in most British universities. It looks like a carpark, which is pretty much what it is in its construction. From their first...

Hooke Park

Hooke Park

The UK is one of the least forested nations in Europe with only 12% of land area covered and 80% of the sawn softwood used in construction is imported (Forestry Commission figures, 2014). Hidden away in a 350 acre working forest in Dorset, students from the Architectural Association are experimenting with new ways of designing and making buildings using locally grown timber. Isolation and the woodland setting are...

Barrington Court

Barrington Court

On Sunday we headed over to Barrington Court, the first large house taken on by the National Trust (in 1907), and one that caused them such serious financial difficulties that it was held up for years after as an example of why they should be vary wary of taking on other stately homes. For over ...

Residential Barn Conversions – Permitted Development Clause Q

Residential Barn Conversions – Permitted Development Clause Q

Over the last couple of months I’ve been challenging the most ill-conceived piece of planning legislation that I’ve come across since working as an architect. Permitted Development is a very sensible policy that enables certain development to be carried out without applying for planning permission. It has always been restricted to minor works that would not have a detrimental affect on the appearance of a building or the landscape. It allows people to ...

Piet Oudolf Interview at Hauser & Wirth Somerset

Piet Oudolf Interview at Hauser & Wirth Somerset

The first time I saw the work of the Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf was ten years ago on a visit to Bentley in Hampshire where he had collaborated on the gardens of Bury Court, a hop farm that was converted to a plant nursery in the 1990s. Since then I’ve seen a ...

Porto architecture

Porto architecture

There’s a backlog of half-written posts building up here due to the distractions of a 4 month old baby who doesn’t recognise blog writing as a valid activity. This one shouldn’t be too hard to wrap up though, so I’ll give it a go. In early November...

Blurry edges

Blurry edges

Driving back from dropping my son at nursery this morning I saw this rather splendid haystack next to the road. (It’s actually a strawstack but I’ve never heard one called that…) Remembering this storyfrom a few years ago about a farmer who built a house behind a haystack hoping to conceal it from the planners, I had to go and see what ...

Hauser & Wirth Somerset

Hauser & Wirth Somerset

Very excited this week about the opening of Hauser & Wirth Somerset in Bruton. Its not often a leading international art gallery decides to set up shop on my patch so I was keen to go along and have a look. My review will be in the August issue of the journal Architecture Today . Fundamentally it is a ...

Avonmouth Grain & Coal Silos

Avonmouth Grain & Coal Silos

From the M5 motorway bridge near Bristol you get a magnificent view over the docks at Avonmouth. In the low landscape of carparks and sheds I had spotted several concrete grain silos poking up but had never been able to stop and investigate. This weekend ...

Michelucci – Church of the Autostrada and Bank in Colle val d’Elsa

Michelucci – Church of the Autostrada and Bank in Colle val d’Elsa

I have long been intrigued by the work of Giovanni Michelucci, an architect from Pistoia who’s early work such as Santa Maria Novella railway station in Florence was rational and functional but who later developed a much more expressive approach rooted in ...

Mells – Lutyens in Somerset

Mells – Lutyens in Somerset

This week Emily & I went for a rare night away at the Talbot Inn in Mells, a 15th Century coaching inn with great food and atmosphere. We had been keen to go there for some time but my enthusiasm was only partly motivated by the ...