Archive 2012

Special Talk by an International Architect

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The former barn, part of the Bennetts Associates Architects London studio

The AAA is pleased to announce the first of its talks by international architects for 2012. Keep your calendar free on the evening of Tuesday 3 April, for a talk by Julian Lipscombe, Director of one of the UK's leading architectural practices, Bennetts Associates Architects, with offices based in London and Edinburgh.

Formed in 1987, Bennetts Associates established it's reputation in the UK with a series of pioneering headquarters for major corporate clients and has expanded it's repertoire to embrace other building types such as theatres, universities, factories, transport, hotels, housing and conservation projects.

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Overview of the Bennetts Associates Architects London studio

Julian Lipscombe joined the practice in 1992 and became a Director in 2002. He has been intimately involved in many of the firm's award winning projects and will offer a fascinating insight into their approach to design.
As a founding member of the UK Green Building Council, it is appropriate to introduce their work by showcasing their London practice premises. Their studio reflects the firm's commitment to sustainable design and a sensitive approach to the existing built environment.

Completed in March 2002, at final cost of £1.1 million, the practice undertook the adaptive reuse of redundant industrial buildings in Clerkenwell. Hemmed in by Georgian and early Victorian terraces, the 650m2 site has an awkward and irregular boundary with two existing buildings on either side of a small, cobbled courtyard.

On the north side is a former print works, once used as a foundry for cast metal lettering and more recently as the premises of a commercial printers. On the south side is a small 18th century barn, a unique survivor from the days when livestock required a resting place on their way to Smithfield Market. Between the barn and the boundary wall is a new, two-storey studio space, replacing some outbuildings that were beyond repair.

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View of the circulation space between the existing buildings of the Bennetts Associates Architects London studio

Although the barn was in a state of near collapse, it has been restored to form the "hub" of Bennetts Associates' offices, with its rugged brickwork exposed to view at every opportunity. Meeting rooms and the library are located in its three floors. Refreshment points in the circulation route through the barn encourage interaction between the workspaces on either side. By placing the key rooms in the barn, the whole of the print works and the new extension are devoted to open-plan offices, with good levels of day lighting and a flexible arrangement of workstations that can be serviced from the floor. A double height space near the entrance serves as a whole-office meeting place. The main entrance itself is through the existing wall on to Rawstorne Place, allowing the courtyard to retain its original dimensions and atmosphere.

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Interiors of the Bennetts Associates Architects London studio

Bennetts Associates is using the project as an exemplar for its own work on sustainability. Bringing redundant buildings back into re-use is one of the key economic principles, but the design also demonstrates at an environmental level how to reduce carbon emissions across disparate forms of construction. This includes a series of measures to reduce energy consumption, including thermal mass, such as a green roof, in the new build element, natural ventilation, high insulation values, solar control and the avoidance of air conditioning.

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Interiors of the Bennetts Associates Architects London studio

For a sneak peak at Bennetts Associates Architects portfolio go to their website.

Our special AAA talk will take place at Sydney University. Further details of the location will be released closer to the date.


Photos courtesy of Bennetts Associates