DESIGN

PROCESS

Our vision

Design is central to everything we do.

We bring together the experience of people and the power of technology within a collaborative process.

Many inputs drive design, but context and place-making are central to all the design decisions we make.

With climate change the major challenge facing society, sustainability is a key driver within all our designs. Optimising site orientation with energy conservation and thermal performance are fundamental design drivers, integrating an efficient building fabric with intelligent controls.

We take a ‘best value’ approach to all design decisions where cost effectiveness stems from good design. The Harris Academy Falconwood is an example of a compact building based on a ‘mega block’ concept which compresses the plan of the new school building into an elongated cube. The efficient plan means that circulation space is minimised, wayfinding and supervision are made easy, and the building can be economically constructed and maintained.

Feeling safe and secure is fundamental to the operation of all healthcare and education buildings. How the site and building is arranged is key to the creation of a secure environment for users and staff. Discreet secure lines are designed to allow the subtle separation and controlled access between full public, semi-public and private zones. 

We believe educational design should not only provide inspiring teaching and learning environments but also places that nurture personal development, promote respect and ownership whilst improving attainment.

Socialising is an important part of a student’s day. With portable devices now commonplace, the learning environment extends to more informal areas of a school or university campus. Designs therefore need to integrate spaces for social interaction and personal study, including internal circulation zones and dining spaces as well as external social and play areas.

Radical new teaching and learning environments are emerging, where personalised learning is replacing traditional class-based teaching. Our West Thornton Primary Academy for the London Borough of Croydon is an example where the Synaptic Trust promotes independent learning at primary school level. Year groups are mixed together within double classroom spaces which feature a series of ‘learning sets’ throughout the building.

Designing for the shared use of facilities can play a significant part in the overall design concept and financial viability of current projects.

Careful planning of multi-use spaces can maximise their flexibility and accessibility to a wider user base.

Buildings serving as wider community hubs as part of primary healthcare facilities challenge the norm. Combining education and sports facilities for public use create beneficial amenities and ‘best value’ in terms of public spending.