#003 Bourne Estate

I recently went on a delightful Saturday afternoon excursion to the Bourne Estate. The Architect was hosting a walking tour around the recently developed scheme, courtesy of The Architecture Foundation.

The Architect, Matthew Lloyd, gave a small group of us a tour around the London Borough of Camden residential scheme, which sits proudly as an addition to the existing Grade II* listed estate. The new development is a mixed tenure scheme and creates pockets of open spaces within the estate.

Personally, I really enjoyed the new development. The materiality chosen was a delightful addition to the existing red brick façade of the Grade II* listed estate, bosting facades of ceramic tiles and archways – not only visually attractive, but exceptionally easy to maintain. As pointed out to us all – there is a reason why so many Underground stations have glazed tiles – they can be wiped clean of graffiti and dirt, no need to repaint and are capable of handling a large amount of traffic if needed.

The new scheme incorporated key elements of design which derived from the original estate, such as the shared access and balconies for at most 4 flats, to ensure no overcrowding and a sense of ownership. Multiple ground entrances, and open walkways to show the movement and activity of the estate.  

Each new block is designed with GLA minimum standards, and so each resident has space to move and embrace as their own. Overall, I feel it is an incredibly successful scheme, one which I personally, would love to live in.

The practice was praised by the Camden Design Awards jury in 2017 as “highly intelligent and mature response to the existing Edwardian architecture”.

The residential block has been inhabited since 2018, and walking around it 2 years later, it shows extraordinary wear and tear – by this I mean, it looks brand new. There is no visible degradation of the façade or internal communal staircases, lobbies or access routes.

#002 Bovenbouw

“Making architectural moments”

Dirk Sommers, Barbican, Architecture on Stage by The Architecture Foundation

I recently attended a lecture given by Bovenbouw’s Dirk Sommers. Bovenbouw is an Architectural Practice base in Antwerp which makes architecture that can be itself, freed from the compulsive desire to be avant-garde.

Dirk Sommers, the founder and director of Bovenbouw regularly publishes books and gives lectures on topics such as tectonics, representation and urban architecture.

The lecture I attended was discussing “Form and Figure”, how the facade needs to be legible and conveyed internally. The lecture covered a range of projects by Bovenbouw but finished on one unique project which features heavily in Bovenbouw Architectuur: Living the Exotic Everyday, (the book was published for the exhibition The House of The Explorer).

The lecture spoke about capturing the character featured on the façade and creating architectural moments throughout the reconfigured and internally restored building. Each room had a main focus or framed focus. It created a journey from room to room and was a truly inspiring project to be walked through step by step.

The practice, unlike many I have worked for, utilises concept models and experiments with light, texture, materiality and form in different mediums. Even the use of cut brick spliced against blockwork had a remarkable effect, adjusting focus and perception of space.

It is safe to say, after leaving the lecture, I immediately looked up the book and purchased a copy. Watch this space, once I have read the book at least five times, I will provide a sneak preview for you all to assess if you too, wish to purchase the book!