Another year over...

Blog — 16 Dec 2019

On the eve of a new decade, and as I started to think about our end of year round up it was difficult to ignore the biggest issue that faces all of us over the next ten years.

2019 marked the moment when the science behind environmentalism was finally listened to. Architects ”Declared”, planners are now challenging the orthodoxy of redevelopment and end-users are now demanding intelligent, environmentally friendly places to live and work in. The future of our planet is now centre stage, and sustainability is at the top of the agenda. This is going to reshape the way we design and the way we build forever.

The built environment and the construction industry contribute 39% of all carbon emissions globally. Operating emissions account for 28% with embodied carbon and construction accounting for the remaining 11%. Clearly, we can make great strides in reducing the carbon footprint of our buildings, but the big wins will be in designing smart buildings that reduce carbon emissions in use. Designers will need to be retained beyond handover to carry out in-use full lifecycle impact evaluation.

Architects solve problems, and together with engineers’ progress has already been made in understanding the impact of our work on the planet. This will develop at pace, and it is refreshing to see how all members of the team from clients to contractors are embracing this thinking.

Against that backdrop we have had another busy year with a broad range of projects commencing and completing. A lot of our commercial work has involved re-purposing and re-furbishing existing buildings, whilst ticking the embodied carbon box it also by-passes the overly complex and drawn out planning system and shortens the construction period. From the building owners perspective, it is far easier to pre-let buildings that have a quick lead in and a shorter construction phase.

Completed examples include, Devon House for Blackstone, Premier Pace for Greycoat, 33 Broadwick Street for Brockton and Fora, 1 Lyric Square for Schroders and The Office Group. Looking ahead The Gilbert Building on Finsbury Square for Brookfield, and Shoe Lane for Endurance Land are set to complete next year.

Devon House

Hathaway House is at the point of handover; this is a new build mixed use office and residential building on a tight canalside site opposite our studio.

We are looking forward to the completion of One Three Six George Street, a new build mixed use scheme that Native Land are developing and will handover in 2020.

Seven Dials, bespoke light fitting designed by S+T

In other sectors, Seven Dials Food Market in Covent Garden opened to great acclaim, and 2020 will see the commencement of our first project for the Grosvenor Estate, an exciting retail and residential scheme at Newsons Yard on Pimlico road.

Newson's Yard

Despite the economic uncertainty we have several interesting projects in the private residential sector. Next year will see the commencement of a new build house on the coast at Seasalter in Kent, and we will see a 24 storey new build residential project in Camden.

Seasalter, Kent

2019 has seen growth in the size of our practice, we are now over 50 people. We have continued to support and mentor students from the SLT (Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust), the RCA (Royal College of Art) and Westminster University. We have established a ‘ Green Team” that monitors ways we can reduce our environmental impact and better inform the studio on all issues environmental. We have joined the Heart of City London Business Alliance which seeks to help us become not only a good business but a Responsible one.

Finally we are pleased to welcome Serena, Joe, Jonny and Tak as new Associates in the practice, congratulations to the four of them.