July 2009

After my rant last month I have to admit that July has been my busiest and most successful in the past few years. A sod cutting ceremony is taking place on Monday(10th August) for our new conversion and extension of Wellwynd Church into a community business centre(below) and we were successful in our tender to design a new £2.5m ‘Life Centre’ in Glenboig, North Lanarkshire which I have been busy researching, consulting and designing  over the past few weeks. Early days for images but I will be posting some soon as planning is to be lodged in September.


Having watched Channel 4’s The Home Show with George Clark I think on the whole what he does is great but I have always been wary about the fact that although he points out that VAT is 15% of people budget he doesn’t mention that in reality fees for an architect, project manager and interior designer would take up another chunk of a budget. I havealso been critical that the show is unrealistic in that clients never come up with a cheque book and say do what you can with that and we will move out while you do it….until now!  A client walked into our office and asked us to go and see his house, gave us a brief (ie change interior, exterior, decorate and  furnish and presented us, not quite home show style, with his overall budget. It is a challenging but welcome task and we are moving quickly to get designs together.

Another client walked into our office recently, not a common thing I would add, and asked us to look at extending and refurbishing their house. They had designs done previously but wanted a fresh look at what could be done. Without being too critical, their house is a typical mass develpment type timber frame house that you see thrown up around the country and although we have worked on these houses before it has mainly been disability extensions which have are needs and grant driven. It has been a bit of a challenge come up with how to extend a house of this type in a contemporary manner and havving produced a workable floor plan to meet the clients needs and lifestyle we have decided to take a fairly minimal approach to the external treatment of the extension. We have used facing brick to tie the extension to the existing predominent materials used in the area with some timber infill to a storage area to soften the side elevation and large bifolding doors to connect the internal living area to the garden. Although the large opening glazed doors to the garden has become the ‘done thing’ these days, the reason is quite simple, it works and it looks great. The investment in putting the right doors in though is a must and substituting cheap upvc alternatives can ruin the whole feel of a modern addition to a home.

subtle extension to typical mass development house type

subtle extension to typical mass development house type

I have been involved with an organisation trying to promote the development of a museum facility in Scotland dedicated to the involvement of Scots in all conflict throughout the world of the years. Although there has been a lot of support there is very little progress mostly due to the current economic climate. The group have an exhibition in the foyer of the Mitchell Library in Glasgow covering the recently formed Royal Regiment of Scotland which runs until 22nd August. I designed the posters for the exhibition which can be seen on on my February 2009 post.

I had a trip through to Edinburgh to see the Spain exhibition currently running at the National Gallery. An interesting collection of paintings including Goya and Picasso, the exhibition celebrates Spanish Culture through the eyes of British artists and collectors. Apart from the obvious selections such as Picasso’s Weeping woman, I particularly liked ‘The Bullring, Algecirus’ by Joseph Crawhall.

The Bullring Algecirus by Joseph Crawhall 1891

The Bullring Algecirus by Joseph Crawhall 1891

The bull looks defiant in the face of impending doom, still standing stoic almost aware of it’s fate, blood staining the legs of the horse and the bull’s neck where it has no doubt been stabbed repeatedly throughout the theatre of its death. The faceless Picador’s almost have their heads bowed in reverence while a banderillero looks poised to leap the fence behind.

The exhibition runs until 11th October and costs £8 or £6 concessions

Official opening of Motherwell Children’s House is on 13th August and by all accounts the new residents are enjoying their new home.

Various reports seem to suggest the recession is coming to an end although there still seems to be very little movement in the residential market. I am awaiting a couple more tender results however my current workload is enough to last 12months which is an amazing thing to say even in the best of times!

August will be a busy month and with the weather the way it is there aren’t too many distractions.

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