Sure Start

Sure Start, Rosehill is a lively, colourful, nursery and community centre, wrapped around a south facing garden creating an oasis of calm for young children in a fairly busy and cosmopolitan area of Derby. ‘The Big Building’ was the winning entry when local school children were invited to choose a name.

The Big Building is designed around passive solar principles. It has highly insulated north facing walls with very few openings to minimize heat loss through the vulnerable fabric. South facing elevations are glazed and the office and nursery accommodation looks onto the south facing garden through a two-story atrium space. This passively heats the building. Heat gain is controlled by automatically opening and closing louvres to the patent glazing, which are also fitted with rain sensors. The building is designed to be entirely naturally ventilated with a free flow of air throughout the building.

Solar thermal cells to the roof supplement the hot water heating system. The building has a glulam timber frame structure that is exposed throughout. External walls to the northern elevation are block and brightly coloured render.

Rainwater is recycled and used for washing machines, for flushing the w.c's and for an outside water supply to the garden.

A focal point in the garden is our ‘solar tree’. The ‘tree’ supports photo-voltaic panels which will be used to charge batteries for an electric mini-bus, and will encourage children to think about sustainable design.

The garden is made secure by a stunning stainless steel ‘crinkle–crankle’ fence that incorporates seats and insects, which was designed by the sculptor Dennis O’Connor.

Walbrook Nursery

 The nursery garden is bounded by a busy road, a high wall and an electricity substation!

We created a series of introspective spaces deeply buried amongst plants. Each space facilitates an aspect of the national curriculum for outdoor play. So, for example, there is an ‘amphitheatre’ for drama, assembly and special occasions, large enough to seat everyone. By contrast a much smaller and more introspective space is created by wrapping a small seat around the trunk of a pear tree where one-to-one reading can take place.

Potter Street

Our clients purchased a Grade II listed thatched cottage with a long sunny garden. The cottage had limited space, was cold, damp and expensive to heat. Thermal improvement of the existing fabric was constrained by the listed status, so a case was put together to extend to form a thermally superior part of the building for lounge and sleeping accommodation, with kitchen, dining and guest accommodation in the original house.

To avoid interfering with the thatched roof, a glazed link joins the old to the new, which is a contemporary timber framed structure with a mixture of traditional and modern materials. The project ultimately received an award from the Civic Society.

Forester’s Lodge

Forester’s Lodge is a Grade 2 Listed former Coach House. The building is an interesting example of its kind, symmetrically organized around a central tower, however, a freak flash flood rendered the building uninhabitable and our client had to move into rented accommodation. This was seen as an opportunity to re-model and extend the building.

We simplified the window patterns to create more light and drama. False ceilings were removed which, in addition to exposing the historic roof structure, allowed us to introduce a series of galleries with service space, such as shower rooms and dressing areas, tucked beneath.

We also built 2 additional bedrooms. The approach taken to preserve the character of the historic building was to connect these with a simple glass link with a lead roof as a contrasting contemporary intervention. This link created an entrance with sunken living space and a gallery above.

Garden room

Our client’s front door opened directly into their kitchen. They wanted a porch, but, in their own words, “an interesting one”.

We looked at the house and the garden. There was an interesting view which the house design failed to capture, and an attractive tree on the front lawn.

We designed the porch to frame the new view with an angled wall opening up the space until it was big enough to fit a dining table. The angled wall means that the roof dips into the corner; this leaves a view of the tree from the house as well as the garden.

A large section of patent glazing over the kitchen window means that the space remains light and sunny.

2 Dale Road

 2 Dale Road is an attractive turn of the century building in a prominent position in Matlock town centre. It was formerly a hotel.

We were asked to come up with a layout to achieve 4 flats for a developer interested in obtaining a planning consent for residential change of use.

The developer’s view was that small, affordable flats would work well in Matlock, and close to shops and public transport links.

The problem we faced was how to resolve fire and acoustic issues and to provide good levels of light and storage within limited space and no prospect of adding additional windows.

The solution was to keep the flats open plan using screens instead of walls. the screens double up as storage and light permeable.

We believe this is a good way of regenerating an interesting building which has been empty for some years and will now provide affordable housing and help bring life back to the town centre during the evening and weekends when shops are closed.

McCall’s Special Products

 A redundant brick Victorian workshop was repaired and re-modelled to create office accommodation as well as shower and amenity facilities for steel workers in the adjoining factory. McCalls make tensile steel components and these were incorporated into the design. A potentially gloomy deep plan office at first floor was turned to advantage by the installation of a stretched fabric tensile ceiling which floods the space with natural daylight.