Architype

Our Ten Favourite Buildings

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To mark endometriosis month and raise awareness that one in ten people can be impacted by this disease, we are profiling our favourite ten Architype buildings. You can read our post about becoming an endometriosis friendly employer here

We asked our employees to choose their favourite ten Architype buildings and share their reflections on why. The choices cover many years of Architype’s work from the early, much loved and beautifully matured Springhill Co-Housing scheme, to the more recent study in minimalist design, the Imperial War Museums Duxford Paper Store. We’ve developed a specialty in designing Passivhaus schools and a clear standout is Harris Academy in Sutton, the first Passivhaus secondary school in the UK. Another favourite is Hackbridge primary, a Passivhaus Plus designed school that has the ability to feed energy back to the grid, while at the same time encouraging pupil’s engagement with the environment through its material choices and access to the outdoors. All of our buildings aim to combine sustainable, technical performance with beautiful, healthy environments. 

Springhill Co-Housing ©Katherine Rose

Springhill Co-Housing, Stroud – 2004 – Based on the Danish model, a scheme of collaborative housing that aimed to create a real sense of community and achieve true social and environmental sustainability.

Left: Wildlife Garden Centre, Peckham, South London, right: Genesis Centre ©LeighSimpsonPhotographer

Wildlife Garden Centre, South London – 1991 – An early Architype project using the fundamentals of sustainable design.

For me, the centre sums up the very essence of Architype. It is embedded in its natural context and is a beautifully simple and cost-effective concept. It considers energy conservation, embodied energy in the construction and ways to limit pollution. Natural non-toxic materials are used, along, with recycled newspaper insulation, the Walter Segal method of timber construction, which reflects our self-build roots, and features a green roof. Despite this being a building that is 30 years old, it is still well used and much loved by the community.”

James Todd, associate director

The Genesis Centre, Somerset College of Arts and Technology – 2006 – A successful demonstration of techniques and materials available for sustainable construction; straw bale, earth, timber and clay block.

“The Genesis Centre to my mind is a building which transcends the form vs function debate by building its teaching function into the building’s fabric itself. The exposed wall sections displaying their natural components are playful while simultaneously making a bold statement to and about the entire built environment industry. Anyone who has been inside will forever recall the feeling of comfort and joy they experienced within, alongside the knowledge that it was achieved by challenging the construction status quo. Great design achieves a balance between pushing boundaries and providing functional spaces, which The Genesis Centre unmistakably accomplishes.”

Raina Armstrong, architectural assistant

Twyford Barn, Hereford

Twyford Barn, Hereford – 2006 – The multi–award winning Twyford Barn and the location of our Hereford studio is evidence of our passion for sustainability; in essence we practice what we preach!

“In another world, Twyford Barn would have been left to fall and become rubble.  Instead, what emerged is a building of elegant humility. It is almost impossible not to be left feeling instantly calm, instantly grounded and instantly connected to it. For me, I love it for how the building invites the horizon in and makes it a part of your workspace. I love it for the restored stone, and the timber finishes and the soaring, double-height windows that root you within the hillside and the heritage of the barn itself. But I love it for what it means – a retrofit project that created a world-class, sustainable office in the middle of the UK’s most rural of counties – as much as what it makes you feel.”

Adam Knight, communications specialist

Left: Hackbridge Primary School ©Andy Stagg, right: Harris Academy ©Jack Hobhouse

Hackbridge Primary School, Sutton – 2019 – A Passivhaus Plus designed school that has the ability to feed energy back to the grid, while at the same time encouraging pupil’s engagement with the environment through its material choices and access to the outdoors.

Harris Academy, Sutton – 2019 – The UK’s first Passivhaus secondary school and the largest Passivhaus school in the UK.

St Luke’s Primary, Wolverhampton ©LeighSimpsonPhotographer

St Luke’s Primary, Wolverhampton – 2009 – St Luke’s primary shaped our journey in sustainable education. A pioneering two-form entry primary school, designed to achieve BREEAM ‘Excellent’, and was the first primary school in the UK to secure this rating.

“St Luke’s school was one of those ‘once in a decade’ projects where everyone worked together to create something magical. The school gently puts its arms around pupils in a deprived area of Wolverhampton, and ten years on is still very much loved by its users.”

George Mikurcik, senior architect & Passivhaus designer

Left: The Enterprise Centre at UEA ©BDP, right: Bicester Eco Business Centre ©Jack Hobhouse

The Enterprise Centre, University of East Anglia and The Adapt Low Carbon Group – 2015 – The Enterprise Centre, a world class exemplar for ecological design, has been designed and delivered to achieve the Passivhaus standard and a BREEAM outstanding rating.

Bicester Eco Business Centre – 2018 – Designed as a co-working business-incubator and the first commercial building in the UK designed the Passivhaus Plus standard.

Exterior View of Building 104A Object Store at IWM Duxford ©Richard Ash, IWM

­­­Duxford Paper Store, Imperial War Museums – 2019 – A new-build storage facility for the paper collections of Imperial War Museums (IWM) and a new strategy for collections care, taking Architype’s approach for passive preservation to the next level.