Author Archive

RSPB Black Devon Wetlands with Astrid Jaekel

Posted on: October 21st, 2016 by Dan Jones No Comments


A semi-enclosed shelter for visitors to Scotland’s newest nature reserve, on the Inner Forth just SouthEast of Alloa. The 38-hectare site, known as Black Devon Wetlands, is a mosaic of untouched wet grassland and wetland habitats behind the sea wall. The reserve is an important refuge for large flocks of breeding and wintering wildfowl, special to the Firth of Forth SPA.

The brief was to deliver a viewing structure with a budget of just £24,500. The structure screens people from birds on the wetlands, while providing visitors with excellent views of the reserve and shelter from the elements. The screen sits on screw-pile foundations minimising contamination in the ground. Above foundation level, the screen was entirely constructed by civic’s Andrew Siddall with RSPB staff and local volunteers.

Seared and rough sawn Larch cladding from Perthshire lends a ‘feathery’ pattern to the screen’s wall while 12 laser cut steel panels depict an interpretive calendar of typical migrating and resident bird species set against local cultural landmarks. The screen frames extraordinarily beautiful views of the reserve, but it also punctuates this remarkable landscape, drawing people into focus with wildlife, pylons and medieval towers alike.

Myatts Fields Depot Building

Posted on: October 19th, 2016 by Dan Jones No Comments

The project proposes to refurbish and extend in equal measure the existing buildings of the Depot at the edge of Myatts Fields in SE London. The thrifty and inventive approach taken in these proposals aims to conserve and enhance what is considered by many to be a charismatic set of facilities, and is an exercise in breathing new life into a valuable community asset on a budget.

The greenhouse was originally used to incubate shrubs for planting-out in the park, now the Depot buildings act more like an incubator for new community enterprises and activities. By tailoring the Depot facilities to better suit MFPP’s needs, MFPP aim to make these opportunities more visible as well as more accessible to local people.

civic were initially commissioned to run a series of detailed stakeholder engagement sessions to identify needs and potentials for the project, which formed the basis for a well considered brief and strategy for how the various users needs would be accommodated. The project received full planning permission early in 2016 and is awaiting final funding commitments to be put in place before construction can begin.

Towerbank Circle

Posted on: October 18th, 2016 by Dan Jones No Comments

civic have been instrumental in working within a group of dedicated parents and staff to develop and improve the playground at Towerbank Primary School in East Edinburgh.

The ‘Circle’ was left to the school to develop following the completion of a 9 class extension in 2013. All funding has been (and continues to be) raised through the efforts of the wider school community and the Parent Staff Association of the school.

Semi-mature trees sit as cardinal/compass points; connecting the landscape with different seasons with a Scots Pine (pointing North from the centre), Norwegian Maple, Birch and Cherry trees all providing much needed visual feature and shading during the summer months. The trees also act as a seasonal calendar, changing colour and interest throughout the year. A set of large stones were donated from one of Edinburgh University’s building sites and act as play features for the children to invent games and jump between. The central bench can accommodate a class of 30 working ‘in the round’, with stepping bays located around the perimeter to provide open ended play and much needed seating space for children and parents throughout the school day.

RIBA Regional Award 2016

Posted on: April 27th, 2016 by Dan Jones No Comments

We are delighted to have won an RIBA East Regional Award for the completed EcoHub at the awards ceremony in Cambridge.

The awards jury also redefined their own criteria and awarded a unique Special Award for Community Architecture; recognising the significant impact that this building and its’ landscape now make to the village.

‘…The Gamlingay Eco Hub is a remarkable testament to the power of local community and a committed architect. When the jury visited the building the fact that they struggled to find a parking space reinforced the view that this was no ordinary community centre. This is a thriving and financially successful business centre as well as a gathering point for the local population.

For the jury the whole project was inspirational in many ways and they felt very strongly that the project should receive the recognition it deserves.  The significant involvement of the local community is what made this project happen and what makes it an ongoing success – for that RIBA East are delighted to give the whole team a special mention for Gamlingay Eco Hub’s outstanding contribution to society…’


click here to see the project.

Gamlingay Eco Hub Extension

Posted on: March 22nd, 2016 by Dan Jones No Comments

The remodelled Eco Hub is an exemplary sustainable community building providing the sort of facilities small communities aspire to, including a library, a large hall for sport and functions, a youth wing, a kitchen, a café servery, changing rooms, a new dance studio and a Parish Council office. The extension completes the original vision for the project by not only increasing the useable space within the building but by providing an external landscape that hugely extends the way in which the community centre can be used by the diverse local community.

The repair and adaptive reuse of the old building expands the original floor area by 70% and renders the original brick shoebox of a building all but unrecognisable. The substantial part of the old structure that has been retained has been insulated externally and faced in rain-screen cladding, as have the new works. The whole therefore reads as a single conglomerate of a distinctly barn-like scale and character.

From a standing start, having never been involved in the design process before, a loose association of residents got themselves together as a group and raised £2M (in two phases) to turn a defunct 1970’s community centre in their village into what the Department for Energy and Climate Change have called ‘one of the greenest community centres in the country’.

New Architects 3

Posted on: January 7th, 2016 by Dan Jones No Comments

New Architects 3 is the definitive survey of the best British architects to have set up practice in the ten years since 2005. The third book in the Architecture Foundation’s highly influential series, it features close to 100 practices, selected by a jury of leading critics and curators. As a portrait of the emerging talent in one of the world’s most consistently influential architectural cultures, New Architects 3 casts light on the future of architecture in the UK and beyond.

civic are cited in the introduction for our award winning Gamlingay Eco Hub, and are delighted to be included amongst a diverse range of practices and projects that demonstrate the breadth of design skill and talent in our sector.

North Lanarkshire Primary Healthcare Arts Strategy

Posted on: January 6th, 2016 by Dan Jones No Comments

Our sculpture in the new Kilsyth Health Centre features as part of the portfolio of projects making up the Arts Strategy for North Lanarkshire NHS. The collected projects exemplify the ways in which properly engaged public art projects can positively enhance and augment the day to day experiences for staff, patients and visitors to these new healthcare buildings.

“…The courtyard artwork in particular, has been very well received and is testimony not only to the creativity and originality of the artists involved, but also the willingness of all the groups and individuals who responded to NHS Lanarkshire’s and the artists’ calls for the public’s thoughts and opinions on how they envisaged the artwork taking shape.

In many ways the artwork is a tangible example of the partnership between public and private agencies, local communities and patients and the public.”

Neena Mahal, Chair NHS Lanarkshire Board

Potton Hall for All

Posted on: November 5th, 2015 by Dan Jones No Comments

civic have developed a series of 3 dimensional models in order to test the viability and extent to which a new community centre would be feasible as a single or 2 storey building. The models are borne out of detailed analysis of the community needs and aspirations coupled with our experience in assembling building functions that sustain continued revenue and use for rural communities such as Potton.

Our outline scheme sits within a large scale development at the edge of the town, and relates to new residential and existing sports and leisure spaces on the southern edge of Potton. The client group are currently applying for funding in order to progress the scheme.

Duxford Brewery Field Housing

Posted on: October 20th, 2015 by Dan Jones No Comments

Alongside the design and community engagement activities that civic have been undertaking for Duxford Parish Council, we were asked to develop a schematic housing plan in order to attract potential housing developers to the site.

We worked on the financial modelling and design layouts to provide a commercially viable scheme that would provide opportunity for the village to expand sensitively and in line with demand for a range of housing types and tenures – thereby supporting the village’s need to grow in a balanced way.

The housing scheme (shown bottom left) offers a variety of properties from 1 bed to 5 bed houses to create a mixed development of 22 units of various size wrapped around the new community hub and opposite the Primary School.

Following a village-wide referendum on the project for the community hub in 2015, the plans are on hold. A second village-wide referendum is due to be held in 2016.

Rainham Take me to the River

Posted on: August 31st, 2015 by Dan Jones No Comments

civic’s Dan Jones talks about our extension to the Rainham Royals Youth Centre in a short film accompanying the Architecture Foundation’s Take me to the River exhibition at the Royal Academy.

The exhibition celebrates the work of Peter Beard_Landroom’s project in Rainham alongside other architects who have been working in Rainham within the context of a strategy to improve the town’s public infrastructure. Delivered by the Greater London Authority and the London Borough of Havering over the past decade, the new work ranges in scale from landscape proposals by architects including East and What if: projects, to the remodeling of existing buildings by Civic Architects and Alison Brooks, and a new library, nursery and housing project designed by Maccreanor Lavington which formalizes a square outside Rainham station.

View the film here – Take me to the River

See our project in more detail here.