West India Dock Rd. Eco Housing Scheme goes into planning

WAG have just submitted planning application for this green new mixed use scheme in Limehouse, London. The development will contain a new residential block at the rear of the site whilst the existing listed building will contain a bar, recording studios, art and sculpture exhibition space, a yoga space and artists studios. The scheme will collect rainwater, recycle greywater, and combine solar water heating with a sustainable combined heat and power solution for the new flats and existing building. The main structure of the new building will be constructed from structural timber panels (tying up around 200 tonnes of CO2 in the structure).PRESS: For more information and full press-release please contact us at info[at]wag-architecture.co.ukLimehouse Northview-1Limehouse Southview-1 Limehouse Elev Limehouse Sec Limehouse Plan

WAG’s Social Ecologies scheme Commended – Europan 9: Milton Keynes

We are very pleased to report that our “Social Ecologies” proposal for Milton Keynes site in Europan 9 Competition has received a commendation.

Jury’s report:
The project explored social structures and an approach to tenure rather than architecture or built form. Housing is grouped in small courts with shared community gardens and clustered communal resources. The jury welcomed this holistic consideration and positive vision for medium density housing in the 21st century.

The Milton Keynes Social Ecology by WAG is an urban cohousing permaculture project, aimed at meeting a growing niche demand in the housing market. The proposal is an opt-in community for individuals and families who want to take the next step in sustainable modern living. The Social Ecology is organised through the collective ownership and management of a community freehold, with private leaseholds for dwellings. There are shared car pools, rather than private car ownership, and instead of roads, a network of cycle routes and footpaths cross the site. There is an ecology of green spaces – from public to private. The dwellings are clustered into groups of twenty units, organised around a linear public park, permaculture based community school, market hall and democratic billboard mediaspace. Each co-housing cluster overlooks shared garden, organic food growing and playground spaces. The individual dwelling units are organised around private courtyard gardens, which are treated as an external living rooms.

Click images to enlarge
Europan9-Wa009 1-3-1 Europan9-Wa009 2-3 Europan9-Wa009 3-3
About Europan:
Europan is a biennial competition for young architects and urban design professionals, under 40 years of age, to design innovative housing schemes for sites across Europe.

Intelligent Workplace Environments: Office interior fit out work

Intelligent Workplace Environments: Office interior fit out work

It is difficult to overestimate the importance of design in workplace and corporate environments. A good workplace, or office, is planned in such a way that it embodies and promotes the values, ambitions and structures of an organisation. It might encourage teams to develop or work together, or enable communications between individuals or parts of a company, or simply just help productive concentration, by the way that it organises views, desks, circulation, refreshment and lounge spaces. The organisation of a workspace should be planned in accordance with the values, business plan and culture of a company – visualising and manifesting them. A badly planned environment can be wasteful enough to derail destination and vision.

There are countless studies that document the positive effects that a well planned space can have on the productivity and general well being of workers. It is equally clear that companies who provide attractive, healthy environments that are uplifting to be in, are much more successful at recruiting and retaining the best individuals, and have much stronger teams.

Furthermore, your corporate environment not only structures your internal organisational consciousness, it also emits powerful signals to the outside world, as an image of a company. Just as a company should storyboard the typically daily experience of its employees, it should just as importantly plan the experience of any visitors – what do they see when they arrive, what is their first experience as they walk through the door? What information are they give, by what medium?, Who do they first meet, where and how? The entrance and reception areas of a company are interfaces to the world: 3D adverts.

WAG can help you evaluate and develop your existing and potential plans. Whilst it is possible to occupy successfully a ‘self-planned’ or ‘as found’ space, the likelihood is that your space is only being used to 60-70% of its potential.

A good design study would start by auditing the ways that the company is currently occupying space, which would include conducting surveys and recordings of existing movement, working and occupation patterns. We would consult with directors and employees, through interviews, questionnaires and workshops, exploring existing, perceived and ideal workplace conditions.

Building upon the aspirations and needs of the individuals and organisations that occupy the building, this kind of study would explore various spatial organisation options that embody and articulate different corporate values and cultures. We can then help you to understand which kind of organisation and space is most suitable for you. For example, are the directors of the different departments situated in the midst of their respective teams, or are they close to each other, in a power space? Are there breakout lounge spaces – for each team or shared spaces? What kind of office layout is most suitable for your corporate culture – Cellular offices, open plan, hotdesking…?

This study would set out the kinds of costs and time periods associated with various development options. It would also of course also set out the kind legislation that you need to be aware of, and which needs to be designed for – in particular regarding disabled access, building control and planning, and general environmental responsibilities.

In you agree that this kind of work is required, then we would suggest that we meet the various directors at your building. You can show us around, and we can have a general question and answer session. We can also present some of our work. If you are then interested in taking things further, we can draw up from this discussion a detailed proposal and scope of work for a feasibility study, and an overview of the design process that would happen after that.

I hope this helps to clarify what we can do. Give us a call on 020 73772423 if you have any questions.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!


Birnbeck Island Competition

Year: 2007

WAG: Architects

Project Description: Ideas competition for development of a derelict but listed island resort and bridge/pier for UrbanSplash.

Estimated contract sum: N/A

Our latest competition submission for this exciting new project. Unfortunately, WAG was not shortlisted to procure project further. To see other entries/winner please visit RIBA competitions office.

Wag Birnbeck Print
Click to Enlarge (Full Screen)
Site Analysis:
Weston-Super-Mare operates efficiently during the holiday season, but has a lot of spare capacity for the rest of the year. Part of the brief we set ourselves is to develop a business model for Birnbeck Island that can use this spare capacity as an opportunity.

Create a destination that supports and attracts the existing tourist market during the summer season, providing cafes, restaurants art, live music etc. For the rest of the year, the island operates as a new university and business think tank venue, specialising in ecology, new media art, IT – partnering with local hotels to use spare capacity as student accommodation..

1. Renovate the pier and the listed buildings on the island to provide cafe and restaurant facilities, fully online etc
2. Remove concrete pillars and platform, and build a new, state of the art, semi submerged auditorium – acting as a music venue in season and a lecture theatre etc for the rest of the year
3. Insert a new crane/funfair like structure, which can unfold to provide lighting, AV, umbrella etc functions as required
4. Create a field of wave/wind powered lights, across the local bay

The geographer and cultural theorist Manuel Castells has argued that our contemporary condition can be described as a “bipolar opposition between the net and the self”, and he has suggested that if we are to take control of our futures, and the futures of our cities, then we need to build what he calls “bridges” between what he calls “the space of flows” (ie global information and capital networks) and the “space of places” (ie the real, local world and its ecologies). He argues that places that do not robustly plug themselves into the global space of flows risk economic and social stagnation. Our approach bridges these spaces, by working with ecological models that combine and synergise natural and social ecosystems.

In developing this proposal we have applied best practice thinking regarding sustainability, which is defined as working to the triple bottom line: People, Planet and Profit. We have developed a business model that turns problems with the local economy into opportunities, generating new business, culture and training.
The light field is a self powering system. We have maintained all of the important existing fabric, and have only introduced new structure where it can provide most value (all detailed specification will be according to Cradle2Cradle principles). We believe that there are opportunities for site micro energy generation – probably solar water heating and wind power… but to be determined….

Birnbeck Island Bridge Ecology is an IT hub… kitted out with the latest AV, on-line and media interface gear
Media of all kinds are organised across the island according to Democratic Billboard principles: partnerships are formed with local councils, business and indeed multinational corporations. Space and time usage of the media infrastructure is allocated as:
20 % Art
20% BIBE
10% Local news/information
30% Local advertising
20% Global advertising

Sailmakers Building and New Residential Development

WAG are currently working on this green new mixed use scheme in Limehouse, London. The development will contain a new residential block at the rear of the site whilst the existing listed building will contain a bar, recording studios, art and sculpture exhibition space, a yoga space and artists studios. The project is currently being prepared for planning. The scheme will collect rainwater, recycle greywater, and combine solar water heating with a sustainable combined heat and power solution for the new flats and existing building. The main structure of the new building will be constructed from structural timber panels (tying up around 200 tonnes of CO2 in the structure). Images shown here are work in progress.

About Sailmaker’s Building:
“the listed building at 11 West India Dock Road only retains its original front and east wall. A rare former sail makers warehouse which was subsequently used for making specialised equipment for steamship merits serious consideration for statutory protection.” GLIAS: GREATER LONDON INDUSTRIAL ARCHAEOLOGY SOCIETY Notes and news — August 2000 “Threatened historic buildings in Limehouse Conservation Area” Tom Ridge

Nincomsoup Derby – Complete

WAG have just completed this new outlet for Nincomsoup in the new shopping centre in Derby by Westfield. WAG have been working closely both with the client and Westfield to create this high quality foodcourt unit that reflects the quality and success of first Nincomsoup in Old Street, London completed in 2002. WAG would like to wish Ben & Tom at Nincomsoup all the success with their new store.Ninderby Rhs-2Ninderby Approach-1 Ninderby Lhs-1 Ninderby Flock1-1 Ninderby Flock2-1 Ninderby Backcounter1-1About Nincomsoup:Nincomsoup is a fast food diner specialising in soups, juices and coffee. Nincomsoup was founded by two brothers Ben and Tom Page-Phillips to provide a healthy alternative to the usual fast food suspects that litter the high street.Nincomsoup’s aim is to provide ‘real food’ served with the same efficiency and convenience that we have come to expect from the big fast food operators. By ‘real food’ we mean food that provides a balanced diet, food that we can eat 365 days a year, food that feeds the mind as well as the body.

WAG’s Fenn St shortlisted for BD/100% Detail Cool Wall contest

WAG’s soon to start on site pre fabricated eco house has been shortlisted for the BD/100% Detail Cool Wall contest, which will be decided on Sunday between 3.30-4.30pm at the 100% Detail show at London’s Earls Court. See Building Design for more details. You can vote for us here….!newFENN2bigj

Planning appeal victory for Bohemia Place eco bar and art gallery

The proposed development of an art gallery with ancillary café, bar and performance space at Units 6 and 7 Bohemia Place, London E8 1DU, has just been given the go ahead by the Planning Inspectorate.
In his comments, the appeal officer, David Kaiserman, described the reasons for Hackney Council’s previous failure to grant permission as “wholly unconvincing”, and supported our claims that the proposal would result in an improvement to the immediate urban condition, and greater local employment. He said that the scheme will “create a flexible and informal space within which a number of creative activities can take place, supported by a level of eating and drinking.”
Following some legitimate concerns raised by the council concerning the condition and management of the urban space of Bohemia Place generally, we offered to initiate a collective consultation and design process with the other users of the area. This decision is of strategic importance to the area, and the client Cem Gul, plans to move the project forward straight away.
The scheme aims to integrate the experience of the architecture and physical space of the bar with a website/blog/chat and virtual art space, through a wireless and bluetooth active virtual communications and interface environment. The construction will use recycled materials where possible in the construction, working with artists coordinated by David Hees of the recycling arts collective Project 142.
The roof collects rainwater for use in the bars’ toilets, and there will also be solar collectors located on the roof and south-facing wall for heating and energy generation. The client, Cem Gul, owns the local stone and mosaic wholesaler Artemis, who have supplied several WAG projects.
The team behind the project aim to have the venue open by the end of 2007.

For more images see http://www.wag-architecture.co.uk/?p=365


Battersea Liquidwood Station

Battersea Power Station has been left empty for several decades. Various proposals to develop the site have floundered. This projects takes on this difficult site and asks: how can it make poetic amends for the pollution and CO2 that it emitted as a power station, and provide a powerful new resource for the capital? The answer…

Battersea Liquidwood Station


Photo Voltaic powered fans at the base of each chimney draw air into the new heart of the building. Here CO2 and sunlight is used to feed a mix of specially selected (and possibly GM) micro organisms and algae in tanks, producing an organic sludge: Liquidwood. This sludge is pumped around London, and when combined on-site with a specially designed enzyme, solidifies to produce Sludgecrete, a revolutionary new building material as strong and plastic as concrete, with the environmental credentials of wood. Whereas conventional concrete has a high carbon footprint, Sludgecrete actually takes carbon out of the atmosphere and ties it up in buildings.

The proposal is an example of the the ability and need for architects to imagine, specify and demand sustainable near future materials and technologies. This project started as a speculative ideas proposal. However discussions with some research biologists suggest that the project is indeed viable, and so we now consider it a live research project. We are looking for biologists and materials scientists to partner us for future research funding bids… interested individuals should contact jon@wag-architecture.co.uk

Intellectual Property rights associated with the names ‘Liquidwood’ and ‘Sludgecrete’ remain with WAG Architecture Ltd.

NB An exclusive article containing images of Battersea Liquidwood Station will be appearing soon on Dark Roasted Blend

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