Barefoot Architects On Tour at Hauser and Wirth, Bruton

On the first Saturday of the month this autumn (Sat 7 Oct, 4 Nov & 2 Dec 2017), we will be offering free design consultations at the fabulous Hauser and Wirth gallery in Bruton, Somerset.

Throughout the exhibition ‘Josephsohn / Märkli. A Conjuntion’, RIBA Chartered Practice Barefoot Architects will be offering free monthly Saturday ‘surgeries’ to discuss your plans for building projects and offer advice.

Visitors are invited to book a 40 minute slot to discuss plans, schemes and dreams for large or small projects. It is an opportunity to meet with a qualified architect for a friendly and informal talk to discuss your ideas.

We have an outstanding record of gaining planning consents on difficult sites, and work strategically to add value for clients at every stage through creative, intelligent design. If style follows story, what’s your plot? Come and let us know!

Sam & Rob 12 B&W.jpg

Chalk Wall House Tours for West Dorset Open Eco Homes

This weekend Sam gave tours around Chalk Wall House - a new self-build eco house built in Dorchester Dorset. It was part of the annual West Dorset Open Eco Homes event which has grown year on year to showcase different homes in the area with sustainable and ecological features. This passive solar eco house was the first completed project by Barefoot Architects in back 2010, and exemplifies our approach to creative strategies to unlock difficult sites and provide alternative thinking. The house is built from Chalk excavated from the site which helps to make it a low impact, low energy home to live in. The timber form work used to form the massive earth walls was re-used to make the timber frame for the roof, floors, and walls which are clad with Western Red Cedar Shingles shown below. A modular glu-laminated frame sits on to and into the Chalk and supports a cantilevered covered entrance space which doubles as solar shading to the South facing living room. Features include a biomass boiler, MVHR, undferfloor heating, green roofs, solar thermal water heating and rainwater harvesting. We designed the project with Integral Engineering Design in Bath and research and testing from Professor Pete Walker at Bath University. 


Back Garden City - Runner Up in RIBA Journal Multi-Generational Housing Competition

Yesterday we went to London for the RIBA Journal's award ceremony for their Multi-Generational Housing competition in conjunction with Norbord's Sterling OSB (Orientated Strand Board). We were thrilled to come runner-up with our 'Back Garden City' Proposal that is seeking to provide affordable housing for a variety of prospective residents in the back gardens of large semi-detached homes typical of post war UK Housing. The scheme could enable small clusters of dwellings to be formed to create pockets of cohousing and other community functions. We're actively developing the scheme in conjunction with Knowle West Media Centre for the community there, and looking at options for a joint venture with possible housing manufacturers / suppliers. It is hoped that a pilot project will be built within 2018, and enable further projects to be replicated, supplying up to 250 new homes per year in the neighbourhood. Watch this space......


We visited this year's stunning Serpentine pavillion designed by Diébédo Francis Kéré, the award-winning architect from Gando, Burkina Faso before the awards ceremony in Hyde Park.


Our scheme has been published in this months RIBA Journal. Its the second project we've had featured in this prestigious publication.


Recent Timber Clad Projects : Choosing the Right Species

We often get asked whether or not we work on timber frame projects. In short, yes! We love designing with timber, and believe it is a durable, robust and energy efficient way to build sustainably. Beyond the frame, one of the most important decisions to make is what to clad it with! Timber is often the natural choice for this method of construction (though not the only option), and selecting the most appropriate species needs some careful consideration. Factors to consider include aesthetics, durability, robustness, lifespan, weathering, discolouration, sizes and detailing. Some images below show 3 recent timber clad projects that are completed, or nearing completion. Siberian Larch (top 2 images) is a slow grown, durable species with a strong grain pattern and is available in long lengths. It will weather to a silver grey if left untreated, and the eveness of this depends on the detailing. This project has a deep projecting canopy which could cause un even weathering. Because of this, we specified that the timber was pre-treated with a Sioo coating. This will accelerate the silvering process and give a more even finish across the building and canopy. The boards used here are open jointed with a narrow 75mm coverage giving a fine grain and texture to the overall appearance.

Siberian Larch treated with Sioo - Chorlton cum Hardy, Manchester

Siberian Larch treated with Sioo - Chorlton cum Hardy, Manchester

Siberian Larch treated with Sioo - Chorlton cum Hardy, Manchester

Siberian Larch treated with Sioo - Chorlton cum Hardy, Manchester

Western Red Cedar (below) is often considered the 'Rolls Royce' of cladding. This is due to its high natural oil content and slow growth which make it a very durable species. For this project we specified it untreated, since the detailing of the zinc roof has minimal overhangs and should ensure even weathering. Its initial colour varies from light orange to dark brown, but it will quickly silver to an even grey. The diagonal cladding boards with a square edged tongue and groove profile ensures a crisp contemporary finish.  

Untreated Canadian Western Red Cedar - Keynsham nr Bath

Untreated Canadian Western Red Cedar - Keynsham nr Bath

The project below was completed a couple of years ago in Long Ashton and used European Redwood pressure impregnated with a colour tinted treatment. This timber species left untreated would be less durable than Larch or Western Red Cedar, but with it has protection against rot and fungal decay for many years with a manufacturers warranty. It retains its colour much better than natural boards, but has a knottier appearance typical of faster grown softwoods from warmer climes. Here we used a deep batten on board profile which gives the building real character and texture, and forms balustrades to a Juliette balcony, The horizontal boarding to the lower level has mitred corner joints and a simple appearance. at ground level.  

European Redwood treated with Norclad 'Microshades Brunea'

European Redwood treated with Norclad 'Microshades Brunea'

Project Process Guide for A Collective Custom-Build Group

We recently developed a client's guide to the design process for a project in Bristol where 13 families are seeking to undertake a collective custom build, or 'Co-Build' project together! It is an amazing prospect, and an exciting answer to our housing problems. Having worked on a variety of Cohousing, Community-led, and Community Land Trust housing projects we understand that getting the right design process is just as important, if not more so than the design product. For the uninitiated the design process can seem both exciting, and confusing and complex. We always seek to explain the process in simple terms, and 'design' the meetings and engagement process as well as the building itself! This process of deep collaboration and facilitation is what we seek to provide for client groups.  

Fold Out Guide Presented to the Resident Group for a Collective Custom Build.

Fold Out Guide Presented to the Resident Group for a Collective Custom Build.

Green Roof to New Self Build Eco House in Dorset - the 'Annual Inspection'

Back in July Sam went back to Chalk Wall House for birthday celebrations. As part of annual maintenance checks he went up on to the green roofs of the house to inspect the rainwater outlets and see how things are growing - 7 years on from planting. The plants for this roof on a new build eco house in Dorchester were Blackdown Horticultural in Somerset. They advised on the best type of system for the two sides of the house; a low pitch north facing roof (top image), and a much steeper south facing (middle image) respectively. The south roof has a system of crates which retain the lean growing medium, comprised largely of crushed brick and pummice! Both systems sit on top of a single ply waterproofing membrane and protective fleece layer. A green roof is great for wildlife, reduces heat loss and heat gains, and provides an acoustic buffer to the noise of the railway lines only metres from the Rammed (Earth) Chalk Walls to the house. The green roof is just one part of making this house a true 'Eco House'; a biomass boiler, rainwater harvesting, solar thermal water heating, triple glazing, wood fibre insulation, lime render, natural paint finishes, and an untreated timber clad timber frame all minimise the environmental impact of this innovative new house, which crucially is also a great place to live!  

Sedums (drought tolerant succulents) and grasses provide a wildlife haven for insects, bees and invertebrates! Beats an old tiled roof any day!

Sedums (drought tolerant succulents) and grasses provide a wildlife haven for insects, bees and invertebrates! Beats an old tiled roof any day!

Enjoying the garden on a sunny birthday!

Enjoying the garden on a sunny birthday!

New Build Ecological House in the Greenbelt, South Gloucestershire

We've recently been working on plans to develop a new house in the South Gloucestershire Greenbelt. The site, outside of the development boundary of Coalpit Heath is completely hidden by dense mature woodland and out of all sight from the public realm. Very strict planning policy guidelines control development such as this, and so we have been working in close partnership with a local planning consultancy DLP. Director Paul Jobson has been helping us to develop a planning application strategy that aims to reduce the client's risk and secure a consent under difficult circumstances. The project seeks to redevelop an existing pitched roof garage, and the existing footprint of workshop and green house buildings beyond. A sub-subterranean bedroom wing completes the composition. Green and solar roofs will seek to soften the visual and environmental impact of the new dwelling, whilst features to significantly enhance the ecology of the site will be incorporated into the building and landscape. We took guidance from South Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust's brilliant website which helps homeowners develop ways to encourage wildlife to flourish in their gardens. Watch this space.  

Site Visit to Keynsham Timber Frame House Extension

This week we went to visit our project in Keynsham that has been on site for the last 2 months with Bristol Contractors Space Framing with whom we work regularly, owing to their quality of work and communication. The project is being undertaken using a JCT Homeowners Contract without a Contract Administrator. For smaller projects (approx less than £75k) this can often be appropriate - where the builder is known and the client capable and experienced at some project management. Our role during the construction stage is significantly reduced, which can save clients the additional fees associated with having an architect 'project manage' the building process. It isn't for everyone, or every project, but demonstrates Barefoot Architects' flexible approach to projects. In this instance we attended site on a 'call off' basis to help resolve some issues of detail, with Jess advising on the precise setting out location for a large kitchen island, and the floor finishes (diagonal chevron oak in case you're wondering)! A bespoke triangular rooflight over the kitchen sink also required some additional design input on site to assist the builder and the roofing sub contractor.    

Jess talking through the position of the kitchen island with our wonderful clients!

The building form is a cranked dual pitch roof which will be clad in Zinc.  The large picture window frame will be clad with Western Red Cedar on all sides.

The contractor and Sam discussed the weathering details for this unusual triangular rooflight.

Back Garden City Proposal Shortlisted for RIBA Journal Competition!

We recently received a notification that our competition entry to the RIBA Journal Multi-Generational Living Competition has been shortlisted! The project titled 'Back Garden City' proposes building new single storey dwellings in the rear gardens of 1930's suburbia to provide affordable housing for first time buyers, adult offspring living at home, or downsizing elderly residents. We'll all be heading to London for the awards ceremony on the 19th September! Watch this space - our entry will feature in the September issue of the prestigious RIBA Journal.

Dela Bristol - Mivart Studios Cafe

The new cafe at Mivart Studios in Easton is taking shape! Created by knocking through two old studios and some careful design of back-of-house facilities, the room is well lit by some huge windows to the street... it should be a wonderful, light and inviting space .

Rob went along to see how things were going and stopped to help de-mold one of the new counter-tops. Some lovely polished concrete that uses white aggregate and black dye to give a unique marbled look.

All hands on deck... Priming the steelwork to be intumescent paintied

All hands on deck... Priming the steelwork to be intumescent paintied

Fresh out of the mold - the raw, cast concrete work surface before it gets filled and polished.

Fresh out of the mold - the raw, cast concrete work surface before it gets filled and polished.

Loft Complete, Rear Extension Underway in St Andrews, Bristol!

Our clients approached wanting a light, bright, sustainable and beautiful loft conversion and rear extension for their 1930's home in St Andrews, Bristol. The phasing of the project enabled Brendan Jenner and his team at Futurecrafts to complete the loft conversion first and then move on to the timber framed rear extension. The extension has many of the same features as the loft space - Sioo treated Western Red Cedar Cladding, Bifold Doors, a corner window and a staggered plan that breaks up the appearance and size of these additions. Great to see it coming on so well. 

First Photos From Keynsham Project

Work is progressing apace for this timber framed extension project in Keynsham. Once the walls are in place the entire corner of the existing building will be removed to form one big open plan kitchen and dining room. 

Thanks for having me Frome!

Thanks to everyone who came along for my talk last night at the very beautiful Rook Lane Arts in Frome for their Architecture Club Presents series. It was great to meet people before and afterwards to talk about some of the themes I discussed. The talk was a great chance to reflect on the preoccupations of our practice - working on community focused architectural projects in difficult sites such as in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Green Belt, SSSi's, Marine Conservation Areas, Conservation areas, back gardens, and with Listed Buildings. I talked about the work we have been undertaking in Bristol and the South West of England to enable and facilitate Community Land Trusts (CLTs), Cohousing groups, Collective Custom builders, Self-Build, and Commercial Developers to deliver sensitive, sustainable designs. 


What Can We Make? - Knowle West Citizen Led Housing Workshop

Last night Rob, Jess and I from Barefoot Architects attended the latest in a series of workshops run by Knowle West Media Centre. Their We Can Make Make project is seeking solutions for 'Citizen Led Housing' - ideas that can provide affordable and perhaps alternative models for new homes in the area. Common to many areas, it lacks diversity in housing stock. People looking to downsize cant, and those looking to get on the housing ladder find the large semi-detached houses too big. We considered what might be able to be built using local skills and manufacturing capabilities, and then how it might be financed and undertaken.

It turns out South Bristol makes quite a lot.....of caravans, doors, windows, chassis, scaffolding. It also has a lot of makers - skilled trades people who could undertake local building projects.


After the workshop we visited a trial project in the area - TAM which uses some interesting ideas to enable housing which doesn't require planning permission.

'Back Garden City' RIBA Competition Entry

Tonight we've completed a competition entry to design a garden annexe to an existing home. This is to enable multi-generational living all on one site. We've taken an area in Knowle West, Bristol which is a typical post-war estate planned around 'Garden City' principles. The large back gardens to semi-detached houses are proposed to be used to provide space for additional homes for grown up children, elderly parents, or starter homes for young families. We've considered how they could have shared or private gardens, and could be built either individually, or in clusters to provide cohousing or community facilities such as a nursery. The competition sought ideas for using OSB Sterling Board as the basis of construction. We proposed using this material in a modular, pre-fabricated set of components built inside a new brick garden wall facing neighbouring properties. Fingers Crossed! 


Bungalow Remodel and Roof Extensions in Dorset Taking Shape

This 1950's Chalet bungalow re-modelling project in Bradford Peverell, just outside Dorchester, Dorset is nearing completion. The original house had only small windows on to the garden and the upper level bedrooms had windows only in the gable ends of the house. We worked to re-orientate the plan to the garden, forming an open plan kitchen dining space (right hand side) and a snug living room (left hand side) that all open out on to a new patio space making a much stronger connection to the large garden. Two new dormers provide much needed extra volume and light to the bedrooms with full height inward opening doors, and crisp glass balustrades. Now each space enjoys un-obscured views of the surrounding countryside. The green windows refer to those within the historic village centre - the newly rendered walls will be painted white to better contrast the colourful frames and give it a new lease of life.