Mayor of Islington officially opens new BFF designed housing

The Mayor of Islington, Councillor Barry Edwards,  has officially opened the latest Burrell Foley Fischer project completed for the London Borough of Islington, to reclaim barren underused problematic garages to create a new Mews in Vulcan Way. 

The transformation of the area of tarmac and dark empty undercrofts brings fifteen two bedroom flats and two five bedroom family houses to the empty ground level of existing first floor flats.  They all now have better insulation, level access and a more attractive safer busy mews to look out on.  The proportion of the houses offered for sale, to assist with funding the social housing, have all been snapped up. 

Vulcan Way before the development

Vulcan Way before the development

Vulcan Way following the development

Vulcan Way following the development

This development is the latest in a long term BFF initiative, pioneering the development of underused, marginal ground level spaces around estates, mostly owned by Local Authorities. Using the experience and ideas gained on previously completed schemes BFF embarked on a series of studies for LB Islington in 2008. All ten of the LBI projects selected to go forward are either now complete or will be starting on site this year. 

These schemes on marginal land not only provide new housing on sites previously 'unseen' and not regarded as potential development sites, but are also an opportunity to design out anonymous areas that attract anti-social behaviour.  This results in the neighbourhood being happy to welcome new dwellings and more activity.

From barren car park....

From barren car park....

... to new attractive and safer Mews.

... to new attractive and safer Mews.

Smithfield Market - A New Vision

SAVE Britain’s Heritage are today revealing an alternative plans for the redevelopment of London’s Smithfield Market, designed by Burrell Foley Fischer.  The scheme proposes the restoration of the existing 19th Century Buildings to form a new cultural and retail hub, to complement the already burgeoning “Smithfield Quarter’.  It will also complement the new travel hub, which will provide rail access to six airports.   
The impressive roofs of Smithfield General Market would be retained as a fantastic canopy and creating a beautiful light-filled interior.  The scheme makes available large areas, at multiple levels, without the addition of intrusive blocks.  The very extensive basement areas are brought into use as spaces for exhibition galleries, fashion shows and lecture halls. 

Marcus Binney, the President of Save Britain’s Heritage, says “The Smithfield quarter, like Covent Garden before it, has come to life thanks to natural regeneration as small businesses have colonised every vacated premise in the streets around the market buildings.  This is creating one of central London’s liveliest districts, full of both traditional character and new life.  Wake up City planners and Alderman!  Smithfield Market ranks as one of London’s chief public spaces that could be serving the city and its visitors, as the capital’s newest hub.”

See the full details of the SAVE/BFF scheme here

BFF 30th Anniversary - Mary Rose, The Final Voyage

Competition entry for a world-leading museum on the Tudor Navy, based upon the re-uniting of the hull of Henry VIII's flagship, which sunk in the Solent in 1545, with the thousands of conserved objects salvaged from the wreck when it was raised in 1982.

Burrell Foley Fischer’s scheme was designed to protect the Mary Rose in an iconic new home, with a new enclosure to see it, and HMS Victory, all year round.  The site would be restored to a harbourside, with the heritage enhanced and providing a stunning new setting for historic ships.
The structure minimised the final volume requiring critical environmental control and allowed for progressive enclosure, using off site prefabrication.

BFF 30th Anniversary - New Pym House, Angell Town

Burrell Foley Fischer LLP was appointed in 1999 to design the first new housing at Angell Town, based on our new Masterplan for the Estate.  The 127 new dwellings establish an urban-block layout which integrates the new streets, mews, open spaces, squares and already existing mature landscaping and outdoor sports area, with the existing street pattern and offer routes across the site to connect areas that were formally isolated.

"Could easily be taken for a smart, modern upmarket private development... the generous, intelligent planning of the dwellings themselves should ensure that these do indeed become 'lifetime homes', in every sense of the word".  Housing Design Awards 2000

"The architecture of this community housing for London Borough of Lambeth is exemplary in many ways, but especially in the delightful quality of environment that is created for the users".  RIBA Award for Architecture 2002  

BFF 30th Anniversary - Brentford Urban-Design Framework

In 1996 Burrell Foley Fischer were winners of the Masterplanning Competition commissioned by the Government Office for London and the London Borough of Hounslow, as part of the Council’s £25m Single Regeneration Budget Project.

The, approximately twenty-acre site borders the River Thames and the Grand Union Canal and is on a particularly sensitive part of the river opposite Kew Gardens and Kew Palace.The proposals included a new square to open up the riverside frontage to Brentford Town Centre.  The River Thames has not been visible to people passing through Brentford for many decades.  This and other factors had contributed to the slow decline in the prosperity of the area and which was in need of urgent attention.

The study identified a number of key sites within a new urban-design framework for the area, involving a radical restructuring of the hinterland bordering the River Thames, the River Brent and the Grand Union Canal.

BFF 30th Anniversary - Angell Town

The Angell Town project is a pilot scheme in Brixton, South London, which addresses the design and management problems typical of a 1970s deck-access estate. The initiative to improve the environment of what had become a ‘sink estate’ came initially from the tenants, who were very keen to make sure that the proposals by the London Borough of Lambeth were tailored to the needs and desires of people of the estate.  In 1988 three projects were initiated; a Workspace Project using derelict ground-level garages; an Enterprise Centre for training and employment opportunities and a Pilot Project to replan the deck-access housing.

The urban design objectives were to reintegrate the estate with the surrounding areas of Brixton by re-establishing a street based urban layout; to establish an active public realm at ground level; to establish a hierarchy of public and private space; to de-industrialise the estate; to create clear, safe routes for people who use and live on the estate and to solve a variety of related problems to do with security, refuse collection, dangerous parking and traffic, and the general hostility of the surroundings.

The project won many awards including Community Initiative Award 1983, 1985, 1987, 1990, 1991, Times/RIBA Community Enterprise Award 1989, Civic Trust Award 1990, and The Communities Projects Foundation Award for Partnership.

In 2008 the ongoing success of the project was acknowledged by Baroness Whitaker in the House of Lords. “ A few weeks ago I saw in Angell Town in Brixton the rehabilitation of exactly one of those estates, accompanied by new building, which created attractive, safe and affordable homes within a strong community, steered by residents’ own wishes.  Nearly three-quarters of them said that they now felt safe, that they were satisfied with their new homes and that Angell Town was now a pleasant, friendly and attractive place to live.  A few years ago, half knew a victim of crime and it was a deeply unpopular place to live.”  

BFF 30th Anniversary - Bliss Mill

The Restored Mill
Burrell Foley Fischer LLP was commissioned to bring a new lease of life to the derelict buildings of Bliss Mill, Listed Grade II, built by William Bliss II in 1873 for the weaving of high-quality tweeds. The project involved converting and restoring the main Mill Building, the weaving shed, the Warping House, the Lodge House and outbuildings into residential accommodation, with landscaped grounds, a swimming pool, squash courts, tennis courts and other leisure facilities for use by residents. The restoration work included administering an English Heritage Grant for fabric repairs.

The Derelict Mill prior to restoration

BFF 30th Anniversary - St Georges Estate

Burrell Foley Fischer LLP was selected by the Estate Steering Group (working with EastendHomes) to develop a masterplan and design proposals to RIBA Stage C for St George’s Estate in Shadwell, London. 

200 new flats in ten, 9 storey, new infill sites
The brief from EastendHomes called for extensive consultation with the Estate’s residents, a third of whom are leaseholders within a significant Bengali community, and the preparation of a masterplanning report.  Burrell Foley Fischer LLP’s design proposals were included in the offer document on which Council tenants based their ‘yes’ vote to transfer the management of the estate from the London Borough of Tower Hamlets to EastendHomes.

The new infill sites currently under construction
St George’s Estate has 500 residential units which are to be brought into line with the standards set out in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister’s Decent Homes policy. Proposals explored how to make the best use of available land to improve the organisation of public and private space.  The homes are to be set in surroundings that people value and enjoy, but that also offer a long-term sustainable future for St George’s.  The project is currently on site.
The first new homes to be completed

BFF 30th Anniversary - Tomorrow's New Communities

A concept using the contemporary vision of a small town to inform the transformation of former asylums (often with listed buildings and landscapes) into communities or urban quarters.

John Burrell’s ground-breaking and award-winning work on the reuse of institutional brownfield NHS land was published in 1987 with the aid of an RIBA Research Award as ‘The Psychiatric Hospital as a New Community’. It has had far-reaching influence on planning policy and John Burrell became a member of the Labour Party working group on Urban Design and Planning.

In 1991 it was the outright winner of the joint Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Town and Country Planning Association competition for ‘Tomorrow’s New Communities’ for new settlements between 4,000 and 10,000 people.

Official Opening of Dame Tamsyn Imison Building at Hampstead School

Dame Tamsyn Imison, former Headteacher at Hampstead School, was the guest of honour at the official opening of the building named after her and designed by Burrell Foley Fischer LLP.

An original feasibility study and development plan was undertaken by the Practice in 1996 to establish a long-term strategy for the development of the School’s facilities, with early phases including a new Sixth-form Centre.

The latest phase is a new build extension which includes specialist ICT and general purpose classrooms, and a professional catering kitchen teaching space. A footbridge connecting the new building to the existing building at first floor level is also provided to integrate the new building into the existing Technology Block. This also means that the first floor areas in the existing building are accessible via the lift in the new building.

The materials for the external elevations of the building follow the language established in the previous phases, ie. terne coated stainless steel sheet and semi glazed black bricks, combined with large areas of glass to provide light, views and ventilation to the interior of the new building.

New Dance Studios at the Tring Park School for the Performing Arts

The Tring Park School for the Performing Arts have moved into their new building housing five Dance Studios, designed by Burrell Foley Fischer LLP.

The School sits in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and occupies a Listed Grade II* former home of the Rothschild family at Tring Park. The grounds are listed Grade II and the Clock House which forms the front to the former stable block is also Listed Grade II*. The School has an aspiration to be one of the leading performing arts schools in the country.

The new Dance Studio building has been designed to nestle within its heavily wooded landscape setting with randomly spaced Red Cedar perimeter posts to echo the surrounding tree trunks. The dense wildflower meadow grass roofs reference the surrounding tree canopies and undulating landscape. The studio rooflights and high level windows create visual connection with the surrounding landscape and abundant day lighting for the dancers.

The Dance Studios are the first building in a three phase BFF masterplan which has Planning Permission, with later phases including a new Art Department and a new 280 seat theatre for Dance and Music theatre.

John Burrell appointed to Southwark Design Review Panel

John Burrell has been appointed to the Southwark Design Review Panel. The panel’s purpose is to advise the Council on the architectural merits of any large scheme proposed for Southwark. It consists of a team of architects and other design professionals who offer design advice at the pre-application stage.
Cases that are referred to the panel generally are proposals which are significant because of their size or uses they contain or their site. Proposals with an importance greater than their size, use, or site would suggest can also be reviewed if, for example, they likely to establish the planning, form or architectural quality for future larger scale development or re-development.
John brings to the panel over 30 years experience of urban design and masterplanning and has recently been working in Southwark on design proposals for the redevelopment of the Aylesbury Estate with Urban Initiatives.