Brixton garden office

Images reach Trim HQ of our friend Archie’s garden office – with lovely cedar cladding – recently completed for a client in Brixton…

A bespoke garden office with cedar cladding in Brixton

A bespoke garden office with cedar cladding in Brixton

Knox Bhavan — Brownstones, Elmwood Road

We recently completed an exterior project on Elmwood Road, which gave us another opportunity to enviously eyeball the Knox Bhavan Brownstones nearby. 

The project has been shortlisted for the RIBA London Award 2015, and Eleanor Young has written about it here.

Previously the site of some unprepossessing 1950s maisonettes, “the front elevation is a contemporary reworking of the Edwardian street typology.” (That typology can be seen here.)

I was lucky enough to take a look inside one of the houses in September 2014, during Open House London. The standard of the materials and finish throughout is of the highest standard — if the chance to look inside either of the buildings rolls around again, take it.

The facade of the Knox Bhavan Brownstones in North Dulwich


DRDH Architects — Bodø concert hall

Olly Wainwright tells the notable tale of a £110m combined library and concert hall opening in Arctic Norway, on time and on budget.

The Bodø concert hall was designed by DRDH, an English practice:

“It was quite a leap in scale, for us and the town,” says David Howarth, director of DRDH architects, which won the project in a competition in 2009. “It was a stark contrast to be working on this in the UK, just as libraries were being closed by the dozen and procurement processes make it impossible for small practices to win work of this size.”

More power to the elbow of everyone involved.

Photographs by David Grandgorge,

Bodø concert hall, Norway

Bodø concert hall, Norway

Bodø concert hall, Norway


How Buildings Learn by Stewart Brand

“A fascinating and indefinable book … How Buildings Learn is a hymn to entropy, a witty, heterodox book dedicated to kicking the stuffing out of the proposition that architecture is permanent and that buildings cannot adapt.”
– Stephen Bayley

“Evolutionary design is healthier than visionary design.”
– Stewart Brand

How Buildings Learn is Stewart Brand’s remarkable and memorable book which proposes – convincingly – that “buildings work best when constantly refined and reshaped by their occupants”.

What, Brand asks, “makes some buildings keep getting better, and others not?” The approach he took was to “look at buildings after they’re built. That’s when the users take over and begin to reshape the building to suit their own, real needs. What kinds of buildings work well with that evolution, and why do so many buildings work so badly?”

“Magazine architecture” is the phrase Brand coins to describe the sort of famous, or would-be famous, buildings which are functional failures. “A major culprit is architectural photography. Clare Cooper Marcus said it most clearly: ‘You get work through getting awards, and the award system is based on photographs. Not use. Not context.’ Tales were told of ambitious architects specifically designing their buildings to photograph well at the expense of performing well.”

Seek out the book – it is out of print, but secondhand copies are easy to find online; and the six-part TV series broadcast on BBC2 in 1997, can be found here.