Thursday, 16 December 2010

Newsletter - autumn/winter 2010

In this issue:

Competition Success! Announced at the 'Architect of the Year Awards, Brunskill Design were winners of the 'Washroom of the Future' competition ...

Projects: House remodelling & extension in the home counties

Opinion on ... Which way to go with Architectural Service?

Please click on the Newsletter image (or here) to download the full news + views printable pdf (2.2mb).

Friday, 3 December 2010

Our Winning Washroom Design is currently on exhibition in the Business Design Centre, Islington

Along with the other shortlisted entries, Brunskill Design's winning entry to the Washroom of the Future Competition, organised by Dyson and Building Design is currently on exhibition in the Business Design Centre in Islington.
There are many interesting and arresting designs, by many achitects and designers, on display. James Furse Roberts produced a beautiful open air washroom and Paul McAnerney created a sleek casing for airblade technology within their design. Our design concentrated on generation of energy within the room, by means of 'people power', which included a power generating hinge and floor, and recirculated grey water. Matthew Smith and Dan Bahrami (above) celebrate our win at a Champagne reception kindly hosted by Dyson.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Brunskill Design Architects winner of Building Design/ Dyson Airblade Competition

Announced at this year's Architect of the Year Awards, Brunskill Design were winners of the Airblade Competition held in August. Dyson teamed up with BD Magazine to run a competition looking for a radically different and creative design that is also practical as a washroom facility.
Brunskill Architects Competiton winner - Image Emperor
Our submission was Intended for a heavily trafficked environment such as a station, airport or motorway service station. We investigated the potential to capture kinetic energy generated by people within these spaces. The movement of doors, and peoples weight on the floor, has the potential to generate energy. We showed devices to enable this to happen. At the door hinge we developed mechanism of ratchets and electromagnetics that could harness electricity. This is used to pump grey water to the cisterns for reuse and to power other items in the room. This process is made visible by illuminated panels in the floor.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010


We commissioned Brunskill Design to design an extension to our house on the recommendation of a friend. We were not disappointed. Helen marshalled our woolly and incoherent thoughts and ideas into sensible plans and then with the utmost patience and understanding helped us through the iterative process of changes of mind, new ideas………and produced a design that both received planning permission and plaudits from the planners at the local authority (and, of course, ourselves!). Oh and by the way the house is in: the Green Belt, an Area of Outstanding National Beauty and parts of the garden near the house are in a Conservation Area!

M & J Bailey,

Tuesday, 28 September 2010


"I have worked with Helen on several housing design projects at Brunskill Design and highly recommend her. Helen is a talented architect who takes time to understand the client's requirements, applies her passion for good design, and keeps an eye on the detail throughout construction to ensure the end product is everything (and more) than is hoped for."

R Lowenthal

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Brunskill Design Shortlisted by Dyson!

Power of the People

Brunskill Design are pleased to announce we have been shortlisted by Dyson and Building Design magazine for an ideas competition for Bathrooms. The winner will be announced in November at the Architect of the Year Awards.
Our entry is about harnessing energy generated by people in washrooms. We focussed on washrooms with a high throughput and lots of cubicles. The key concept is an energy generating door hinge, which potentially has global appeal as it could be utilised within all sorts of buildings! There are other ideas for power of the people here too.

See the shortlisted entries to the competition by clicking here.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Real Homes: Bathrooms

Magazine Feature Link: Adding a New Bathroom.

Brunskill Design: Environmental Statement

Brunskill design recognises the huge importance of caring for the environment, and seeks to minimise environmental impact in all company activities. In all our architectural design and build activities as well as at our own premises, we pursue sustainable development using best environmental practice, and where possible, review and improve our performance.
This policy is implemented by awareness of the following objectives:-

- to minimise the use of natural resources and energy

- to minimise the output of waste and pollutants

- to comply with relevant environmental protection regulations

- to encourage all our stakeholders to support environmental improvement.
In this company, our systems include an annual review of this Environmental Policy.

Jugglefrogs: Female Architect


Brunskill Design was recommended to us when we were planning an extension to our house in Shenley Road, Borehamwood.
We wanted a two-storey addition to the side of our house - to create more living space downstairs and a master bedroom suite upstairs. Although we knew what we wanted, Helen was able to give us a few alternative ideas and we were delighted with the plans that she drew for us.

Helen was friendly, easy to work with and ensured that we obtained planning permission without any difficulty.

Due to relocation, we were unable to make use of the plans ourselves. However, with Helen’s excellent drawings, and the planning permission, we were able to sell our house at a premium and finance our move to Dorset. The new owners have since used the plans and extended the property.'

P & S Cherry


Helen Brunskill worked in the capacity of ‘Team Leader’ managing architectural and engineering teams to provide design solutions and progress design to the completion of Riba stage D and E for three underground stations enhanced refurbishment projects. These were complex design projects and Helen provided a professional client interface ensuring quality was paramount at all times, and as a design priority; that interfacing of the various design disciplines and architects was managed to provide a full integrated design solution. '
Jonathan Fernandez
Stations Client Team, Metronet Rail.


I will tell all my friends that if they are looking for an architect with empathy and integrity they should give Brunskill Design a call.

D Booth, St Albans


Thank you very much for presenting the results of your architectural feasibility study on our property. Having never used a real architect before I was interested to see what you would propose to do with our existing plans with which we weren’t very happy.

To start with you asked a lot of questions which gave us the confidence that you understood what we were looking for – without expecting us to know the answers.

The study you produced was truly amazing and we would never have thought of it. Now I am beginning to understand why I need an architect. You provided great value and we were happy to pay your fees.
Mr J Cottrell

Using the loft space and the rise of the 'kitchen-diner'

Visiting people in their homes in the UK, it's fantastic how some great spatial and functional ideas are being embraced. Thanks in part to the glut of designer house and garden programmes on our televisions and magazines like Living etc and not least Grand Designs, what used to be radical ideas are now mainstream.
Regardless of the property type, open plan living is now being embraced. The kitchen can once again become a sociable space, not just for the rich in country manors, but for appartment dwellers, students, everyone. Join in with the conversation of friends and family when you are cooking, watch the children and feel the benefit of the extra space. Hard floors make it all seem bigger too and it sure is easier to clean. Add an easy chair overlooking the garden and away you go.
People are becoming aware of all the space above their ceilings, in their roofspaces. The image above shows previously unused loft space reclaimed. Great volume previous generations would have slid a polystrene tiled ceiling across, now are great opportunities for natural daylight and sunlight to be drawn into the house. Volumes are opened right up and the joy of high ceilings is brought back into 'modern' properties. These often slope which brings a great dynamic to the interior aswell as giving a good place for the ubiquitous Velux.
Please note we've used pictures of a projects by others for illustration purposes (not all Brunskill design projects illustrated) Of course we'd love to have the opportunity to design this for you, with our structural, horticultural and other professionals and super practical builders we would like to schedule in a project for you. Contact us when ready to make your vision reality on 07821 876060.

It's about living life the way you want NOW and for the next few years at least while we all work our way out of recession. So we may tell ourselves 'no more rehearsal!' and 'Carpe Diem' - seize the day, every day.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Extension Project Under Construction in Herts

Currently under construction, a new house extension and remodelling project in Hertfordshire. This has a large double glazed rooflight, large sliding folding doors to the garden and oak details to create a harmonious feel.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Brunskill Design: Quality Management Policy

The Quality Policy of brunskill design is to deliver a high standard of architectural design and build services, to the satisfaction of the client, fully meeting their needs and expectations.

This policy is expressed and integrated into company operations by following objectives generally in accordance with ISO 9000, which are aimed at achieving a system of continuous improvement.

In this company, our systems ensure:-
- Clear understanding of the client’s requirements by us and the client
- Periodic review of project progress
- Agreed completion of projects
- Supply chain approval
- Management review of all operations.

Brunskill Design: Health and Safety Policy

The Health and Safety policy of brunskill design is to operate in a manner which provides safe and healthy working environments for all its stakeholders.

This policy is implemented with the following objectives:-

- to provide safe and healthy working conditions for all company staff, both on company and client premises
- to undertake design and build operations which minimise, or clearly identify, any associated risks.
- to provide adequate training and information for staff and subcontractors
- to record and review any incidents and accidents in accordance with regulations.

In this company, our systems include an annual review of this Health and Safety Policy.

Award-winning Designs

Brunskill Design was part of the winning RLE team which was awarded an RIBA award for the works to St Pancras Station. Several awards were received for the refurbishment and extension works to St Pancras in the 'London regional',' Major Transport' and 'Brickwork and stonework' categories.
(Helen Brunskill was direct assisting architect to Alastair Lansley who was awarded the CBE for his work on the St Pancras and Channel Tunnel Rail Link project, also known as High Speed One).

Prior to the formation of Brunskill Design, Helen worked on the following Award winning buildings:

Southwark Station (Jubilee Line Extension) - RIBA Award

Cable & Wireless College, Coventry - Royal Fine Art Commission/ Sunday Times, Building of the Year 1994

Channel Four Headquarters Building, Horseferry Rd

- BBC Design Awards finalist 1996

- Royal Fine Art Commission Award 1995

- RIBA National Award 1995

Brunskill Design looks forward to creating high quality design with all our clients, on projects large or small.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Creating Good Residential Buildings

Do you like any of these? (click image to enlarge.) What makes a good place to live? Well we want our built environment to be good for us, and for the planet.

Whether we live in the town or the countryside we tend to always want space and natural light. We want good facilities for washing, preparing food and dining etc. The appearance of our buildings matters to us too, traditional and modern can raise very subjective feelings. Both have their place, there can be good and bad versions of both.

Most buildings have potential to be improved in some way. For example, some houses benefit from a 180 degree turnaround in their planning - to get advantage of a garden or a view - life improving qualities.

Site orientation has a huge importance in the design the sun always rises in the east and sets in the west, therefore the sun and shadows will move around your building in a totally predictable way. Our starting point for house design is always orienattion with regrad to the sun, a south or west aspect is higly desirable, but east or north facing sites can be dealt with by careful placement of rooflights, light wells, courtyards or conservatories. In this country we usally want to capture as much sunshine as possible. Building regulations now mean having large windows has to be dealt with very carefully due to concerns about high heat loss through glazing.

A well controlled junction between inside and outside spaces is really helpful and enables us to use our external spaces better. Connections to gardens and outside spaces can be big wide openings like in Studio MG's stunning modern house in London, or more modestly, elegant pairs of double doors. Our old buildings need to adapt and change to survive in their usefulness. (Adapt, change, survive is the company motto in these recessionary times. Normally our motto is quality not quantity). Whether a building is brand new or elderly, the same issues arise and each should be treated with design integrity undertsamding the merits of what exists in the building, whther that is aspect, spaciousness, good planning, detailing, quality of materials and workmanship or something else.

Sitting comfortably with you neighbours and respecting their privacy is important as we build and rebuild our communities. Whether you live in London, Bath or St Albans, the issues are similar.

Ecological concerns and energy consumption are now really understood as critical. There are lots of things we can do to help save energy. The Energy Saving Trust aims to cut carbon emissions by promoting the sustainable and efficient use of energy in households, the public sector and the transport sector.

The Simon Conder design for the modern house on Marshal's Drive in St Albans Hertfordshire is a rare of contemporary modernism in the St Albans area. Exceptional circumstances led to the design being accepted. St Albans has a reputation as one of the most conservative councils for example, whereas Bath, a World Heritage City, a huge conservation area, has allowed some unashamedly modern extensions if they are of high enough quality and well integrated into their context. A Spanish hacienda in St Albans or rural outskirts of Bristol, would have to be exceptional to be able to sit in context successfully. Overall its the design quality in context and integrity of what is built, that matters, not the styling.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Testimonial for St Pancras Station Redevelopment

' "Design reflects the preoccupations of every era - the Victorians romanticised the past and endeavoured, often with considerable success, to incorporate  technological advance within historicist structures. Moderns, like Le Corbusier, strove for rationality and tried to transform society. Sometimes this worked - but tower blocks - a modernist legacy - were not the answer to urban living. Ultimately, order transcends the manners of the times and individual cultures. Minimalism can be seen, however, not so much as an affectation, but as a form of politeness and discretion. Eras pass swiftly. Lack of pomposity and affectation - and above all modesty - characterise the best design". Helen Brunskill possesses each of these qualities and I have no hesitation in recommending her Architectural Services and Design skills.'

Alastair Lansley CBE - former Chief Architect Channel Tunnel Rail Link, Client team - St Pancras Station Redevelopment .