Beauty and elegance

At last a skyscraper that is not yet another phallic symbol.  Herzog & de Meuron, architects of Tate Modern, have designed Beirut Terraces, a residential tower in the Lebanese capital. This beautifully elegant building is made of staggered floor plates with large overhangs breaking the relentless pursuit for the sleekest vertical tower. How refreshing to have a tower …

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Woodland nursery

Planning permission has now been granted for a new nursery building that we have designed for Happy Days, in Eskbank, Midlothian. Midlothian Council planners refused to give consent last December, but the Local Review Body (comprised of Midlothian councillors) overturned their decision earlier this week. Happy Days moved in to Hardengreen House – a large …

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My new signboard

I never really took to the yellow RIAS architects signboard. So I designed my own. Here is the finished product on site at Happy Days nursery, Dalkeith.

Sick buildings

I organised an afternoon of CPD talks last week entitled ‘Breathability and low energy retrofit’. The session, organised for ECAN and a joint event with CIBSE, was held at the RIAS, in Rutland Square Edinburgh  and attended by about 30 architects, engineers and academics. It turned out to be a thought-provoking afternoon with some excellent speakers (see …

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New build at Eco-Nursery using natural materials

Halvorsen Architects was recently granted planning permission to enlarge Happy Days nursery near Edinburgh, for a design that reinforces the pre-school facility’s green ethos. The client, Genesis, which owns and operates several nurseries across Scotland’s central belt, chose Halvorsen Architects after seeing our timber building projects with local primary schools. Genesis promotes a healthy lifestyle …

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Sunshine on Leith

A recently completed extension to a Victorian house in Leith, Edinburgh, this project was designed to maximise the light coming in from the client’s south-facing garden. It’s a large, single room for sitting, dining and showing films. The new multi-purpose room is pulled away to the rear of the original stone building with a three-metre wide link, …

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Old dairy restoration

45 Main Street is a listed Georgian house in the heart of Gorebridge’s old town. It falls within a conservation area that is part of the Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS) funded by Historic Scotland and Midlothian Council to help in the restoration of buildings. No. 45 used to be the town’s dairy. Halvorsen Architects acted as architect for the …

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Hempcrete – a natural building material

Marijuana may be great for getting high, but the architectural value of cannabis is in the industrial hemp that forms a vital ingredient of products including hempcrete. Hempcrete is low-tech natural building material made from the chopped stalk of the hemp plant and a lime-based binder. It is carbon-negative in that it absorbs carbon dioxide …

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Assemble: a worthy winner

I am delighted to learn that Assemble has won this year’s Turner prize. Assemble is a London based architecture collective carrying out innovative low-cost work with local communities and arts organisations. There has already been some discussion about is this art? Bearing in mind some of the conceptual art that has won the prize over the past 20 years …

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Disappointing planning decision by Midlothian Council

As co-chair of Gorebridge Community Development Trust I sent this letter to the Midlothian Advertiser. Unfortunately it seems that nothing can be done now to change the council’s mind but a lot of people are very angry. Dear Editor, Gorebridge Community Development Trust is dismayed and troubled by the recent decision by Midlothian Council Local Review …

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