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Fast Fashion – The way forward

Last night I helped organise a Scottish Ecological Design Association (SEDA) event about the harmful effects of the fast fashion industry. Held in the David Hume Tower, George Square, Edinburgh, the event was well-attended by both students and people involved in retail and textiles industries. The 3 hour session was loosely based around the ground-breaking …

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The Beacon opening

Last week Gorebridge Community Development Trust held a party to celebrate the opening of the Gorebridge Beacon, our new community centre, earlier this year. Trust members and staff, funders and nearly all the design team came and celebrated the fantastic (award-winning) building. Since it opened over 5,000 people have walked through the doors, all the …

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Prototype hut?

Two years on from the launch of Reforesting Scotland’s Thousand Huts campaign‘s ‘New hutting developments’ and not a lot has been built, but woodland sites at Carnock and Falkirk are attracting a lot of interest. Most of the hut designs built to date follow a fairly boxy design, probably to maximise the small permissible floor area, but I …

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Tree columns bring wildlife into nursery

Tree columns bring wildlife into nursery

Horntails, or wood wasps, have made their nests in the internal oak trees supporting the roof of Halvorsen Architects’ recently completed Happy Days nursery extension, along with several other species of insect! Rather than be alarmed at their new, uninvited guests, the creative and environmentally-friendly nursery has embraced the chance to study wildlife indoors and set their under fives a …

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Huts planning guide celebrated

Last night the Thousand Huts campaign launched its ‘New hutting developments: Good practice guidance on the planning, development and management of huts and hut sites’ at the Scottish Parliament. It is a comprehensive document with many seductive photos of huts, both old and new, to help planners and hut builders respond to the emerging opportunities for …

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RIBA House of the Year – my winner

I was slightly disappointed when the 2015 RIBA House of the Year was announced in December last year. The winner is worthy – Flint House by Skene Catling De La Pena – but I was seduced by the less iconic but more subtle short-listed Vaulted House in Chiswick, London. At first glance it is not so alluring …

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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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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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