Thursday, 26 November 2009

erect architecture wins Best Primary School Design Prize

It was a full-speed-steaming-heads Charette day in the beautiful Fulham Palace ... and many proud people at the end: erect architecture and children and parents from Larmenier and Sacred Heart Primary School (Hammersmith) won the best Primary School Design Prize at the Hammersmith and Fulham Schools Design Conference. The original brief was to design a new storage system for the hall. After a discussion and analysis session it became clear that the issues were wider: A solution was needed to resolve the school's restrictions posed by an overbooked hall. The proposal was to create a new sheltered multifunctional outdoor space adjacent to the hall, which can be used for events, lunching, classes, breaktimes and PE. The design was strongly influenced by the mature trees, which dominate the school grounds. The proposals for the built structures were presented in form of drawings, models and sketches ... and weren't the pupils creative in their model building?

Monday, 2 November 2009

Planning permission for Adventure Playground

Planning permission was granted for the adventure playground in Kilburn Grange Park. Start on site is scheduled for 7.12.2009.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Planning permission for Cypress Children Centre

Planning permission has been granted for the Cypress Children Centre. The centre constitutes the first phase of the extension and refurbishment of Cypress Infant School, a competition erect architecture won in 2008. The new building embraces an existing pitch roof nursery building. The newbuild picks up on the typology and continues the roofscape. Internally the roofscape defines and characterises the rooms, visual diagonals are created and diagonal views opened up to enlarge and enliven the spaces and create a relationship with the beautiful surrounding woodlands. The works are scheduled to start on site at the beginning of 2010.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Planning submitted for Adventure Playground

Planning has been submitted for the adventure playground in Kilburn Grange Park. The above image shows a concept model of the climbing frame. Throughout the scheme the design centres around trees. (Hi)stories, experiences, but also manufacturing processes influenced the proposal.

For more information about the proposed scheme please contact Susanne on t: 020 70332779 or e:

The playground will open in spring 2010.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Overwhelming public support for Kilburn Grange Park adventure playground

Following a month long period of workshops with children and the public in general, erect architecture prepared a concept design for the adventure playground. The outline proposals were consulted with the public during the Kilburn Festival last Sunday. Throughout the day we spoke to more than 60 adults. Everybody was in support of the scheme. A few voices emerged in support of the sustainable aspects of the scheme: Habitat creation and the use of sustainable materials. The public also took a keen interest in the different boundary treatments, which range from planting and a haha to a climbing frame usable from inside the playground as well as the park. It was important that we avoid imposing fences.
Throughout the afternoon Parkour Generations run very popular free-running workshops in the park with participants ranging from 5 to 40 years of age.
The Building Exploratory run creative workshops making sunprints and shadow sculptures.
Even local MP Glenda Jackson popped in - attracted by the geodesic dome structures outside our marquee, which were built by the children during the structural workshop two weeks ago. She was very supportive of our efforts to encourage children to take more controlled risks during play (and the free-running workshops run by Parkour Generations) as well as the explorative aspect of the workshops and the models and structures produced by the children during the natural and structural workshops.
If you have not seen the scheme but would like to get involved and voice your opinion please get in touch (email or t.020 7033 2779) and we will post you the current plans.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Studio in the Woods 2009

It's a shame it flies by so quickly...Each year, during three intensive days in the woods, architecture students explore space through formulating a site specific response and very importantly the process of making of their proposition.
After having observed the amount of wasteage during the wood cutting process in the previous year, we set the group the task to work with waste only. We soon settled for a site in the grid of a 25yr old managed forest - drawn by the lack of romanticism and human scale. The trees are originally planted at a 2m grid. During its life all low level branches are continuously removed to encourage straight growth and obtain better timber after felling. This results in a high canopy sheltering a very bare ground. After a morning investigating the grid and its strong sight lines we settled on a design. During the mapping process we realised that the forest appeared much more gridded than it actually was. We decided to draw emphasis to the incompleteness of the perceived grid (the trees which had been felled during the forest management process). A canopy was set out along the existing sight lines. It drew support from the trees, but sagged where trees were missing, disturbing its regularity and giving it its organic shape. Branches of already felled trees were used to weave the structure entirely without any mechanical fixings. The woven canopy was finally raised towards the natural canopy far up - and set disturbingly just below headheight of the visitor.
When light fell through the canopies late in the afternoon a play of light and shadow dissolved the weave and the space beneath.

Studio in the Woods is organised by MitchellTaylorWorkshop. The groups were tutored by Piers Taylor & Mole Architects, Gianni Botsford Architects & Kate Darby Architects, Toby Lewis, and erect architecture.

Friday, 26 June 2009

Nature as adventure

It got very messy! During a creative workshop the children experimented making things with natural materials. The children produced amazing models of landscapes and shelters. Many techniques were tested. A straw re-inforced adobe roof (we had to study to learn that!) and a woven roof were particularly impressive, but so was the cave and rock landscape ... and the waterscape ... and the wilderness, ... and watching the many muddy hands making them.

The workshop was run by erect architecture and formed part of the consultation process for the adventure playground in Kilburn Grange Park.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Adventurous structures

A structural workshop happened yesterday for the Kilburn Grange Park adventure playground. The children first learned basic structural principles. After sketching proposals for structures they went on to put into practice what they had learned in the morning and build large scale models in the park, on the grounds of the future adventure playground. All structures were features the children imagined as part of the adventure playground: A tunnel was entered via a Magnolia tree, a jagged slide descended in circles around a fruit tree, a dome-den showed great structural discipline (Buckminster Fuller would have loved it!). A very poetic treehouse was completed by the leafy canopy of another Magnolia tree, a bridge was built across the path and a tower erected so tall that our structural engineer Toby could not reach the top (and he is 2.00m tall!).
The workshop was run by Tall Engineers, erect architecture and The Building Exploratory.
All structures, which survived the very intensive testing (the tunnel exploded due to overcrowding), are on show in the yard of the old nursery building.

Ian Law exhibits portraits

Our favourite model maker has turned painter ... his paintings are on show next week, details above. We are looking forward to see his work.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Cranston Estate playground opens!

Yesterday our new playground opened with much gusto in Cranston Estate, Hackney. At the core of the estate erect architecture created a new play and meet hub for the community. The design defined different degrees of nature: From the left alone to the tamed, to machined and worked natural materials. The design allows for different degrees of transformation by the users. Throughout the design process we had worked with the children to intruduce playing in nature and with natural materials. And...the first dens are now popping up around the bushy edge.

Adventures with Parkour Generations

This week young people explored adventure during two workshops with Parkour Generations. Jumping up walls, over big bolders, balancing along railings and many other things challenged the children to take (controlled) risks, learn to move in ways never explored before and explore their built environment differently.
The sessions were part of the engagement and design process for the Kilburn Grange Park adventure playground (more details below).

Monday, 15 June 2009

What is adventure?

It was a great sunny afternoon when the Kilburn Grange Adventure Playground project kickstarted on site last Thursday. During the public consultation the young people (and adults) turned their ideas about adventure into signs, which were put up in the park afterwards.
Too many great ones to all mention them in this blog but above is one of our favourites (and...'hero inside you' and...'into the wild' and...'mountains' and...'hidden spaces' and...'lost' and...)

Friday, 5 June 2009

Be adventurous! Get involved in the making of a new adventure playground for Kilburn Grange Park

erect architecture, Parkour Generations and The Building Exploratory are leading free, fun creative workshops in Kilburn Grange Park:

What is Adventure?
Thursday 11th June, 3.30-8pm, everyone welcome
- explore what it takes to design and build an adventure playground
- make statements and signs to share your ideas about and experiences of adventure
- explore what the new Kilburn Grange Park Adventure Playground could be and share your comments

Movement as Adventure
Tuesday, 16th June, 3.45-5.45pm open to 7-11yr olds*
Thursday 18th June, 4.30-6.30pm open to12-14yr olds*
- explore adventurous ways of moving throughout Kilburn Grange Park with Parkour Generations
(If you don’t know who they are – have a look - you will be amazed!)
Wear any training clothes and basic running shoes. Bring water.

Nature as Adventure
Wednesday, 24.6.09, 4-6.30pm for 7-14yr olds

- explore adventurous building methods to make shelters and structures with natural materials.
Wear suitable clothes as you might get a bit mucky.

Kilburn Festival
Sunday 12th July 1pm-5pm

- see the results of the creative workshops and the ways participants have informed design proposals for the new Kilburn Grange Park Adventure Playground
- share your comments
- make sunprints and bricolage
- explore adventurous ways of moving throughout Kilburn Grange Park with Parkour Generations*

All events are happening in and around the old nursery building (near the tennis courts).

* In order for unaccompanied children to take part, parents will need to complete a parental consent form, which you can obtain by calling us on the number below.

If you don’t have the chance to come along but want to share your comments email Susanne: or call 020 7033 2779.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Ian Law will be showing his paintings

One of our favourite model makers is moving to Berlin. Alles Gute! But before he leaves there will be an exhibition of his paintings. Where? He will let us know soon. In the meantime - above a little taster.

Play at BodySpaceMotion

Playing and adventure: There are still a few days left to explore a play on a different scale in the turbine hall of the Tate Modern. Robert Morris' 1971 exhibition BodySpaceMotion features giant seesaws, tubes to roll around with, spaces to squeeze yourself up into. The exhibition lasts until June 14th.

Friday, 29 May 2009

Kilburn Grange Park Adventure Playground Events

Consultation events and creative workshops for the new Adventure Playground will be starting soon. We are also planning free-running sessions with Parkour ( for 8-13 year olds. The dates of the events will be published here in the next few days. In the meantime - have a little ponder:
What was your favourite adventure? What is adventure?

Monday, 18 May 2009

Competition win: Camden Adventure Playground

erect architecture won! Consultation for the new Camden Adventure Playground, which includes a play centre, is starting now. More details soon.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Bootstrap Buildings Dalston re-open

Bootstrap Company celebrated the completion of the works to Printhouse and Fitzroy House last Friday. The opening party was so well attended that our designs were nearly invisible amongst all the people ... but we are not complaining: The buildings are turning into a lively and creative hub. It is great to see how the transformation impacts on the streetlife on Ashwin Street, which has become a popular refuge just off Kingsland High Street.
(We have also been told that Cafe Oto puts on great gigs...)

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Shortlisted for Camden Adventure Playground and Centre

erect architecture has just been shortlisted for the Camden Adventure Playground and Centre, but until we know the result we will sit tight on the details. The other shortlisted are muf architecture art and Kinnear Landscape Architects.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Exploring - with the users: What is play? Processes featured in Building Design's Drawing Board.

This week's (Feb 09, 2009, issue 24) Building Design Drawing Board focuses on two of erect architecture's recent playground projects, Found Sound and Cranston Estate. In the interview we discuss our methods of involving users in exploration and design from the very beginning, appropriating forgotten spaces and found objects to widen the brief as well as challenge and expand the conception of play and the site. The process not only instills a sense of ownership but during the workshops the participants obtain skills which allow them to change and add to the playgrounds in the future.
See BDonline for the full article.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

RIBA Design for Education Charette

erect architecture was selected to take part in the Design for Education Charette, which took place at the RIBA on Feb 6th.
Our clients for the day were 4 year 7 pupils from Southfields Community College in Wandsworth, a 1400 pupil secondary school also offering an extensive range of adult education classes as well as community facilities.
During a long and intense day we made a proposal for the re-design of the external school grounds. The formulation of shared use spaces for school and community as well as measures to create a social environment whilst deterring the formation of gangs were at the centre of our investigations.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Found Sound - a musical instrument

From the outset of the Old Ford Primary playground project, erect architecture were keen to involve children into the conception and building of their playgrounds. We wanted this involvement to go beyond producing children's drawings and talking about it. It was important for us to include an element of learning and spatial awareness. We had proposed to create a Musical Instrument, which was to be conceived and built in a series of experimental workshops with yr 2 pupils once the playground was complete. How did we go about it?

A brief introductory talk supported by video clips demonstrated the creation of sound through experimenting with found objects. The pupils went on to experiment with different sounds and techniques using many collected, recycled and found objects. The sounds were soon to be focused on expressing emotions: happy, sad, excited, calm, scary (tying in with the curriculum: ‘Who am I?’ ‘What are my emotions?’ ). During the following session the children built small installations to explore these emotional sounds spatially.
Based on these installations, erect architecture proposed a concept for the final built piece: Found objects were to be suspended within a cube to define four different emotional spaces: The open happy space challenging children to jump in order to reach bright sounding objects is followed by the curved low anticipation tunnel with ambiguous sounds. In a surprise moment, the tunnel opens up into the tall and sombre calm space, complete with chair and tree&sky view. Different floor finishes support the different sound qualities. The children mocked up the volumes of the three different spaces according to their spatial requirements (’How tall does it need to be to be reached by jumping?’) whilst the frame was erected by an artist/contractor. After exploring the sound quality of the found objects, the children placed the sound objects within the frame and assisted the suspending of the objects. The opening performance is pending...

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

'Processes' - Upcoming lectures

'Processes' will be the topic of our upcoming lectures at Bath University (Thu, 29.1., 6.30pm) and Plymouth University (Thu, 12.2., 6.30pm). We will be looking at projects on our drawing board, talking about developing stories and engagement.

Studio in the Woods 2009

It was such an inspiring event last year (see participation for pictures of last year's badger seat) ... we are going back! erect architecture will be taking part in the SitW2009, the 4th annual Studio in the Woods for architects and students from 9. -12. July.
During a long weekend site specific installations will be designed and explored through construction. SitW will take place in the beautiful countryside around Kemerton in Gloucestershire. Other tutors include MitchellTaylor Workshop, Mole Architects, Gianni Botsford and Kate Darby. Visiting critics will be Ted Cullinan, Peter Clegg and Charley Brentnall.
The studio is organized by MitchellTaylorWorkshop. For more info and registration form see

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Playing AND Exploring -- Welcome shift in policy making

We always believed in it and sometimes had to fight hard for it: Playing and the need for exploring, creativity, challenge and adventure…and nature.
From our very first playground, Haggerston Park, we designed playspaces following these core beliefs. Now they are official…and being listened to! Increasingly clients request playgrounds, which follow the Play for England Guidance: Design for Play. This guidance emphasizes the need for children to play in natural environments, which provide a scope for discovery and re-interpretation. Play should be challenging and enriching.
We think this is an exciting and encouraging development, which will, aided by recently released funding streams, overhaul many British playgrounds in the very near future. Gone are the days of metal slapped on tarmac approach. Imaginative play, natural materials and more challenge is what is asked for.
In a current project, the Cranston Estate project, we took these objectives to the people from the very outset. To introduce the children to natural materials we went with into the grounds of the adventure playground and collected existing natural materials with which the children made their own explorative model proposals for the new playground. The objectives were to introduce the children to natural materials as well as to architectural processes, enabling them to understand and express their own ideas for the new playground or elements thereof. When we presented our concept design to the community during an event, we lured the residents into the green fringes of the site. Adventure trails led past improvised dens to the site where first design proposals were exhibited and consultation took place. The arrangement asked the community to explore and understand the existing in order to envisage the new. Whilst we consulted with older children and adult residents, a den building workshop engaged the younger ones.