Tag: london


Building A Conservatory On A Budget: Ways How To Save Money

If you are looking to add a valuable asset to your home, conservatories are the way to go. However, if you are trying to stay within a budget there are ways you can achieve a well-designed project. Some conservatories can reach up to £75,000 although, there are ways to get one done for as little as £5,000.  

Here are some ways to save money on a conservatory. 

Create a DIY conservatory –  

One of the best ways to save money on creating and installing a conservatory is by doing it yourself. While this is a much cheaper option, the process is complicated and can cause a lot of stress. 

You’ll need to build every element on your own, from the foundation to the roofing. As well as this you will have to make sure your design is within permitted development. Otherwise, you will have to spend more money on planning permission.  

Choose a cheaper type of conservatory –  

 There are a lot of options when it comes to the type and size of the project you want to create. You can decrease the costs by being careful with the size of the new space.  

For example, you could do a flat-roof and squared-off build to reduce the number of materials. However, if you use double glazing and slimline frames it lets the natural light flood in.  

If you design a conservatory with a fully tiled roof and partial brick wall instead of glass, be expected to pay more. Whereas, you can get simple lean-to frames that are not that expensive.  

 Choose uPVC over aluminium  

 UPVC offers a great balance between durability and price. It is a cheaper price than aluminium but it isn’t far off when it comes to performance. UPVC gives you as much flexibility and energy-saving potential. You can ger recyclable uPVC, meaning you can also help the environment while you cut the cost of your conservatory.  

Decide what it’s going to be used for first –  

Make sure you know how you are going to be using the conservatory. So, you don’t payout for any unnecessary features you don’t need.   

You should think about what you will use it for and when you are spending the most time in it. If you only use it on hot days in the summer you might not need as many electrical sockets. And if you use it all year you may consider adding underfloor heating.  

Use energy-efficient double glazing –  

A crucial way of saving money is to make sure you are using energy-saving materials. A way of doing this is by getting double glazing windows which increases the insulation and reduces energy usage.  

Double glazing works to create a thermal barrier for your space, pairing with the frames to give you air and water tightness. Because of this, you can stay comfortable in your space without relying on heating.  

Small Conservatories - Small conservatory range | Anglian Home

Contact us

Conversions, Extensions

Planning A Basement Extension/ Conversion: Here’s What You Should Know

If you are in need of extra space but aren’t in a position to move house or extend outwards or upwards, there is another way. You could consider a basement conversion or an extension.  

What is a basement extension? 

A basement can be a great way to expand your living space by creating an extra bedroom, lounge, office, or gym. Basements are slowly becoming more popular in the UK. As people look for more space and don’t have the ability to extend wider, longer, or higher.  

What is a basement conversion? 

A basement conversion is a process of changing the space into an inhabitable room.  

There are three ways of building a basement extension:  

  • Conversion or refurbishment of the existing one 
  • Adding a basement to an existing property – a good option for when there’s no other way to gain extra space.  
  • Building a new basement as part of a new house build. 

Do basement conversions/ extensions need planning permission?  

You should speak to your local planning authority and building control department before you start any work. To make sure you know what permission is required. 

If you are converting an existing basement and are not making any changes to the external appearance of the building, you are unlikely to need planning permission. Whereas, if you are creating more room or if you are making changes to the external appearance of the property by adding a light well, then you are likely to need planning permission.  

Advantages basements can provide –  

In some parts of the UK especially London, where property values are at a premium, many people are turning to conversions and extensions. Another advantage is that you can create a new floor that can be used in different ways. 

Some more practical advantages are: 

  • Sun tunnels – these use mirrors to reflect sky and light above. 
  • Open up the space – keep the space as open as possible with minimal structures like walls. Consider using glass to enhance the light, for example, a glass staircase.  
  • Rooms with no light – rooms that work well with no light are perfect for basements, for example, entertainment rooms, storage, utility rooms, etc.  

Conversion/ extension disadvantages –  

The major disadvantage of starting a project in your basement can be the cost. However, in areas where property values are high, basements can work financially. Another disadvantage is that the construction of an extension or conversion can be complex, messy, and loud. 

Cost –  

Depending on the type of project you would like to achieve the prices will differ. Converting an existing basement will averagely be around £800 – £1500 per square metre. And if you are lowering the floor level it will cost you between £1400 – £2000 per square metre.  

Architects in London were asked how much it would cost to extend a basement. Most varied between £3000 – £4000 per metre square, for mid-range finishes.  

East Sheen - Cellar Conversion and Basement Construction Cellar Conversion  and Basement Construction

Contact us

Design and insperation

The Richest Architect In The World: Norman Foster

Norman Foster drops Madrid foundation project after planning snub
Norman Foster

A short summary –  

The richest architect in the world Norman Foster was born on the 1st of June 1935 and then took on the profession of a British architect and designer. He is now a key figure in British modernist architecture. His architectural practice Foster + Partners was founded in 1967. It then soon became the largest in the UK, and it maintains offices internationally. 

Childhood – 

Norman was the only child of Robert and Lilian Foster. The family moved to an area in Manchester England, where they lived in poverty. His parents were diligent and hard workers. His father was a machine painter at an electrical engineering company. This influenced Norman to take up engineering, design, and architecture. And his mother worked in a local bakery. His parents were always working and Norman often had friends and family look after him which led to a restricted relationship with his parents. 

Education to be an architect-  

Foster attended Burnage grammar school for boys. He was bullied and considered himself quiet and awkward. When he turned 16 and passed a trainee scheme exam which led to his first job. He became an office junior and clerk.  After that, he then had to complete his national service. In which he chose the air force because aircraft had been a long-time hobby.    

Upon returning to Manchester, he became an assistant to a contract manager in a local architect. (John E Beardshaw and partners). The staff advised that if he wished to become an architect, he should prepare a portfolio of drawings using the equipment from Beardshaw’s practice. Norman’s work was so impressive he joined the drawings department.  

In 1956, Norman began to study at the school of architecture and city planning part of the University of Manchester. He was eligible for a Maintenace grant so he took part-time jobs to fund his study. His talent and hard work were noticed in 1959 when he won a RIBA silver medal. He won this for what he described as a measured drawing of a windmill. After graduating in 1961, Foster won the henry fellowship to yale school of architecture in Connecticut. Where he met his future business partner Richard Rogers and earned his master’s degree.  

Career as an architect –  

Norman returned to England in 1963 to establish his own architectural practice, with rogers and 3 other people. One of their first projects was the cockpit, a minimalist glass bubble installed in Cornwall. The feature of this project then became a returning theme in Foster’s future projects. After the four separated Norman and one other from the group Wendy founded a new practice. Foster Associates. Norman collaborated with American architect Richard Buckminster Fuller on several projects. Such as the Samuel Beckett Theatre at St Peters College, Oxford. 

Foster associates concentrated on industrial buildings. Until a family-run insurance company wanted to restore a sense of community to the workplace. In response, foster designed space with modular, open-plan office floors, long before open-plan became popular. He also included a roof garden, a 25-meter swimming pool, and a gymnasium to enhance the quality of life for the employees.

Some of his biggest work –  

Foster received a commission for the construction of a new terminal building at London’s Stansted airport. The building is a landmark of high-tech architecture. It was awarded the European Union Prize for contemporary architecture.  

He also gained a reputation for designing offices. Norman designed the HSBC Main Building in Hong Kong, at the time it was the most expensive building ever constructed.  

Foster + Partners submitted a plan for a 385-meter-tall skyscraper, the London Millennium tower. However, the height was excessive for London’s skyline. So instead, Norman proposed 30 St Mary Axe, popularly known as “the Gherkin”.  

Norman Foster Cancels Plan to Move Foundation to Madrid | Artnet News

His style evolved into more sharp-edged modernity. And he then designed the tallest bridge in the world, the Millau Viaduct in Southern France.  

Norman Foster: 'I have no power as an architect, none whatsoever' | Norman  Foster | The Guardian

Retirement –  

In January 2007, it was reported that Foster has called in to find buyers for Foster + Partners. Foster doesn’t intend to retire but sell his 80-90% holding in the company valued at £300 million to £500 million.  

Norman currently sits on the board of trustees at architectural charity article 25. Foster believes attracting young talent is essential. And is proud that the average age of people working for Foster + Partners is 32 just like he was in 1967.  

Contact us

Advice Center

Top 10 Greatest Architect Of All Time

1. Frank Gehry architect (28/02/1929) – 

Firstly Gehry was a Canadian-born American architect and designer. A number of his buildings have become world-renowned attractions. So, in 2010 vanity fair labelled him as “the most important architect of our age”. Furthermore, some of his most famous works include the Guggenheim Museum in Spain, the museum of pop culture in Seattle. The dancing house in Prague, the Walt Disney concert hall in Los Angeles, and many more amazing and popular buildings. And he has been assessed as someone who “produced buildings that are fun, sculpturally exciting and a good experience”.  

Frank Gehry and his design

2. Frank Lloyd Wright architect  (08/06/1867 – 09/04/1959) – 

Secondly, Wright was an American architect, designer, writer, and educator. In fact, he has designed more than 1000 structures over a period of 70 years. Wright believed in designing in harmony with humanity and the environment. As a result the philosophy he called organic architecture. This philosophy was exemplified in Fallingwater (1935). Which has been called “the best all-time work of American architecture”. Some of his most famous work includes the imperial hotel in Tokyo, Fallingwater in Pennsylvania, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York and the Robie House in Chicago. In addition, he was known as one of the pioneers of modernist architecture.  

Frank Lloyd Wright

3.Leoh Ming Pei (26/04/ 1917 – 16/05/2019) – 

Thirdly, Pei was a Chinese-American architect who was raised in Shanghai and moved to America in 1935. After he graduated from university in Pennsylvania, then he enrolled in the Harvard Graduate school of design. His major recognition came with the Mesa Laboratory in Colorado and became chief architect for the John F Kennedy Library in Massachusetts. Then he also designed one of the most popular landmarks to this day, the Louvre in Paris. in Addition, Pei found the pyramid shape best suited for stable transparency. Therefore considered it “most compatible with the architecture of the Louvre, especially with the faceted planes of its roofs” 

Leoh Ming Pei and the louvre

4. Zaha Hadid (31/10/1950 – 31/03/2016) – 

Fourthly, Hadid was a British Iraqi architect, artist, and designer. However, she was the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize. And in 2010 and 2011 she won the UK’s most prestigious architectural award. Some of her main works include the London Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Olympics, the broad art museum, Rome’s MAXXI Museum and the Guangzhou Opera House.  As a result, she was made dame by Queen Elizabeth ll for services to architecture. 

10 Zaha Hadid Buildings You Need to Know if You're an Architecture Lover
Zhah Hadid

5. Philip Johnson (08/07/1906 – 25/01/2005) –  

Johnson was an American architect. Was best known for his works of modern and postmodern architecture. In 1978 he was awarded an American Institute of architect gold medal. And in 1979 he won the first Pritzker architecture prize. Some of his most well-known designs are his glasshouse in Connecticut and the postmodern 550 Madison Avenue in New York. Also, the one Detroit centre in New York. In 1993 Johnson came out as gay. And nonetheless, was known as “the best-known openly gay architect in America”. 

Philip Johnson, the Man Who Made Architecture Amoral | The New Yorker
Philip Johnson infront of his Glasshouse

6. Tom Wright (18/07/1957) –

Wright qualified as an architect the same year he was accepted as a member of the Royal Institute of British architects. Wright then became a design director in Dubai and wanted to create an icon for the city. Much like the Eiffel tower in Paris. Wright created the Burj Al Arab, and it has become one of the tallest hotels in the world.  

Tom wright with the Burj

7. Ludwig Meis Van Der Rohe (27/03/1886 – 17/08/1969) – 

Meis was a German-American architect. In addition, he was known as a pioneer of modernist architecture. Furthermore, after Nazism’s rise to power, with its opposition to modernism, Mies emigrated to the US. Meis strove toward architecture with minimal framework and freedom of unobstructed free-flowing open space. Some of his well-known work includes Crown Hall in Chicago, the Seagram building in New York, and the Barcelona pavilion.  

Mies van der Rohe with a model of Crown Hall (photographer: Arthur... |  Download Scientific Diagram
Ludwig Meis Van Der Rohe

8. Renzo Piano (14/09/1937) – 

Piano is an Italian architect. In fact, his notable buildings include the shard in London, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. And the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre in Athens. Piano also won the Pritzker Architectural Prize in 1998. The jury citation compared Piano to Michelangelo and Da Vinci and credited him with “redefining modern and postmodern architecture”. 

Renzo Piano: Ecological Innovator - Organized Architectural Case studies!
Renzo Piano

9. Jean Nouvel (12/08/1945) –

Nouvel is a French architect. Therefore, he has obtained a number of prestigious awards over the course of his career. Including the Ago Khan award for architecture, the wolf prize in arts, and the Pritzker Prize. Some of his notable works include the Arab world Institute in France, the Torre Agbar in Spain, and the Doha Tower in Qatar. And also, the Louvre Abu Dhabi.  

Jean Nouvel

10. Moshe Safdie (14/07/1938) –

Finally, Safdie is an Israeli, Canadian and American architect. And, his projects include cultural, educational, and civic institutions. Also, Safdie has had projects in North and south America, the Middle East, and Asia. As a result, he is most identified with designing Marina Bay sands, Jewel Chani Airport. And as well as his debut project Habitat 67. He was awarded a Gold Medal from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. Also the American Institute of Architects, and the Wolf Prize in Architecture. 

Moshe Safdie | Architectuul
Moshe Safdie

Contact us

Advice Center

Green Belt Areas: Everything You Need To Know.

England’s 14 green belts cover around 12.4% of land in the country and provide a breath of fresh air for 30 million people. 

What is a green belt area?  

A green belt is a policy and land use zone designation used in land use planning. They retain areas of largely undeveloped, wild, or agricultural land surrounding or neighboring urban areas.  

There are three different types of land and they are:  

  • Brownfield – land that has been built on previously, but is now vacant or in need of redevelopment.  
  • Greenfield – land that has not been built on before (agricultural/grassland). 
  • Green belt – highly protected land with tight restrictions on development.  

Local planning authorities are extremely cautious about their green belt areas. This is because the purpose of one is to capture the fugitive emissions emanating from plant operations, alternate the noise generated and improve the aesthetic. 

New homes can be allowed in the green belt if they meet the need. And this exception only applies to specific policies in the local plan. And only then if the need for those homes is clearly demonstrated they will be able to live in a green belt area. Developers need to submit a case for very special circumstances in which the building would outweigh the resulting harm to the environment. 

How much does it cost to buy green belt land?  

The cost of the land largely depends on whether it has planning permission or not. Green belt land is usually cheap if it doesn’t have consent to build on. It is cheap because of the strong building restrictions. However, if the area has consent to build on it could sell for about £500,000 per acre. 

Green belts are intended to check further growth of large built-up areas such as London. This is because they need to prevent neighboring towns from merging into one another.  

You definitely can’t overlook the benefits that green belts can offer for your health and wellbeing. For example, being in the countryside where it’s rich with nature, and there’s plenty of fresh air for everyone to enjoy. They also double up as local nature reserves. So, they work brilliantly for wildlife, allowing creatures to move between habitats safely and flourish in a mix of landscapes. 

Instead of viewing the Green Belts as a limitation to building more homes, we need to focus on restoring and enhancing the land. So, it can continue to provide a space for nature and a place to relax, play and grow our food. 

The Green Belt: what is it and why does it matter? // High Living Barnet
Londons Green Belt Area

Contact us