This Old House

This is some coverage of a house I worked on years ago with my friends at Robert Dye Associates.

See some images here


This is an idea about how to make concrete seating for a wooded area that is robust, maintenance free and has delightful woody facts embedded into it along with leaf imprints to help identification of trees by visitors.

Other benches could say:

Beech (Fagus) - Excellent firewood.  Can be pressed to make oil.  Used to find water by divination

Ash (Fraxinus) - Part of the Olive family.  Used to make longbows, baseball bats and guitars.  Can live for a thousand years.  Used to find love when placed in the left shoe

Elm (Genus Ulmus) - Used to make chairs, wheels, coffins and medieval water pipes.  The bark can be boiled and eaten.  Associated with the dead and underworld.

Oak (Genus Quercus) - Produces acorns.  Used in the House of Commons and ship building.  Known as the ‘father of the woods’.  Symbol of strength, truth and longevity.

Sycamore (Acer Pseudoplatanus) - Tolerant of wind, urban pollution and salt.  Used for making violins.  Brings contentment to those with responsibility.  Ensures long life to children.

Sweet Chestnut (Castanea Sativa) - Produces edibles nuts.  Can live for hundreds of years.  Can be used to treat diarrhoea, coughs and asthma.

Scots Pine (Pinus Sylvestris) - Ever green tree can live for 700 years.  Used for making ships.  Symbolises fertility and was used to mark routes to important places.

Lime (Genus Tilia) - Used by bees to make honey and in intricate carving and musical instruments.  Symbol of fairness and justice.  Heart shaped leaves represent love.

Horse Chestnut (Genus Aesculus) - Produces toxic nuts used to play games of conkers..  Makes good fire wood.

Hawthorn (Crataegus Monogyna) - Traditional used in hedge planting.  Known as ‘lone bushes’ inhabited by faeries.  Thought to be gateways to other worlds.

Holly (Ilex) - Used for Christmas decorations and to make white chess pieces.  Symbol of the ‘Holly King’.

Yew (Taxus Baccata) - Leaves and berries are highly poisonous.  Used to make long bows and other medieval weapons.  Often found in graveyards.  Known to live for 3000 years is said to live forever.


I presented some photographs of rooms that I have designed over the years to students last week and whilst preparing the presentation found these old ideas.

Idea for visitor centre al Baldiao Lagoon, Galicia, Spain.

Idea for visitor centre al Baldiao Lagoon, Galicia, Spain.

Idea for a library room, Plumstead, South East London.

Idea for a library room, Plumstead, South East London.

Idea for a market hall, Ford Airfield, West Sussex.

Idea for a market hall, Ford Airfield, West Sussex.

What's The Time?

This is part of a competition entry we made for the London Borough of Hillingdon.  The brief called for a shelter and clock tower for Hayes town centre.  We proposed a planting scheme four four trees that blossomed in each season, a clock with four faces that told the time, the weather, the date and the year and a gold canopy for performance, markets and meetings.  Hayes has a history of brick making and much London stock brick would have been produced in the area, for this reason we also proposed to work with local artist Syvastie Poonwassie to make the bricks for the clock tower in the town centre with local people.


Bells and Whistles

This is a recording I made in Sri Lanka during December 2014 whilst visiting a Hindu temple near Kandy.  The most enduring memory from this is the two musicians both sat on the floor, one skinny playing a drum and one very large playing a long wind instrument.  Whilst the acolytes on the stage poured milk and flower petals over a gold statue of Krishna, the large one kept winking and gesturing at the girls in the audience to come and sit next to him which they mostly declined but when one accepted his horn playing became extra exuberant.



Bat House

This is a very old competition entry for a bat house at Barnes Wetland Centre.  It wasn't a winner but they built something nice in any case.