Latest commission – In Zimbabwe

Bluepencil Designs' latest commission was to design an environmentally friendly, luxury holiday retreat for eco-travellers. The site is at The Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. The designs include a 3 bedroomed 'long house' and two different 1 bedroomed 'roundhouses'. Each house has ensuite bathrooms, a kitchen and a living/dining area. The whole site will be solar powered and water will be from boreholes. The inspiration for the designs came from the traditional thatched houses of Zimbabwe and will be decorated to reflect the shapes and colours (red white and grey) found on the roundhouses at the Unesco World Heritage site of ancient Great Zimbabwe at Masvingo. Our client, Kumusha Luxury Travel, came up with the concept of creating a mid price range holiday retreat that was affordable to the people of Zimbabwe who want to visit the Victoria Falls but find that hotels in the area only cater for wealthy international...

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The ‘picture postcard’ Village

Finchingfield in Essex has been called the most beautiful village in England. A "picture-postcard" village and one of the most photographed, with a duck pond and village green surrounded by Georgian and medieval cottages; St John the Baptist Church on the hill; an eighteenth-century windmill; three public houses; Post Office; tea rooms; a hall; a primary school; and a doctor's surgery. It often appears in television programmes, films, and commercials, as well as on chocolate boxes, biscuit tins, and other products. Finchingfield has a designated Conservation Area in which some buildings date back to the14th century. The Conservation area comprises much of the historic core of the village and contains a number of Grade 11 listed buildings. So it was a challenge, an honour and a great responsibility to design a scheme of 50 new dwellings, landscape, open space and associated infrastructure at the edge of this very special village. Working with Phase 2 Planning, James Blake Associates, and Intermodal, we created a well considered landscape-led...

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The Value of Trees

Why we keep existing trees in our masterplans and how they add value to new developments This is the story of three oak trees that I have known for nearly 50 years. Once upon a time, long, long ago, three trees (The Trinity) were part of  field boundary and hedgerow. The sort of trees one would walk past on autumn blackberry picking expeditions and hardly even notice.  Just look at them now! In all their majestic autumn colour, creating a magnificent gateway to the beautiful linear park at Beaulieu, Chelmsford. I visited them again today as I used to at the age of eleven or twelve when picking blackberries and rambling was a Sunday treat for us at New Hall School. They seemed happy to me and they are certainly healthy and well cared for. Their surroundings have changed from agricultural fields to a huge and impressive residential development by Countryside Properties with (so far) a primary and a secondary school, a...

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Working from Home

Working from home is the ‘new normal’ for many people - and they love it! Bluepencil Designs Chartered Architects is a collaborative arrangement of people working from their own homes who work together on different projects at different times and have been doing so since 2013. There have been occasions when potential clients saw this as a somehow ‘inferior set up’. There was a perception that working from home was not quite as good as renting an office space and travelling to it every day. Hopefully this old fashioned and out dated view will now change. It is interesting and pleasing that so many friends and colleagues are discovering the many benefits of working from home and some are even planning to continue to do so well into the future.  We all know that in a traditional office environment so much time is spent attending long meetings which may or may not be necessary, ‘catching up’ with colleagues and doing all manner of...

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What Do Home Buyers Really Want?

How about finding out what Home buyers want before we actually build their houses? I have recently had a new bathroom fitted with a shower. The shower leaks. The plumber who installed it has been back 5 times to “patch it up”. It still leaks. It is so very annoying for the customer when this sort of thing happens, not to mention the cost and the time wasted. It must also be very annoying, time consuming and costly for the plumber and ultimately not good for his reputation or business. Getting it right the first time would make most of his customers happy, be cost effective, save time and be great for business. One of our clients recently commissioned Bluepencil Designs to create a collection of Standard House Templates and had the foresight to engage a research consultant to test the designs prior to actually building the houses as a commitment to get...

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The Bluepencil Manual of Housing Density

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Bluepencil Designs have published a valuable guide to understanding housing density and how to get it right at the very start of the project.  This manual has been produced to assist the residential development industry and those associated with it.   It is designed and written with the benefit of many years experience in the industry. This has given the author a deep understanding of residential development from land assembly through detailed planning, construction, delivery and sales, as well as a comprehensive understanding of planning policy at national, regional and local level.   Understanding density is fundamentally important, and the earlier in the design process, the better. Density is measured in a number of different ways, at different stages of the design development, which can cause no end of problems and frequently does so. It is not uncommon for land buyers and land agents to acquire a site (or options on a site), measure the site area...

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Another Planning Permission Granted!

We are very pleased to announce that Planning Permission was granted for 485 new homes and 2ha of Employment at Mistley in Essex This was an appeal decision that supported virtually every matter the appellant put forward including Design, Density, Landscape, Viability, RAMS, and Affordable Housing. The masterplan and Design and Access Statement we produced were underpinned by our detailed, data linked proving layout which gave the application a robust base from which the inspector could clearly appreciate the viability of the design. The Design and Access Statement by Bluepencil Designs included analysis of surrounding towns and villages, parameter plans and character area studies which reflected the analysis work and showed how the proposed masterplan was in line with planning policy and followed the guidance in the Essex Design Guide. Having created a 3D model of the entire layout we were able to work with Landscape consultants, Tyler Grange, to create realistic Landscape Visual...

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Working with ROSE

We are delighted to be commissioned by ROSE Builders of Manningtree on a residential scheme in Essex A traditional family-run firm of builders, contractors and developers established circa 1896, Rose are one of the leading construction companies in East Anglia. This is our first commission from Rose and we are pleased to be working with them on a site close to home in Essex. The site already has Outline Planning consent. We will first be creating  data linked 3D models of all Rose housetypes and then producing a proving layout over the whole mixed use site. Working in this way, with a proving layout, helps the client to make decisions regarding design, infrastructure phasing, (construction and sales), as well as marketing - at the earliest stages of the design development. It also enables changes to be made whilst maintaining the balance of unit types and numbers across the whole site. Once the proving layout...

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A Tribute to Trisha Gupta

A dear friend, generous mentor and supportive colleague. Trisha Gupta  MBE B.Arch.Hons RIBA FRSA 30.05.1947-24.10.2919   Patricia Gupta  'Trisha' died peacefully at home on 24th October 2019. The Funeral Service took place on Thursday 14th November at Chelmsford Crematorium at 3.30pm. Family, friends and former colleagues were all welcome. The service was a lovely refection of the beautiful, gracious, strong willed, intelligent and quick witted lady we will all miss.   After graduating from Edinburgh University Trisha worked within an architectural practice and then with the Planning Department at Essex County Council. She joined Countryside Properties Plc in 1981 and was appointed to the Main Board in 1984 remaining in this position until retirement in 2007.   Whilst working for Countryside Properties she became a member of several working parties including the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the (former) DETR and the Centre for Accessible Environments for which she was awarded an MBE.   Trisha served on RIBA East Regional Council in...

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Tokyo Olympics!

Bluepencil Designs are delighted to sponsor Alton Brown who is working towards the Tokyo Olympics in 2020!   Alton is Great Britain's number 1 Middleweight Karate competitor and next month will become a full time professional athlete. The Tokyo Olympics is particularly significant for Alton as it will be the first time that Karate has been an Olympic event. Karate Athletes hoping to compete in the Olympic Games must first accrue a number of points by achieving success through a variety of tough competitions worldwide.   Bluepencil are delighted to be involved in Alton's journey because of our shared values. These broadly include: the discipline of detailed preparation and planning; awareness and knowledge of the competition; a never ending desire to improve; and a confidence born through diligence; an ability to find the competitive edge and to capitalise on opportunity, and the passion to be the best you can be.   Bluepencil Designs is honoured to...

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