Designing Our New Offices

This week I have been working with the two directors at Rogers and Jones Architects (the practice where I work) to redesign the building which will eventually house our new offices! It’s quite an exciting opportunity to think about the design space, our own work units and how best to retrofit quite a dated building.

The general plan for the works, showing finishes, reflected ceiling/lighting plan and heating.
3D Isometric view to show the general layout and feel of the furnishings and table arrangements.
Front elevational treatment, showing the minimalist glass canopy to be installed, signwriting and vertical cladding section.

Quite a lot about the design has been focused on the change of ceiling levels as you walk through the building, giving the more personal, intimate spaces a cosier feel and the design studio space a light and airy room height.

Looking forward to moving in and starting on some of the works now!

Survey of a Classical Block

For Rogers and Jones Architects, I recently completed this massive survey – featuring an existing block of accommodation for a housing association in Plymouth. I counted over 300 rooms whilst measuring and drawing this up in BIM software, but it was a useful experience as it gave me practice in manipulating large numbers of rooms on confusing level arrangements (through half-floors, stepped floorplates etc.).

Ground Floor and Site Plan
East Elevation

Extension and Alterations at St. Bridget’s Avenue

Some recent work I did at Rogers and Jones for a private client in Plymouth. I really loved the light and airy feel of the dining area, thanks to the three tilting velux skylights, as well as the quality of the kitchen finishes and fixtures.

Extension and alterations made to the rear of a dwelling in Plymouth. Replacing an existing lean-to conservatory/utility. Clients wished to maximise their views out into the garden, as well as create a more open and contemporary kitchen/living/dining area. We proposed a large 4m+ wide sliding/folding aluminium door opening out onto the patio and garden. The sloping soffit to the ceiling allows a light and airy space in the dining area, whilst the three pivoting velux rooflights allow a good amount of natural daylight into the room. The bespoke kitchen was designed by specialists.

The utility facilities were relocated to new side extension [not pictured] that also incorporated access to the rear garden and downstairs WC facilities.

Front elevation drawing
Sectional detail through lean-to roof

New Dwelling – Tavistock

These are some photos of a (nearly) completed house that I worked on for Rogers and Jones Architects a while ago, in order to gain planning and building regulations approval for a bespoke residence located on the outskirts of Tavistock in Devon.

The design features an integrated garage and master bedroom above. The front projecting box window with full height glazing gives the building a contemporary look, which is then surrounded by powder-grey cedral cladding wrapping down from the roof.

Front elevation, for building regulations
Floor plans

The modern glass-sheet-effect porch design being hung via wound steel cable provides a light and minimalist entrance. The interior features a generous open plan kitchen and living space with large bifolding doors leading out to the garden.

Grade II Listed Building Extension

These are some sketchy perspective images I put together for a planning application submission on a Grade II listed building extension in South Devon. Originally there was an old lean-to garage/workshop and adjoining conservatory space connecting the the main house. To inject new life into the extension we proposed to use the thick wrapping, retaining wall to the back of the existing extension and to create a sleek living/lobby/kitchen unit with contemporary corrugated iron roof planes to both project back over the wall and to create rear high level lighting for the main rooms.

The basic 3D model for this has influenced the design greatly, in playing with the relationship between extension and original house, as well as seeing how the spaces could be stepped. I thought it would be quite nice to use the model to create these sketchy perspective views of the proposal. Made using Rhinoceros 3D and Photoshop+Wacom tablet/pen.

Site Plan: Tavistock Road

Sometimes after going through the rigmarole of submitting hyper-detailed building regulations drawings on AutoCAD, it’s nice to take the drawing back to its roots and add a little colour to inject some life into the project – this was some work done today in Adobe Illustrator for marketing purposes. The site plan sets out the houses on Tavistock Road I created a visualisation for in an earlier post on this site (block C).

Trees from Dosch birds eye view trees, with a watercolour filter applied in Adobe Photoshop, all other textures created using layer styles and washed-out pastel colours.

Tavistock Road Marketing Siteplan, coloured

Vray – The Making of ‘Tavistock Road’

A Rendering / Modelling Tutorial for Rhino + Vray

Some recent work done for Rogers and Jones Architects for a local developer – these buildings are actually being built on site currently, but the company required some marketing images to help sell the scheme. For those interested, I’ve included a short tutorial below on how I went about rendering this scene.

General Modeling view, taken from Rhinoceros
Row of houses in-situ, being modelled
Closeup of guttering being modelled

For the blocks, I imported the CAD drawing over to Rhinoceros 3D and used the information to build up the unit types. I even modelled the cedral effect cladding used on site. Thanks to the NURBs modelling, curved shapes like the half-round guttering were a doddle to manipulate. I used sample XFrog trees to help fill in the site’s foliage – they import quite nicely into Rhino. (Although many others say that it’s faster to export to 3DS Max before rendering, I don’t have that luxury available to me and the Vray plugin for Rhino seems to work just fine.)

Nothing too out of the ordinary here – loosely based on the “Making of Griehallen” render settings posted to Ronen Beckerman’s site a few weeks ago. Simply used a medium/high quality Irradiance Map and Light Cache at a resolution of 4000px wide. Importantly, I used Peter Guthries’ HDRI skies to light the environment with a cloudy/sunny day setting.

The fun stuff – Photoshop post processing

Here’s where I tend to really enjoy adding a little flare to my renders, so lots of blur/dodge/burning to the image done, and also adding entourage (from Gobotree) for a sense of dynamism in the scene. Admittedly, I’m still not 100% happy with the people placed in this scene, since the lighting in the photographs must have differed to the rendering, but I feel it’s always important to give the rendering a sense of scale. Also, I tend to find that exporting the alpha and material IDs with the Vray render makes things a lot easier – for instance you can use the materials to select the whole road at once and then apply it as a mask to a texture, rather than manually selecting the area.