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Friday, 13 December 2013

Islington Group: End of term review

Our end of term review with the Islington History and Architecture Group took place this week. One of the group’s highlights this autumn was our recent visit to the offices of architects Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM) which proved to be a fantastic learning experience. Inspiration for the visit came from an earlier tour of AHMM’s Angel Building where the group saw how a redundant office block has been transformed into a new landmark building. 


The tour of the AHMM office was led by their Events Coordinator Claire Pollock who had organised for the group to explore their offices located in the Morlelands Building on Old Street. The tour included a look at the model workshop where the group learnt about the practicalities of model making and a visit up to their recently extended upper floors and roof terrace with amazing panoramic views across London. During presentations from members of the AHMM team the group were given an introduction to the work of the practice and learnt about the process of designing and completing a building.

The group also met with an architect who had worked on the Angel Building which proved to be of particular interest to the group. They were fascinated to hear an in-depth description of the design and construction process of a building they knew as it helped them to see it through the eyes of an architect. This led them to understand the thinking behind features that they would have otherwise overlooked such as the building’s new curved fa├žade which mirrors the curve in St John’s Street; the perfectly smooth concrete columns with their formwork holes purposefully left unfilled. This information helped to unlock the process of design, allowing them to make sense of the building and see it in a completely new light:

“I’ve never appreciated concrete before!”

When we spoke to the group about the visit their response was overwhelmingly positive. What they appreciated was being face to face with people who design buildings and having an opportunity to ask questions. 

“I enjoyed meeting highly knowledgeable people and seeing what they do” 

They agreed that this had given them insight into the world of architecture (which had no prior knowledge of) and it had also helped the them to better appreciate and value what architects do. The visit to AHMM highlighted that going to architecture practices can be a valuable learning experience – it has inspired our group to visit more in 2014.  

The Islington Architecture and History group is aimed at older people who live in Islington. The programme is funded by the Cripplegate Foundation, to whom we are very grateful for their support. For more information on this project and our work with older people please visit our website or call us on 0207 6080 775

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Heritage Counts: Discover Haggerston

We are delighted that our Discover Haggerston project has been included by English Heritage in their  'Heritage Counts: London' report for 2013.

You can access the report here - Heritage Counts: London


Our 'Discover Haggerston' page, complete with interactive map of Haggerston's listed buildings, is now up and running and can be found on our website at www.buildingexploratory.org.uk/listedhaggerston

Listed Haggerston is part of the My Haggerston project run in partnership with Discover Hackney.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Cripplegate Foundation Funding News

Following on from a very successful one year pilot project, we are delighted to announce we have been awarded a two year grant by the Cripplegate Foundation, to continue developing our work with older people in Islington.

Over the next two years we plan to continue working with our Islington History and Architecture Group, and to engage more isolated and harder to reach people. We also aim to identify ways in which older people can become more routinely involved in commenting on local and regional development plans and built environment policy. 

 The group visits the new and old Highbury stadiums with Sami from Aresnal in the Community

The Islington History and Architecture Group gives older Islington residents access to unique opportunities to learn about their local history and architecture through talks, tours and visits to buildings, regeneration projects,  green and public spaces.

 On a walking tour of Islington with Billy from English Heritage

For more information on our work with older people in Islington and in Hackney, please visit our website or contact karen@buildingexploratory.org.uk

The Cripplegate Foundation is an independent charity working in Islington and parts of the City of London. Their vision is of a society free from poverty and the effects of inequality, where the potential and aspirations of all local people are fully realised.

For more information on the Cripplegate Foundation and their work please visit their website at www.cripplegate.org/

Monday, 15 July 2013

Quality Badge Awarded

We are delighted that we have once again been awarded a Quality Badge by the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom (lOtC).

The badge is a nationally recognised indicator of good quality educational provision, helping  reduce the red tape associated with learning outside the classroom and thereby making it easier for teachers and other education providers to incorporate learning outside of the classroom into the everyday curriculum.

For more information on The lOtC and the Quality Badge, please click here

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Discovering Dalston for the Barbican

On Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th June the Building Exploratory encouraged visitors to the Barbican's Dalston House, to discover the secrets of their local environment in 2 family friendly workshops.

We looked at how terraced houses like Dalston House developed, and discovered the changes in the area using historic maps.

Visitors added houses and street maps to giant drawings, and had a go at creating their own mirrored houses and backwards messages. 

These workshops were commissioned by the Barbican for the opening weekend of Dalston House by Leandro Erlich.

Dalston House is free to visit, in Ashwin Street, E8 3DL until the 4th August. Please click here for more information.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Architecture and Built Environment Centres Network Launch

Building Exploratory director Nicole Crockett, pictured above with colleagues from the Architecture and Built Environment Centres Network (ABECN) and Ed Vaisey, Minister for Culture, Communication and the Creative Industries at the relaunch on Tuesday 18 June 2013.

The ABECN is a collective of fourteen centres from around the UK. 
Architecture Minister Ed Vaizey officially launched the Network in the morning before the roundtable examined how to improve design quality across all areas of the built environment. Topics ranged from the influence of government policy and economic factors to the value and efficacy of design reviews on project quality and delivery, and focused in particular on how to collectively improve the quality of residential projects. 

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Lambeth Treasures Exhibition - Southbank Centre Festival of Neighbourhood

Lambeth Treasures is an exhibition dedicated to Lambeth, created by the Building Exploratory in collaboration with the Southbank Centre.

Through a combination of archive material, commissioned artworks, objects, films and installations, Lambeth Treasures is a multi-sensory exhibition that celebrates the Southbank Centre's local neighbourhood and what it means to live, work and love Lambeth. 

The exhibition is open now, in the Spirit Level of Royal Festival Hall, and will run till September.  

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Our phone line is back!

Normal service is resumed - apologies if you have had trouble contacting us over the past week. Our normal phone number is back to normal now.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Our phones are down...

Our sincerest apologies if you have been trying to reach us on our phone number - our lines are currently down and may not be back up until the 6th June.

If you need to reach us please do email us - we check our email very regularly and will get back to you as soon as possible.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Mint Street Celebration Day

Thank you to everyone who came to see us on Saturday at the Celebration of Mint Street Adventure Playground. The day was a great success and it was wonderful to see everyone taking part in the fantastic activities and making time to add comments and thoughts to the building consultation.

Learning some tips on balance and movement from the Parkour experts  


The guys from Parkour Generations had this to say about their experience working at Mint Street on Saturday:

"Mint Street is a great place for local young people to get into sports and physical activities, and we are always happy to support excellent charitable community organisations like this one. Children should always be encouraged to move, explore, play and learn about their potential, and spaces like Mint Street enable this for so many young people living in urban environments.

Thanks to everyone who helped make today such great fun, and we look forward to seeing everyone continuing to work on their movement ;)"

 Your comments on what we have heard from building users so far

Creating models with artist Karen Logan

Friday, 3 May 2013

Islington Architecture Group. The new term begins.

The new term for our new architecture programme for older people in Islington kicked off on Wednesday with a fascinating tour of the re-development at Kings Cross by Argent.

The group heard about the history of the site and how the developers and architects have creatively restored and incorporated many of the historic buildings on the site.

If you would like more information on our Islington older peoples group or are interested in joining, please contact Karen on 020 7608 0775 or email us.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Park in Progress, with the London Legacy Development Corporation

Last Thursday members of our new Islington Older People's group and the Senior BEE's got a preview of the visitor experience at the ArceloMittal Orbit at the Olympic Park on a 'Park in Progress Tour'.

We donned hard hats and high vis vests and hopped on a bus for a short ride from Pudding Mill Lane to the Orbit.

It was pretty chilly up there, but the platforms offered amazing 360 degree views of London.

This visit was arranged for us by the London Legacy Development Corporation

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Mint Street Adventure Playground, Southwark

We are delighted to be working with Southwark Borough Council on their project to improve facilities at Mint Street Adventure Playground building.

On Thursday of half term we spent the day at the playground speaking to children, parents and many of the fantastic people who run activities at the playground.

We also had a lot of fun doing a Mint Street history treasure hunt. Children hunted around the park for clues and learnt a bit about the amazing history and famous previous residents of the area where the park is.

If you use the playground and would like to be involved in the consultation for this project please send us an email or give us a call on 0207 6080775

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Islington group visit to Islington Archives and Lizzie's last day

Project Officer Lizzie Edwards writes no her last day in the Building Exploratory office: 

Today is my final day at the Building Exploratory, and after two and a half years of being involved in fantastic projects exploring the built environment with a wonderful array of people and groups, what better way to finish than with a fascinating session with a brand new group for the Building Exploratory, which is going to grow and develop in the months to come!

The Building Exploratory have set up a new group to explore Islington’s history and architecture, with older people who live in the borough. Today we visited the Islington Local History Centre, which is in the Finsbury Library on St John Street, to get an overview of the history of the borough, which will frame our future building visits and talks. 

We were lucky to have a talk from Ben Smith, the Heritage Officer at the Local History Centre, who had opened the centre just for our visit and shared many fascinating insights onto the history of the borough. We were amazed to learn that the Local History Centre holds over twenty thousand images, and 1200 maps! We saw some really interesting examples of the archive, including many photos of St John Street through the years, maps from 1500, to Booth’s poverty maps, to bomb damage maps of the borough. We also saw the bomb damage record cards, which chart the streets and buildings that were affected during the war. 

I particularly enjoyed looking at the Vestry minute books, in thick leather and lock bound volumes, and hand written, detailing for example the days and times that cattle weren’t allowed to be driven through the streets, because they were disturbing the residents.

We hope to visit the archives again after we have had a chance to see a bit more of the architecture of the borough in person, so that we can learn more about the archival record of the buildings we visit. We’d also love to have a better chance to look at some of the amazing special collections at the archives, such at the Dove Brothers archive, who were prolific developers in the borough, and responsible for many of the buildings that characterize Islington today.

All at TBE wish Lizzie all the best in her new job - we will miss you! 

Thursday, 10 January 2013

National Science and Engineering Week 2013

15th - 24th March - Book Now!

'National Science & Engineering Week shines the spotlight each March on how the sciences, technology, engineering and maths relate to our everyday lives, and helps to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers with fun and participative events and activities'

The Building Exploratory's fantastic science and engineering workshops are designed to engage your students with learning in exciting and interactive ways. 

All of workshops are linked to the national curriculum across a wide range of subject areas, from maths, science and design technology and geography. Our creative activities allow the students we work with to develop a range of skills including observation, spatial awareness, creative problem solving and critical thinking.

Call us now on 0207 6080 775 to discuss your workshop package for Science and Engineering Week

Workshops available

Building Bridges or Building the Stadium

In this workshop your class will learn about Forces in action as found in building and bridge construction. Children will gain an understanding of the crucial decisions engineers make when designing bridges and buildings and will learn how the interaction of forces determine which are the strongest shapes to use when building structures.  Working in teams, children participate in the Building Exploratory’s ‘bridge-building’ or ‘Olympic Stadium-building challenge.

Which team can apply their knowledge of forces to build the strongest structure?

Printing Planets

Reinforce your class’s learning from the Earth, Sun and Moon topic in this creative workshop. Children consider the features of each of the planets in the Solar System, and their relationship to the sun.  They discover the environmental and atmospheric conditions on the planets and learn how to represent them visually through mark-making, looking at the works of modern artists for inspiration. These new skills are then applied to making beautiful, ambient prints of the planets to display in your classroom.

Shelter: What from and what form? 

This workshop looks at natural features in a variety of environments and how a shelter can be constructed from locally-found materials.  Children work in project teams to agree the function of a shelter and how it will be designed and made.  Using model-making materials provided by the Building Exploratory, project teams build models of their shelters and present them to the class. 

Prices from as a little as £250 per workshop - Discounted packages available for multiple workshop bookings. Click here to contact us or call on 0207 6080 775