Orangepith's Blog

Architecture, design and chatter

New website and new blog location


Hi! We have just launched our new website at, and moved the blog there. It is not quite as functional as on WordPress, but we are seeing how it goes…it also allows you to see what else we have been up to. 

Thanks for visiting!



Hopkins House, Bury St Edmunds

We have been asked to work on the refurbishment of an almost unknown glass house designed by Michael Hopkins in 1978 on the edge of Bury St Edmunds (called Crystal Palace).


It is in a glorious setting overlooking a field down to a river – although the recent sale carved up the site so a new building is planned close by. The extraordinary thing about so-called ‘High-Tec’ is that it is anything but by todays standards. However you can see that the project was forward looking and innovative. We are having to balance a sensitivity to the original vision, with the reality of what the project became and how much money can you really throw at it?

Architecture and Education

At the end of last week I spent an intense but fascinating 2 days as eternal examiner at University of Westminster. With over 100 students in the third year there was a vast range of positions and schemes presented. There was a renewed interest in housing which was good to see – and nearly every scheme had a garden or allotment…Government take note! The ability to conjure up atmosphere and space is impressive with hybrid hand and computer drawings. The show is on 14th June – 5th July – do try to go along.
Keeping on the theme of Education, I was in China chairing an RIBA visit which was both fascinating and disorientating. The work was energetic and engaging, though verging on the megalomaniac at times! This week a meeting with Will Hunter from AR who is proposing a new model for a post graduate qualification in architecture. Its a real challenge to think about how this could be constructed – but I think it is very timely and look forward to hearing more….

Abell & Cleland House Apartments

Abell & Cleland Executive Suite Show Apartment Living RoomLast night was the launch of our apartment design in Abell and Cleland House – a new housing development near Westminster. The interiors have been beautifully made with really interesting joinery detailing – with curved bolection mouldings around doors and architraves. Only thing is you will have to win the lottery to be able to afford one! Lets hope that some real people manage to live there!

UKTI visit to India with David CameronThis special report is from India where I am on the UKTI’s business delegation to India with David Cameron. Apart from the extraordinary logistics, and the way the roads were cleared for the 100+ Delegates to travel across the city, the thrust of the visit is to energies the connection between UK and India. In this regard history may not be on our side, and the PM has stressed it’s all about partnerships for the future. If they are to be believed the figures are staggering: in the next 5 years India plans to spend $1 Trillion on infrastructure, by 2020 it targets 40m new university places and by 2025 it will be the world’s fifth largest consumer market. All well and good, however beneath the headlines there are some deeper questions that need answering. While infrastructure is acknowledged as being important to make cities function, no one seems to be discussing the vision for what India wants to be. At a very interesting meeting with the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, it was acknowledged that the system of governance made it difficult to implement joined up thinking. Yet this is exactly what is needed along with a critical response to current urbanization trends, and a rethink as to what is being borrowed or copied from the West. Infrastructure should not be seen as a solution to a problem, it needs to be understood as part of a synthetic and integrated approach to making cities places that allow people to work, live well and thrive.

58 Barnes High Street

Been a busy (dry!) January and things are getting even busier. Next week is an important planning consultation meeting for our Barnes Project. If you are in the area drop in on 7th February (5.30-7) at 58 Barnes High Street. The idea is to create some elegant, innovative and contextual apartments in the manner of an artisan mews.Image

Moscow House

Following a recent trip to Moscow, before the snow hit, we were very excited to see our first new build project in Russia taking shape. The Siberian Larch cladding is all in and the windows are being put in place. Last week all the planting was put in before the big freeze – the temperature differential is amazing – from minus 30 in winter to plus 30 in summer! Means buildings move a lot! The other fact we discovered is that there is no decent translation for the concept of ‘sustainability’. That speaks volumes. Still pleased to say that we have been able to design a building which meets UK criteria so that is a start. Watch this space….Image