Impact – Practice
Bushey Cemetery, opened over 50 years ago, is among the UK's most significant Jewish cemeteries. Faced with the current graveyard being at capacity, an extension was needed to ensure the cemetery would continue to serve the community, increasing the capacity of the site from 43,000 to 60,000 graves, along with two new simple yet striking prayer halls.
Mindful of the cemetery’s location on 16 acres of green-belt land, the new buildings are set within a low corner of the expanded site, nestled within an impressive gathering of old trees which provide an appropriate backdrop to the burial grounds and let the project to disappear within its surroundings.
Materials are used impactfully and with structural clarity. The rammed earth walls reflect the makers’ craft in building them, utilising earth from the site via an ancient, sustainable and durable building method. Timber is used extensively and sustainably, with glulam larch in the colonnade and English Oak throughout the interior.
Echoing the return to earth of the body, once all the new graves have been taken and the halls are no longer needed, the structures above ground have been carefully specified to be demounted and recycled. The rammed earth walls can return to the ground from which they came from, a fitting parallel to the human condition.
At Ivydale School, CLT has been used throughout, instead of the traditional steel frame and precast concrete planks. The capacity to 4 Form Entry was doubled by providing a new building for Key Stage 2 on a site nearby the existing school - a new two storey CLT framed new build primary school. To ensure the best result, workshops were held with the key stakeholders, including the children who would be using this new space.
The classrooms are arranged in clusters of four-year bases arranged around the central hall. At the heart of the school is a double height, natural light filled atrium space acting as an informal performance space, with tiered seating integrated into the main feature stair.
The landscape changes meant more valuable external play spaces right next to the new school buildings. A multi-use amphitheatre within the centre of the school provides outdoor space to organise performances and encourage children to play and interact outside, in a natural environment.
In addition to the environmental benefits it brings, timber was used extensively thanks to its proven positive impacts in a learning environment. Research has shown that it lowers children’s heartrate, contributing to their overall wellbeing and ability to learn.
The Ivydale School project is a great example of how educational infrastructure can create positive impact both for the environment and for those using the space.
The Rotherhithe Bridge is an innovative design produced in collaboration with reFrom Architects for the longest bascule opening bridge in the world. The pedestrian and cycle bridge will provide a much-needed link over the River Thames between the Canary Wharf and Rotherhithe areas, making sustainable transport a feasible and attractive option for thousands of London commuters.
In collaboration with Sustrans, we published a feasibility study back in 2015 proving that the bridge would cut commuting times, relieve congestion on other parts of the transport network, reduce overall pollution and connect those living in Rotherhithe with better public transport options. Extensive consultation has taken place with the relevant public authorities to develop a cost-effective adaptable scheme, currently under discussion.