Inspire! recently celebrated the opening of their newly refurbished school and offices in Dalston, and kindly invited us to the party. The evening was a great celebration of all of the hard work put in by the volunteers and students alike. Meg Hillier, MP for Hackney South & Shoreditch, unveiled the shiny new plaque and spoke highly of Inspire!’s positive role in the lives of many young people in Hackney. Music performances by current students and personal stories from former students were some of the highlights of the evening.
We were delighted to play a part in the redesign of Inspire!’s new home in Dalston. The brief involved reconfiguring the existing space to bring natural light into the deep floor plan, whilst creating flexible spaces for the students including performance areas and their own music studio. Alongside this, a separate open plan office for the charity and classroom space was required, as well as a refurb of the kitchen and WCs.
It’s been great fun working with the team at Inspire!, and we look forward to continuing to work with them. Do please give their website a visit if you’d like to know more about what they do, and if you can be a host to one of their workplace visits or offer a work experience placement, that would be absolutely fantastic.
Paul and Emily joined the classes of Year 6 at Westbury-on-Trym CofE Academy in Bristol to teach a lesson on bridges. We asked the students to look at truss bridges and design their own to bridge the playground from the classroom block to the main school, building a 1:50 scale model using lollipop sticks, then put to the test of holding the weight of an apple (or 3). We were thrilled with the results, an array of colourful (some St Patrick’s Day themed) truss bridges put forwards by the students – check out our favourites below!
Bright eyed and bushy tailed both the London and the Suffolk teams embarked on a field trip to Chesham, Hertforshire, to check out the HG Matthews brick yard, where they have been making both traditional hand and machine made bricks since 1923. They were kind enough to give us a tour of their site and accompanied by some pretty ace dogs, they showed us the clay dig, the 100 year old machinery, the kilns, the balmy drying rooms and lofty brick stores. Did you know the colour of a brick is determined by the temperature it is fired at? The hotter the temperature, the darker the brick.
We also checked out their straw and clay internal wall blocks which are completely carbon neutral – looking forward to specifying those! Thanks to Jim and Will and the whole team at HG Matthews for an amazing day, you have raised our love of bricks to a new level.
Colour variation of bricks within a kiln
All lined up staring into the kilns
Paul sorting the hand-made from the machine-made bricks
In the run up to Christmas this year, we donned our most festive baking hats to compete in this year’s Gingerbread City, put on by The Museum of Architecture.
16,000 people went to see and smell the delights at the exhibition, where over 60 architects submitted their gingerbread creations. No Hansel or Gretel in sight, our gingerbread building was a mixed use development complete with external gelatin pool, polo rubber rings and sugar glass chapel. The candy crane moving the last pieces into place was a firm favourite and got a mention in the Telegraph.
All 16,000 visitors cast their vote and we were delighted to have achieved a top five finish out of 60 firms that entered: