Iceland Trek

Posted by Sam

on November 15, 2017

Categories: Architecture, Iceland, Travel

I did a Trek in Iceland at the end of summer to raise money for an incredible local charity, Francis House Hospice.

After exploring the city of Reykjavic for a day and night, we flew to Egilstaðir Airport, South East Iceland. We hiked around 75km over the 5 days with ascents up to 1970ft. It was inspiring to see how the Icelandic live and their relationship with nature. Their buildings respect the environment in which they sit and look pure and simple in their form and materiality.

Icelandic Architecture draws from Scandinavian influences and, traditionally, was influenced by the lack of native trees on the island. As a result, grass- and turf-covered houses were developed.

Many high-quality stone buildings were erected in the 18th century, the very first being a mansion on Viðey, made completely out of Icelandic stone. Many Icelanders were themselves encouraged to learn the craft of masonry during the stone construction boom period, leading to the building of many stone houses which mimicked the design of Icelandic turf houses.

The original turf houses constructed by the original settlers of Iceland (from the west coast of Norway were based on Viking Longhouses (langhús).

As the 20th century dawned, Swiss chalet style architecture was brought indirectly to Iceland under Norwegian influence. Settling in the Eastern Region and Westfjords, they brought with them prefabricated houses which they then erected there. The buildings tended to be taller and with large windows, unlike anything of the styles that had prevailed in Iceland beforehand. Notable features of these buildings were the friezes above doors and windows, and eaves which projected out above the walls.



Our Studio team trip to Venice – State of Art Academy #day8 Italy

Posted by Lucy Devane

on November 9, 2017

Categories: 3D, Corona, Events, Travel, V-ray, Visualisation

Our Studio Team

Our studio had a busy start to Autumn which included a weekend away in the beautiful city of Venice at the start of October!

Sam and Nick kindly arranged for the whole studio team to take part in a weekend conference hosted by State of Art Academy.

We flew out of Manchester airport on the morning of the first day of the conference and after checking into our hotel the Double Tree Hilton, we headed straight to registration and the first part of the conference.

What is State of Art Academy #day8?

The state of Art Academy is an Architectural Visualisation school and training academy. They hold annual training conferences in Italy. The website describes the event as an opportunity for artists to “exchange views, learn from the best and keep up with growing technologies’” and the event delivered exactly that!

The whole weekend was jam packed with industry Leading experts in the field of 3D Visualisation revealing their best practice for processes and secrets to producing high quality CGI visuals showcasing aspirational projects and showreels.

Academy #day8 conference

This years theme for the event was Artist vs Machine. Speakers discussed how emerging technologies are quickly changing the way we work and (in some cases with the growth of AI systems – replacing humans). Artists were able to evaluate the role of both artist and machine in the workflow and how best to make use of the new technology available to us.

Contributors included:
• professors in the field of neuroscience exploring the science behind viewing images,
• New technologies including VR, AI and neural networks,
• discussions about how to get the most from your render engines CPU/CG rendering,
• interactive tutorials on the latest industry software updates and plugins.

It was also a great opportunity to take inspiration, tips and techniques from cutting edge studios on their creative approach to image making. As a team we could reflect on our own studio processes and felt motivated to put into practice the lessons we had learned.

In between sessions Our Studio were able to relax and mingle in the sun shine with other attendees and catch up with some old friends as well as meet some new ones.

Relaxing in the Doubletree Hilton Hotel courtyard

On our last evening the team strolled around Venice taking in the architecture and the sunset over the Canals whilst enjoying some fine Italian cuisine, wine and obligatory Limoncello!

With thanks to our very own 3D artist Owen (who has a keen eye for photography) who took some really great photos – Thanks Owen!

MIPIM – March Roundup

Posted by Lucy Devane

on March 17, 2017

Categories: Animation, Events, exhibition, Travel, Uncategorized

In case you missed it – this week saw the biggest event in the international property calendar take place in Cannes … MIPIM.

Each year in March, thousands of property professionals from all sectors of commercial, residential, and retail real estate, gather at the Palais des Festivals on the French Rivera for the four-day conference.

Our Studio have helped our clients get ready for the event by producing cgi and animations to help showcase some of Manchester’s exciting future developments such as Angel Meadows, Altair, North Central and St John’s Masterplan.

Here are just some of the projects that have attracted plenty attention over the course of the week on social media and in the press:

As well as 3D renders of proposed schemes, Our Studio produced a 3D animation fly through which was revealed in a live stream on the final day in a presentation on Manchester’s newest and eagerly awaited neighbourhood – St Johns – watch the animated fly through here

MIPIM I St John’s video released ahead of Enterprise City launch

Angel Meadows Scheme Press

Making a difference in South Africa

Posted by Sam

on January 15, 2015

Categories: Charity, Our Studio, South Africa, Travel

To finish off our year on a positive note, Our Studio made a donation to one of our favourite charities. The Gumboots Foundation (UK) is a small charity supporting projects in South Africa working to alleviate poverty. Gumboots provides avenues for people living in the UK who are interested in making a difference to the countrys future. By supporting community based projects with local leadership Gumboots helps change the life chances of some of the countrys poorest people.

The money we donated has allowed for two children living in the townships to receive private, weekend tuition for a year. This gives many of the children the opportunity to achieve the results to take them on to University. The results of this initiative have been impressive so far.

We were sent a wonderful photograph of the children saying thank you from the Sigiya Sonke Dance troupe that Gumboots supports.

2014 12 25_0151

2014 12 25_0150

If anyone would like to make a donation to the charity, please visit their just giving page

My big fat North American architectural adventure

Posted by benp

on September 21, 2012

Categories: Architecture, Art, Photography, Travel

During my recent visit to Toronto, Montreal and NYC… between eating huge amounts of food….. I couldn’t help but snap all the architecture i saw around me. This is by no means all the buildings i saw, but a selection of the ones i found most interesting. So I won’t go into detail about each one but it’s just a selection of nice pics with their name, location and architect…….enjoy!


Royal Ontario Museum - Daniel Libeskind

Royal Ontario Museum - Daniel Libeskind

Art Gallery of Ontario - Frank Gehry

Art Gallery of Ontario - Frank Gehry

Art Gallery of Ontario - Frank Gehry

Art Gallery of Ontario - Frank Gehry

Art Gallery of Ontario - Frank Gehry

Ontario College of Art and Design - Alsop Architects

Ontario College of Art and Design - Alsop Architects



Habitat '67 - Moshe Safdie

Habitat '67 - Moshe Safdie

Expo '67 Geodesic Dome - Richard Buckminster Fuller

1976 Olympic Stadium Montreal - Roger Taillibert

New York, USA

Guggenheim NYC - Frank Lloyd Wright

Guggenheim NYC - Frank Lloyd Wright

Guggenheim NYC - Frank Lloyd Wright

Beekman Tower - Frank Gehry

4 World Trade Centre - Richard Rogers + Fumihiko Maki

The Highline NYC - various inc - James Corner Field Operations_Diller Scofidio + Renfro

The Highline NYC - various inc - James Corner Field Operations_Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Highline 23 - Denari Architects

New Museum of Contemporary Art - SANAA


Visit to Liliesleaf in South Africa

Posted by sam

on February 29, 2012

Categories: Architecture, Travel

When in South Africa recently, I visited the Liliesleaf Learning Centre & Heritage Precinct.
Our Studio met Mashabane Rose at The World Architecture Festival in 2009 who were nominated for their work on the project under Culture: Existing Buildings.

Liliesleaf is a place I’ve always intended to visit after meeting with the talented and sensitive architectural practice; and also being South African, it has a significant place in the important history of my country.

The trip out and whole Liliesleaf experience was thoroughly enjoyable and worthwhile. Mashabane Rose have done an excellent job at creating modern architecture whilst preserving the Historical structures and activities which took place on the site. One can enjoy the landscape and tranquil setting whilst going back in time taking in the story and events leading up to the Liliesleaf raid in 1963.

The existing Manor House and Out buildings, including the Thatched cottage has been sensitively restored and reconstructed where necessary. Spaces with previously dedicated purposes and known significance are interpreted and returned to their state at the time of the 1963 police raid which led to Nelson Mandela serving 27 years on Robin Island.

The Struggle Library Research and Archive Centre is a concrete structure with brick work that matches the historical outbuildings. Large glazed panels offer the public areas and offices views across the gardens and the historical structures. Formed out of dry stacked ‘African’ stone walling and enclosed by glass and timber screens. An amphitheatre in the grounds provides a place for groups to listen to trained guides relating the story of the site. Stepped terraces nestle the scheme into the suburban neighbourhood with minimal impact.

Mashabane Rose have clearly taken care to ensure that the essence, spirit and soul that Liliesleaf Farm embodies is maintained for current and future generations.