Stephen Bayley, Journalist & Design Critic
“the problems of structure have long since been solved and the essential discipline of architecture has become the management of resources. BBM Sustainable Design is one of the interesting new practices which make this a priority. With modesty and economy and intelligence they adapt existing buildings to new realities. They design new buildings which work with the environment not against it. Houses used to be machines for living in. Now they are organisms for living with. Altogether more wholesome.”
Kevin McCloud On the rebuild of The House That Kevin Built
“We’re enormously fortunate that here in Brighton the house will be rebuilt, thanks to the involvement of the pioneering local architect who designed the house, Duncan Baker-Brown. The project is exploring ways to build and live sustainably, and is planning that our school children, apprentices, students and community groups will all get a chance to join in.”
“First of all, I just want to say how very pleased we are to get the permissions. I am convinced it was the quality of the design and the thinking behind it in terms of the way it sits with the environment that won over the planning department.”
Fr Richard Biggerstaff
Saint Pancras Church Annexe, Lewes
11th August 2010
“BBM’s design for our new annexe to St Pancras Church has greatly enhanced our church building and our community life. The design created an impressive new entrance and an upper and lower hall. The sensitive design complements the church but has its own distinction. It is, as it were, an architectural bridge between a church built in the 1930s and a house built in the 1860s. BBM impressed us with their ideas and captured our imagination from the beginning. We worked easily with them to refine our brief and found them accommodating and challenging. Their commitment to us was consistent and unstinting. In July our building was highly commended by the Sussex Heritage Trust. We would heartily commend the work and expertise of BBM.”
Cllr. Jay Kramer
The Bridge Community Centre, Hastings
26th July 2010
“BBM designed the Bridge Community Centre, Hastings, East Sussex which was completed at the end of 2005. It is a fully accessible, environmentally sound flagship building which is located in one of the most deprived wards in Hastings and the South East. BBM worked extremely well with community representatives as well as the funders (English Partnerships at the time, now Homes & Communities Agency; Surestart and European Partners) and statutory agencies such as local training providers and Hastings Borough Council. BBM also responded well to changes in the design as the Project progressed and some savings had to be made.”
Steve Humphreys, Manager, Romney Marsh Visitor Centre
Romney Marsh Visitor Centre, near New Romney, Kent
“Romney Marsh Visitor Centre opened in September 2004 and since then the building has been run by Kent Wildlife Trust.
It is a timber framed building with in-filled walls consisting of straw bales.
The charitable trust which commissioned the build required a sustainable construction involving locally sourced materials. Given the limited budget, the visitor centre has more than lived up to expectations.
With heat provided by a wood burning stove and the thermal insulating properties of the straw bales, heating costs are virtually nil with wood being supplied from coppicing activities on our reserves.
The use of natural materials throughout gives the building a remarkably pleasant atmosphere and this is frequently commented on by our visitors.
The design fully serves the original functions of the building, providing a flexible space for visitors including shop, tourist information and café.
Without doubt, despite the fact that it is situated in 23 acres of nature reserve, the building itself is a draw for visitors and in 2007 was runner up in BBC Radio Kent’s favourite building voted for by listeners. Five buildings in Kent were selected by the Royal Institute of British Architects, all of them chosen for their architectural merit.
On a personal note I can say that having been here for 5 years it is a wonderful building within which to work. ”
Peter Mitchell, Chairman Beechwood Hall Trustees, 2004/09
Hamsey Village Hall, Cooksbridge, East Sussex
“The new village hall at Hamsey was completed in four years from the writing of the business plan, to the raising of the funds and the completion of the building. We were fortunate when we chose BBM to draw up the plans and to project manage the building programme. We were determined to use sustainable energy and materials. BBM brought considerable experience and expertise to the project. They have ensured that the building is an outstanding example of how sustainability can underpin a community building. The local Rural Community Council (Airs) use the building for their meetings. They have also held seminars on sustainable village halls for other villages in the region. South East Region Development Association also use the building for similar purposes. The building has now been open for two years. It is very successful and greatly appreciated by the community.
None of this would have been possible without BBM’s involvement. I personally worked closely with their architect throughout the project. His liaison with the trustees and the contractor was always excellently organised. Trust was built between all the parties and the actual building programme went very smoothly. I was particularly impressed with the way the inevitable minor changes to the plans were dealt with. Relations between the three parties remained very positive throughout the project.
I have no hesitation in recommending BBM as a firm experienced in working on community buildings. They must take a good deal of the credit for the success of Beechwood Hall, the village hall for the parish of Hamsey. ”
Clive Taylor, Physical Regeneration Manager, Sea Space
Creative Media Services Building, Hastings
“In 2003 Hastings and Bexhill Renaissance Ltd (t/a Sea Space) appointed BBM Sustainable Design as designers of its proposed new Creative Media Centre in Hastings town centre.
Sea Space’s remit was to deliver economic regeneration in Hastings and Bexhill using funding initially provided by Central Government through the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA). As part of its programme of Physical Regeneration, Sea Space wished to create business space in the town centre which would be attractive to the Creative sector. For this purpose it had acquired three Victorian period buildings in a terrace. As this was Sea Space’s first build project and thus of relatively high profile for the new organisation at the time, Sea Space sought a designer who could within tightly defined cost parameters design an eye catching building incorporating sustainable features that sat comfortably with the existing streetscape which was also part of a conservation area.
BBM Sustainable Design was selected in competitive tender to fulfil this brief. They have succeeded in producing a design which had both satisfied the concerns of the local planners and produced a building that local people take notice of. At the same time they have generated a pleasant business environment which provides the level of flexibility required by Sea Space and is well liked by those who occupy it. Presently three years into its operation the Centre is 85% occupied which indicates a good level of satisfaction from the tenants.
Sea Space is very happy with its choice of architect for this challenging project and has no hesitation in recommending them to other potential clients.”
106 Prince Edwards Road, Lewes
28th January 2013
“I have known Duncan Baker-Brown for over 12 years and he and his practice designed two extensions on our last house near Alfriston. The second of these, which was partially underground, was particularly successful in its use of light and space.
We are now nearing the end of construction of a new house in Lewes, designed by BBM. We are living in it although it is not yet finished.
It is a modern design, significantly larger than the bungalow that it replaced, bounding on a conservation area and in a quite dominant position when viewed from the South. I believe that it is the quality and integrity of the design that enabled us to win planning consent from Lewes District Council with virtually no objection. BBM managed the planning application with me carrying out a neighbour consultation (vital, that!).
We are extremely pleased with the design and quality of the house. It is a relatively complex siting and design (built into a slope and incorporating heat recovery ventilation, integrated photovoltaic & solar thermal roof and so forth). BBM have been assiduous in their attention during the build phase in supervising a building contractor chosen by us.
I have no hesitation in recommending BBM. If your clients would like to talk to me I would be happy to discuss our experience with them. If they would like to visit the house, they would be welcome. ”
David and Sue Simpson
Field House, Upper Dicker
8th July 2015
“We have no hesitation in recommending BBM Sustainable Design.
We have a traditional Sussex cottage which was in need of total internal renovation; and we wanted an extension to be our main living area – rather along the lines of a farmhouse kitchen which would be the hub of our home.
Duncan Baker-Brown and his team translated our ideas into a built reality that exceeded all our expectations. The internal makeover of the existing building retains its original charm and the extension, where we spend most of our time indoors, is a lovely mix of new and old. All through the design and build period our relationship with BBM was relaxed and constructive; and BBM’s project management in the build phase was rigorous.
Chalmers and Co. were chosen as the building contractor especially as they have a firm grounding in ‘green’ building practice – the works included solar water heating, photovoltaic electricity generation and a biomass boiler. It is a tribute to James Chalmers’s organisational skills that materials arrived perfectly in time for when they were needed. All the work was completed on time.
In addition to Duncan’s architectural expertise and project management, we really appreciated his input regarding wall colour, having skylights in the extension and recommending a brilliant wood burning stove. His and James Chalmers’s work have made Field House into a home that we love. ”
Eton Cottage, Compton, West Sussex
15th July 2015
“Thoughtful, meticulous, engaging, sustainability-driven architectural practice. And you (Ian McKay) were particularly engaged/brilliant!”