The South West's finest architects to create designs for Watchet
Rachel, Piers, Jess and Georgie
We are thrilled to announce the appointment of two of the finest architects in the South West to create concept drawings for the first stage of our Watchet regeneration project. Invisible Studio, Piers Taylor (familiar to many as presenter on BBC2’s ‘The House that £100k Built’) and local architect and specialist in sensitive, heritage design Louise Crossman Architects.
The architects will help to envision the first two of four schemes proposed for Watchet by Onion Collective, following months of consultations within the town. Invisible Studio will create masterplanning drawings that include all four proposed schemes, as well as concept drawings for a culture and enterprise development proposal for East Quay and Louise Crossman will create designs for an enhanced boat museum and visitor centre.
The current vision for the East Quay development proposal is for a lively workspace development of small flexible workshops, makerspace and studios providing visitors with the chance to see and visit makers at work. Together with a bijou, but high quality gallery and harbourside restaurant or cafe, all within a performance orientated public space setting. This development would aim to complement the marina and the marine industries workspace.
Invisible Studio, appointed to create concept drawings for this vision is an innovative and award winning architectural practice founded by Piers Taylor, who is a Chartered Architect, a former Studio Master at the Architectural Association, a founding director at Mitchell Taylor Workshop and a presenter on the BBC2 programme ‘The House That £100k Built’. Invisible Studio aims to be different from a conventional architecture practice. Collaboration between users, makers and clients is used as part of the design process to create unusual, delightful and intelligent buildings that are both considered and exceptional. Their portfolio ranges from ecologically sensitive self builds, to schools and public buildings which have won international acclaim. Low cost building is key to their ethos, believing that exceptional design is not a luxury add on but a process of intelligent thinking. They have extensive experience at working with people in local communities on a large number innovative buildings and regeneration projects. They designed the renowned Art Studio ‘Room 13’ in Bristol that was designed with primary school children and which Nicholas Serota called ‘The most important model for art education today’, and worked on the rebuild and redesign of post-earthquake Christchurch in New Zealand.
Piers Taylor says: “I’m thrilled to be working with Onion Collective at Watchet, where there is an extraordinary opportunity to work with the local community on what will be an amazing project in an amazing place. There’s an extraordinarily rich context in Watchet, and I’m looking forward to immersing myself in this, and helping produce architecture that will enhance this fascinating place.”
Jess Prendergast says: "We are extremely excited to be working with Invisible Studio, they represent a new wave of young architectural practices where collaboration with the communities in which they are working is at the fore, together with a belief that low cost design and local materials can produce elegant and iconic architecture that will really put Watchet on the map."
The vision for the Boat Museum is for a modernised but authentic boat museum that clearly signals the maritime heritage of the town. The development would attract visitors arriving both by road and rail and also serve to draw people to the top end of Swain Street and improve the 'flow' of people around the town. There would also be the potential for co-location of civic and tourist information space.
Louise Crossman Architects, appointed to create designs for an enhanced boat museum is an award winning RIBA Chartered Practice with a reputation for sensitive, innovative and cost effective designs. Established for twenty five years, and based in Withycombe, Somerset, the practice has extensive experience of the challenges associated with historic and listed buildings, and the specific requirements of working within National Parks and conservation areas. Louise has been appointed specifically to create designs that celebrate and enhance the current boat museum building, which was originally designed by Brunel, this is an appointment that plays to her specific expertise of contemporising buildings that have heritage significance.
Louise Crossman says:
“It is a compliment to be asked to work with the Onion Collective to contribute to the imagination and energy they are bringing to their proposals for Watchet and West Somerset. We are looking forward to progressing proposals for the Tourist Information Centre and Boat Museum building upon the hidden gems already there.”
Rachel Kelly says:
"Using local expertise is really important to Onion Collective, much of what we aim to achieve is about celebrating the depth and breadth of exceptional skills in West Somerset, and to have an architect of Louise’s calibre within a 5 mile radius is wonderful. Creating sensitive contemporary additions to historic buildings is a particular forte of hers, and so we are really excited to work with her on enhancing the Brunel designed building that houses the much loved Watchet boat museum."
It is important to add that it is Onion Collective’s intention to also progress the two other proposed schemes for Watchet; the Community Centre project and the Coastal Walkways project within a phased timeline. This will allow for each project to be considered with proper business planning and for appropriate funding streams to be identified. Essentially, we can’t do everything at once, but that by starting with the two projects that are perhaps the most jobs and visitor orientated, regeneration for Watchet can begin, and with designs by two of the most exciting architect practices in the country, this is an exciting time for West Somerset.
To find out more about the proposed schemes for Watchet by clicking here