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Spotlight on the architects: FCBS

Ahead of the final round of judging for the Gallery's first Pavilion competition, we're finding out a bit more about the four shortlisted practices. In the second of our 'spotlight on the architects' posts, we hear from Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios.

How would you describe the ethos of your practice?
Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios is a large practice but its commitment to social and humanistic values often belies that size. We work in small design led teams, focused on sustainability, progressive design, making and collaboration.

FCBS have been incredibly supportive of us as a young team working on small community oriented projects that have piqued our interest. They are projects that resonate well with the practice’s core values and FCBS’s support for them is a fantastic endorsement of the practice culture.

Image: The Observatory, Winchester, © Matt Dunkinson for SPUD

What attracted you to the pavilion competition at Dulwich Picture Gallery?
We love working with interesting and passionate clients on small projects where there is real opportunity to bring playfulness and creativity to our architecture. We also enjoy working with arts and culture institutions. We believe that art
has the potential to enrich every part of society, and in 1817 the Dulwich Picture Gallery became the fountainhead for broadening the influence of that enrichment.

Working alongside the world’s first purpose built public art gallery and with the London Festival of Architecture, an organisation focused on public engagement is clearly an enticing opportunity for us. Working to further broaden access to that gallery with an engaging and flexible new space, would be an incredible privilege.

Are you able to share any of your initial thoughts for the design? E.g. where your inspiration may come from.
Our proposal explores memory, nature, fractals and light; drawing inspiration from Sir John Soane and the Dulwich Picture Gallery’s kaleidoscopic collection.

Working with the LFA 2017 theme ‘Memory’ our design for the pavilion traces and repurposes parts of the Dulwich Picture Gallery’s rich history. Scale is relative and unfixed, light and movement play with perception. It is a familiar space seen in a curious new way. We’re also drawing on Thomas Duggan’s considerable experience working with scientifically crafted natural materials, to develop an envelope that responds to and alters natural light; a reimagining of Sir John Soane’s signature theme 200 years on.

Can you tell us more about the architects involved with the competition?
The FCBS team is comprised of Ross Galtress, Chris Allen and Charlotte Knight, a young and ambitious collective working within a supportive practice. The team have worked together on two hugely successful temporary structures: The Observatory, an award winning and Stephen Lawrence Prize shortlisted, mobile and rotating artists’ studio; and Pea Soup House, a colourful community hub, widely publicised for innovatively raising awareness of London’s air pollution.

Their knowledge and interests focus around environmental and social sustainability; historic buildings; handcrafted architecture; material research; collaboration; consultation and teaching. For the Dulwich Pavilion project they are collaborating with Nathan Gilling from Expedition Engineering and artist Thomas Duggan.

Ross Galtress joined FCBS in 2013. He has led a number of projects 
at the Jodrell Bank Observatory near Macclesfield, which have provided him with excellent experience in all aspects of delivering small scale, public culture and education projects, from briefing to handover. Ross is passionate about delivering environmentally conscious buildings that work hard for their users, much like the Dulwich Picture Gallery.

Charlotte Knight is an architectural assistant at FCBS who has professional experience in residential, commercial and mixed use urban design. However, her core passions focus on small-scale self-generated projects that engage and unite communities through architecture and events. 

Chris Allen joined FCBS in 2008. His experience is with public and social buildings, working across the education, healthcare, arts and culture sectors, often with existing buildings. Chris has specific interests in briefing, consultation, co-design, making and constructing at all scales. Since 2012 Chris has worked with the Southbank Centre on the rejuvenation of the 1960s brutalist arts complex of the Queen Elizabeth Hall and Hayward Gallery. 

Nathan Gilling has worked on a wide variety of building structures across the spectrum of construction material. Nathan has a keen eye for aesthetics developing solutions and providing details that are both buildable and economic. He has an interest in parametric design and the use of software
to produce repetitive but variable forms.

Thomas Duggan is an artist who has a love of nature. His work chronicles explorations into design, sculpture, site-specific installations, engineering, architecture, material science and research. He studied at Central St. Martins, London, UDK, Berlin and TUFTS, USA. Thomas is passionate about reconnecting people with the natural environment through design, bioengineering architecture and sustainability. 

You can find out more about the competition here. The winning practice will be announced at the end of January.