Jo treasures Blackheath Village Day

Added on by Jo Townshend.

We architects are fascinated by community and how it is created and nurtured.  The failure of many of the social housing experiments of the last century, some providing all the necessary tick box elements to create decent places for people to live, work and play demonstrated that this is not necessarily enough to provide the necessary social cohesion and specialness of place that makes a real community and is ultimately so difficult to define and achieve.

We are so lucky here in Blackheath to have a beautiful, historic village centre, great local shops, wonderful green open spaces, good transport links, great housing and streets, art institutions to make it a great place to live and to help create a strong identity providing all the good foundations for a sense of place and community.   Events like Blackheath Village Day bring people together to celebrate all of this and like a reconstructive memory help to nurture and cement that sense of community.   Without such events it could be so easy for that special feeling to wither away.

On a more personal note, what a privilege to have an opportunity to work with talented artists, musicians, chefs, operations and marketing managers from The Blackheath Halls and The Conservatoire.  Working outside of our usual bubble of the construction industry in this way keeps us creative, light-footed and flexible, open to new ideas and ways of thinking and operating.   It gives us an opportunity to reflect upon our own sector and practice.

Staircase Design

Added on by Jo Townshend.

We'r looking forward to this replacement handrail and balustrade being installed over the next few weeks into one of our west London projects - Phil Ryan will be installing it - Good luck Phil!

Celebrating the Autumnal Change

Added on by Jo Townshend.

It was another classic JTA day out (we were finally allowed this year!) criss crossing London on foot and the Thames Clipper which was well accompanied with drinks and curry. The day crescendoed into an intensely fought battle of darts between Max and Aaron and a snooze on the tube.

We were celebrating Max's exciting new move toward becoming a freelance designer. We also celebrated Joe's new Associate role, Andy Hedger becoming a new member of the team and wishing Aaron the best of luck as he moves with his girlfriend to Dublin.

Programs and critical paths

Added on by Jo Townshend.

Here's a critical path diagram we've developed in Excel. It's not complicated but we like it, we use it to program in our work stages but this Youtube clip is showing how a contractor could use it on a small job in order for us to track their progress. Let us know if you want a copy of the file.

Grove Hall Court - Coming together

Added on by Jo Townshend.

Our interiors project in west London mansion block is coming together rapidly with some fantastic workmanship from Martin, the joiner, and Sed, the metalworker. We're very proud of it and can see the big unveiling rapidly heading towards us. And it is lovely to see the original marble restored too.

Sophia Awaritefe - Work Experience

Added on by Jo Townshend.

Sophia Awaritefe

Work experience with JTA

It’s been an informative and eventful week with the JTA team. An eye opening experience at what could potentially be my future. I feel as though I have gained a great amount of knowledge about architecture, but I still have a long way to go. I have learnt many useful things this week like, what plans and sections are and how to draw them, how to use CAD programs like ‘SketchUp’ to make a 3D model of your drawings and ideas and I’ve even discovered this new thing called Pintrest.

 I must admit there have been one or two experiences that made me think of reconsidering a career in architecture like lengthy meetings and spending long amounts of time on your feet. But work can’t always be fun, sometimes it’s about getting things done to the best of your ability, and the JTA Team have helped me learn that this week.

Anyway, I just want to say thank you and show my gratitude to the group of people who, over the past 5 days, have given me the knowledge I need to make important decisions in the future. Thank you to Jo, Joe, George, Max, Louise and Frankie, It’s been a pleasure working with you all. Unfortunately you have all failed in your mission to deter me from becoming an architect, sorry.

JTA Going Underground

Added on by Jo Townshend.
I do enjoy the underground stations at St John's Wood and Swiss Cottage. There are some beautiful details which are well worth a visit.  Above is a possible rebranding exercise based on the text embossed onto the tiles at platform level - lovely stuff!

I do enjoy the underground stations at St John's Wood and Swiss Cottage. There are some beautiful details which are well worth a visit.

Above is a possible rebranding exercise based on the text embossed onto the tiles at platform level - lovely stuff!

Come and Join Us - JTA in search of someone to join our team

Added on by Jo Townshend.

We are looking for Part 1 or 2 with good experience of working in practice.

Your role will include assisting with: 
·      Preparation of concept designs for client approval
·      Preparation and submission of planning applications
·      Preparation and submission of building control applications
·      Production of technical drawing packages
Skills required: 
·      Excellent written and spoken English
·      Good working knowledge of Vectorworks
·      3D modelling skills
·      Good visual and aesthetic sense
·      Experience of planning and building control applications
·      Experience of construction detailing
·      Experience of Contract Administration of JCT standard form of contracts
Interpersonal skills required:
·      self motivated and dynamic
·      team player
·      good communicator
·      critical attention to detail and able to take responsibility for own work
·      efficient and able to work to deadlines
·      good time management skills 

Please email application including a CV and some examples of work from previous practices to  

Application deadline June 29th.




LFA 2016 - Panel Discussion - Tickets on sale

Added on by Jo Townshend.

As a part of the 2016 London Festival of Architecture #LFA2016 a great panel of guests are going to be discussing current issues and future visions for their positions within their own Cultural Communities.

BUY TICKETS HERE.... £10/£5 Students including FREE glass of wine!

The event will be chaired by Shumi Bose; architectural critic, historian and tutor at Central St Martins who is Co-curating the British Pavilion for the 2016 Venice Biennale of Architecture. 

Guest speakers include:

Robert Mull - Architect and Former Director and Dean of CASS school of Arts and Architecture
Nicholas Lobo Brennan - Architect - Apparata
Hannah Barry - Founder - Bold Tendancies
Kate Whitley - Artistic Director of Multi Storey Orchestra
Christopher Stark - Conductor, Multi Storey Orchestra
Rose Ballantyne - Community Engagement Manager, Blackheath Halls

Built By Seb

Added on by Jo Townshend.

Seb Hipperson has been busy fabricating the balustrading and handrails for the refurbishment of Grove Hall Court at his workshop in Clapton. The material is mild steel which has been patinated to produce a bronzed effect. It is a pleasure to work directly with craftsmen and understand the methods they use to make reality our designs. 

Retrofitting Traditional Buildings Principals & Practice CPD

Added on by Jo Townshend.

A day long CPD from the Green Register covering the issues around upgrading the energy efficiency of existing buildings. Nick Heath of NDM Heath Ltd talked insightfully through a broad range of issues beginning with the large amount of wiggle room in the legislation and guidance documents to the unintended consequences of putting advice into practice.

Along the way revelations such as how inaccurately we calculate insulate values for our various build ups and the ills of "moisture closed" insulations when used improperly. The talk drew on a large  research base from institutions such as UCL and Historic Scotland as well as practices such as Prewett Bizley's research into their built projects, monitored post occupancy to assess energy levels. Projects such as the 80% house in Hackney using a range of insulations and technologies to ensure that the goal of 80% energy reductions could be realised. 

The risks around moisture build up from poorly insulated designs and lack of ventilation to carry away this build up were highlighted with in some cases structural timbers being allowed to rot away in walls unchecked.

In summary the advice was around insulation was to do a little right rather than a lot in patches and the big difference even small details like insulating window reveals would make to the longevity of a design.

Steel and Joinery Interface Detail

Added on by Jo Townshend.

Now that work is on site for the refurbishment of an early 20th Century block of flats in west London, we are finalising details with the steel fabricators and joiners. Here is one of the methods we've been using to articulate our ideas; building a 3d model in Vectorworks is relatively quick and conveys the idea well.

We dig Doug digging his own dugout

Added on by Jo Townshend.

Doug, a recently retired head teacher of Gallions Mount Primary School, has taken our design to extend the basement of his flat in Blackheath and is nearly half way through the build. It is an ambitious project which began as a replacement conservatory. The project grew in scope and now includes extending an existing basement room to form an enlarged lower ground floor living space and kitchen. The design also includes a replacement conservatory to the front and side extension with new side entrance and staircase connecting the two levels.

Anthropological Architecture

Added on by Jo Townshend.

Section through a cast iron soil vent pipe at The Keep, Blackheath. You can clearly see the change in diet starting in 1957 when the scheme was completed, through to the current day, much like the rings on a tree. 150mm diameter pipe reduce to approx 50mm.

Antrim Grove - Steelwork Installation

Added on by Jo Townshend.

The majority of the steelwork has been installed for the new penthouse to Antrim Grove. A truck with a 30m reach Hi Ab attached was used to lift the steels up to the roof and a team of steel installers will take around 5 days to install the entire structure. We expect a flurry of work to keep us busy on this project for the remainder of this year as the build (fingers crossed) goes into hyper speed.

Antrim Grove - Structural Works

Added on by Joe Swift.

At Antrim Grove the column to ground floor of the block of flats has been removed to allow an extra car parking space. To remove it the building had to be temporarily propped up with the permanent works and hydraulic jacks; a smooth and collaborative process.

What does Blackheath mean to you?

Added on by Jo Townshend.

JTA invites you to contribute to our Map of Blackheath!

Please send photos, memories, recordings, objects, drawings, ideas, etc.

Your contributions will be exhibited at our event on the rooftop of 1 Cresswell Park


We have been mapping as well, picking out our favourite elements of Blackheath, and invite you to discover them on an Architectural Treasure Hunt around Blackheath on June 20th, 10 am to 6 pm


Get in touch:


Twitter: @TownshendJo


Telephone: 020 8318 3434

Mail: 1 Cresswell Park, SE3 9RD