To celebrate our second year anniversary we posed a few questions to our director, James, about what's been happening at New Makers Bureau and what's to come:
It certainly wasn’t easy to start with, there was little or no work for the first six months as clients were trying to figure out what the hell was going on. But, I was privileged to be able to ride out those first months and on reflection, it was really good to have the time and space to think (without distraction) about what I really wanted the business to be and do.
Also, like many people, I realised that my pre-pandemic life wasn’t sustainable. I found a way to focus on what was truly important both in the business and in my personal life. My core values: the responsibilities that we have as architects to the environment, to get the balance right with the business so I can spend time with my family and to make sure I’m doing what I love - which is the making of buildings.
It was a time to reflect and cut through the bullshit: we have the ability to make amazing environmentally conscious architecture, so that’s what I decided to do!
The dream is to have a practice space which is a hybrid of workshop and office - where making is embedded in everything. Lots of models (as we are making now), but also larger pieces at 1:1 scale, prototypes, material tests, bits of our buildings. As well as more conceptual pieces that push our thinking and research - a bit like the brilliant BC architects or Localworks (who we’re collaborating with on the Art Centre).
We’re in a really fortunate position to have lots of projects at various stages, the ones to watch out for (that will be completed by the end of the year) are the first phase of the Arts Centre in Kampala and the Kempston School extension in Bedford, we’ve got a few smaller residential projects completing and have a scheme of six mews houses with a community café in the planning process.
Every time I read the newspaper I’m appalled by what we’re doing to our planet. There is a different way, and we have all that we need to tackle the issues now. We can’t wait for others to act - changes to legislation [in the construction industry] will not happen any time soon, and it is unlikely to be enough. So we will continue to make low carbon buildings and bring as many people with us as possible.
In the not too distant future we will become a certified B-Corp too. Helping us to measure our environmental, community and social impacts and making us accountable, so we can be judged by our actions as well as our words and buildings.