Author Archives: Matt

Golders Green Town Centre Regeneration Strategy

Fluid are delighted to have won an exciting project for Barnet London Borough, the development of a comprehensive strategy for the regeneration of Golders Green Town Centre.

Aligned with Barnet’s objectives for the regeneration of their town centres, Fluid and Soundings have teamed-up to design a solid process to develop transversal vision, strategies, action plans and interventions that will make Golders Green town centre an attractive place again:

1 | Community
A place to socialise and be active

2 | Economy
A place to create, invest and grow

3 | Character
A place to shine and attract

4 | Environment
A place to last and be healthy

With its 3 iterative stages, the design process is both efficient and collaborative. Fluid and Soundings will collaborate with local bodies, the local community, and the council during the process to gain feedback on proposals. The highlight of the project is the development of both a town square and town team. This work towards ensuring that Golders Green will smartly bloom for, and with, its diverse community in the short and long-term.

Urban Re-Industrialiszation

Fluids Director Christina Norton has had a chapter published in Krzysztof Nawratek’s new book “Urban Re-industrialization”. If you are interested in the return of manufacture and making to our cities take a look at the book and Part 3, Chapter 12 – “Industri[us]: Re/Use, Re/Work, Re/Value”.

Order the book online here.

You can also learn about the project featured here.


Icon Design Trail 2017

Fluid have been selected to be part of the Icon Design Trail taking place from the 16th to the 24th of September 2017.

The City of London Corporation (CoL) is working to improve the environment and urban realm across the Culture Mile through a programme that delivers better wayfinding, new green spaces, lighting, public information and art installations. As part of this Fluid will be working with the CoL to develop a new public realm strategy, setting out how to create a series of connected places, forming a world-renowned destination that relishes its contrasts and places culture at its heart.

One of the key ambitions of this strategy is to ‘draw the inside-out’, revealing to the street the content of world-class institutions. The proposals for the Icon Design Trail will test longer-term ambitions by creating viewing boxes at key locations, to showcase photographs, images, sound, people and stories. This will help animate the area, attracting a wider audience and increasing engagement, raising awareness of the area’s history, culture, people and future opportunities.

By uncovering the everyday through photographs, text and sound, visitors will begin to understand the cultural value of the Culture Mile area from an insider perspective and how every activity, no matter how big or small, helps for a ‘Culture Mile’ collectively. As well as drawing from the archive of photographs taken through our exploration of the Culture Mile area, we hope a selection of photographs will be collated during a series of consultation events over the summer.

The installations will also work in parallel with, and showcase, the City of London’s temporary arts projects that are currently being developed, to test and inform any future proposals. Current projects include the installation ‘Joy and Peace’ by Morag Myerscough at the West Smithfield Rotunda.

Visit our exhibitors page here.

Revealing the Cultural Hub_Fluid

Culture Mile Summer Pop-ups

Fluid has been appointed by the City of London Corporation to develop a strategy that will bring together future plans for key institutions and consider wider developments taking place in the area to create a cohesive cultural and urban strategy. As part of the process, we are carrying out a series of pop-up events this summer to understand people’s journey experiences and uncover wider cultural opportunities. The pop up events will also help explain the opportunities and aspirations and test the approach.

Event dates:

Wednesday 26th July | Pop-up

8am—10am | Smithfield Market

12pm—2pm | Bartholomew Close / Cloth Fair

Thursday 27th July | Pop-up

9am—11am | Fortune Street Park

12pm—2pm | City Point

Saturday 29th July | Pop-up

11am—2pm | Barbican Podium

Tuesday 8th August | Pop-up

11am—3pm | Moor Lane Community Garden / Silk Street

Wednesday 9th August | Pop-up

12pm—2pm | Smithfield Rotunda

Wednesday 16th August | Urban Safari

6pm—8pm | Meet at Farringdon Station & join us for a walkabout – please RSVP

Thursday 24th August

11am—6pm | Smithfield Rotunda / Cromwell Pl


Building Futures 2030

As a member of its Steering Group, I have been busy curating Building Futures’ first invited workshop since the group announced its independence from the RIBA, toward the end of last year. I developed the workshop to focus on discussing trends and emerging phenomena in the areas of politics, sociology, economics, technology and the environment in order to establish a research agenda focussing on a horizon set 15-20 years from now.

The key elements of the event were two rounds of punchy, 3-minute talks from acknowledged experts and visionaries followed by intense table discussions, with each table presided over by nominated ‘scribes’ and attended by a mix of Building Futures’ members, invited speakers and special guests.

The speakers were:
Session 1

Kathryn Firth – Ex design lead for LLDC and Chair of Academy of Urbanism
Spoke on planning & governance

Anna Minton – Academic, author and researcher
Spoke on the theme of ‘who is the city for’

Carolyn Steele – Ex lecturer, author and journalist
Spoke on food production and consumption past, present and future

Alex Ely – Architect, lecturer and ex GLA officer
Spoke on demographic bubbles, the asymmetric costs of supporting the elderly and new co-housing developments by Pegasus Life

Nick Rees – Architect, founder of The Collective / developer
Spoke on delivered rental co-housing / co-working project in South Acton as model for new needs and a generation that collects experiences – not things

Session 2

Indy Johar – Founder of multiple city hubs, Architeture 00 and Darklab
Spoke on a new JCT contract rewarding building performance (not completion)

Peter Baeck – Economist, Researcher at NESTA
Spoke on second tier & user generated digital networks (linking supply / demand – skill / need)

Peter Madden – Civil servant, Chair of Future Cities Catapult
Spoke on spotting the unequally distributed future

The outcomes:

The discussions were lively and more politically poised than usual, with many reflecting on power structures (corporates, infrastructure suppliers, data companies, housing provision), and the absence of political models or systems of governance to match up to and control such entities. Artificial Intelligence was mentioned in many contexts leading to discussions on deskilling and even post-emplyment landscapes while unfettered access to digital data was cited as a force that competes with capitalism and undercuts and invades professional sanctums. The ‘have nots’ featured heavily – the young who cannot afford to live in the cities, the poor who cannot afford the housing, this resonated with the emergence of rental markets and subscription economies in place of ‘ownership’.

Housing models of many kinds were discussed, with most models known of, yet fresh results beginning to show as in the work of The Collective in bringing together co-housing, multiple social features and start-up workspace. Suggestions were made to provide ‘homespitals’ offering some degree of clinical care to allow the elderly to remain at home longer and avoid the sky-high prices of care homes. We discussed futures populated by driverless cars, micro-factory produced food, A.I. applications of all kinds, 3D printed buildings, intensified cross use class environments and localised governance bodies.
Can we spot the unequally distributed future in any of this?
Time will tell.


NATØ in the news again

NATØ is once again on everyone’s lips – but not because of Trump. We are talking about another NATO – we are talking about ‘Narrative Architecture TØday’. What is that?

On 25th January Christina was invited to the launch of Claire Jamieson’s new book on NATØ, the radical architectural group that Christina was a founder member of back in the late 80’s. I went with her to see the launch. It was held in the AA bookshop which was packed to the hilt with academics, old friends, fellow travellers, teaching acquaintances from the AA and, of-course, other founder members: Nigel Coates, Robert Mull, Mark Prizeman, Catrina Beevor, Carlos Villanueva, Martin Benson and the reclusive Peter Fleissig. The only member who could not be present was Melanie Sainsbury, who now lives in France.

The book gives a detailed account of the activities of this group and describes the emerging context of post modernist theory (literary led rather than architectural) which gives insights into the actions of the group, and their healthy disdain for authority, professional institutes and orthodoxies of all kinds. The book has brought together a wealth of material that had resided in Mark Prizeman’s attic for the past thirty years, during which time it has transformed, as the book well recommends, from refuse into valuable material; now collated through Mark’s curatorial impulses and analysed and rendered clear through Claire’s focused academic research.

It is an enjoyable and well considered book and it communicates the energy and well directed anger in a way that recalls some tracts of the Situationist International. The book and the group as a whole spoke out for another future for architecture that would elude servitude as a CAD lackey, a technician or an illustrator of probabilities generated by others; it sought out fresh pastures for inspirations and offered new ways of experiencing constructed situations and places assembled less as a solution and more, as a provocation.

The book is a triumph, though, as noted by friend and co-founder Robert Mull… “Its difficult doing history, its difficult capturing history and its difficult being history”. To paraphrase Mark Twain, the latter part of this statement may be “greatly exaggerated”. Lets hope so for the sake of the architectural profession, which needs all the intellectual support and unfettered creativity it can get.

One huge question forms itself in the mind – if this was the last radical architectural movement of the millennium as Clair says, why is that? Where have our thinkers, tinkers and enfante terribles gone? What has become of architecture, or at least a strand of it as a master of its own destiny?

Speaking of Christina’s work now, at Fluid, its clear that a number of fundamental approaches to design emanate from NATØ days – working with what you have got, celebrating a polyglot mix rather than a refined and distilled palette, crunching uses and types of space together, telling stories through buildings, connecting urban territories together in revealing ways and, above all, thinking the design exercise as leading to a shared set of experiences and to the shelter and support of all types of users and passers-by.

I look forward to seeing these approaches played out in two new City of London commissions Christina is currently leading in territories centred by the Barbican on the one hand, and the Gherkin on the other – both densely layered places historically, physically, culturally and socially that need unpicking, reconnecting and enjoying in full.

I look forward to that enjoyment.

Watch those spaces…

Building Futures new future!

Building Futures reconvened last night for the first time since becoming independent of the RIBA last year. Around 50 professionals and thinkers from across the built environment, including architects, engineers, strategic advisors, research, academic and environmental practitioners, gathered to talk about the long-term urban future of the UK. All discussions of politics, economics, and any other foreseeable social trauma that may occur within the next ten to fifteen years was firmly banned, with the world in 2030 set as the minimum horizon.

A team from Fluid and Soundings took a break from the day-to-day project and design discussions, to facilitate some (literally) sky-high thinking. We will be working with Building Futures over the next few weeks to bring these conversations together and develop new research directions for the group.

Graphic Designers Wanted

Graphic designer – full time

London EC2A (Shoreditch), United Kingdom

Main purpose of job:

Soundings is a field leader in public consultation and engagement with over 15 years’ experience creating and delivering bespoke programmes of community involvement and participation. We are looking for a graphic designer who will be responsible for working with the senior graphic designer and consultation teams in the design and production of all communication material, reports and website content in connection with all aspects of cutting edge community and stakeholder dialogue. 

Around two years’ experience will be essential and the successfull applicant will have with a strong portfolio demonstrating creative skills across branding identity, typography and visual communications. Experience in website design and coding are preferable or a strong interest in learning these skills. For examples of Soundings work and to give you an idea of our area of expertise – visit the following websites:

Graphic design tasks:

Design of communication material (this includes designing consultation tools, research reports, newsletters, posters, leaflets and exhibition boards).

Information visualisation – analysing and visualising comments and research material collected during the consultation process.

Website design – Good knowledge of CSS and WordPress

Skills required:

  • Ideally 2 years’ experience and a Graphic Design degree or equivalent 
  • Strong knowledge of Adobe Creative suite – Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Dreamweaver
  • A portfolio demonstrating a range of print and digital projects / an understanding of the print production process 
  • Good knowledge of design for HTML, CSS, Wordpress and responsive design
  • Ability to create / edit WordPress themes considering the web design template provided by the design team, including wireframes, graphic content, site navigation and content layout, in accordance with the corporate web design framework
  • Be able to follow brand guidelines, understand corporate brand standards and identity 
  • Excellent organization and time management skills
  • Must be able to work to tight deadlines and a be team player
  • Able to offer ideas and input towards the creative process
  • Close attention to detail, commitment to accuracy and quality of presentation 
  • Proficient use of English language

Added values:

  • Have an interest in place making and architecture
  • Website development and construction technical skills

Key qualities:

  • Be proactive – take initiative to add creativity to consultation projects/events
  • Be energetic and friendly – willing to engage with people
  • Deliver projects on time – be able to complete tasks on time and able to react positively to last minute changes
  • Collaborate with others – projects often involve working as part of a larger team that consist of architects, the council/developer and various other practitioners related to a development/regeneration project
  • Be flexible with time – on select occasions be willing to work over weekends or after hours at critical times


  • £26,000 + by negotiation per annum, depending on experience and skill
  • Six months probation, permanent post on offer on satifactory completion
  • 20 days annual holiday (and public holidays)

Application process

CV to Kallista Omotosho
Shortlisted applicants interview with directors
Starting date as soon as possible

Festive Greetings!

From all of us at Fluid and Soundings to all we have worked and collaborated with we wish you a happy, prosperous and special 2017, and look forward to further projects in the New Year!

Eirini Villas

Over the summer we have retrofitted the 25 year old original villa designed by Steve McAdam and Christina Norton.

This has involved external thermal and waterproof insulation to roofs and walls; new iroco windows, doors and shutters, enhancing pergolas and lighting, conversion of an old water tank into a super new room, new shower rooms and general sparkle.

We celebrate the craftsmanship, hard work and commitment of the Greek companies who delivered this in 2 1/2 months!


Fluid summer party

Fluid and Soundings finally welcomed in the summer this July with a picnic in Hoxton Square. Despite forecast concerns, the weather held out for the day, and luckily the baguettes didn’t get soggy. The team also learnt how to play Kugg which went very down well as its not too exertive and allows for trash talk and drinking between turns.

As a highly competitive bunch, we made sure that we screened our potential teammates, and did not copy each other’s moves. Overall it was a magical day of laughter and sun, bring on next year!

Wood Green Commended by NLA

Fluid and Soundings were delighted yesterday to score two significant achievements at the NLA awards lunch, which was staged at the magnificent Guildhall. There were over 600 attendees, waiting to see whether their submissions had been recognised, and all were from established, innovative and interesting practices.

Fluid were announced first, with the only commendation to be made in the ‘Masterplan & Area Strategies’ category for their ‘Wood Green Framework for Change’ project. Commenting on it, assessor Anna Strongman, a partner at Argent said “the commended scheme scored with its relatively rare acknowledgement of smaller scale interventions, and high density vision around the transport link and aim to crate a linear park and active frontages.”

Soundings were then announced as members of the winning team in the same category, as part of the Karakusevic Carson / Witherford Watson Mann team for the Hackney Wick Central masterplan. In summing up its strengths, International Jurist Monica von Schmalensee, a partner at Swedish practice White Architecture, praised the “highly developed masterplan and good analysis of the site, showing sensitivity and – with its concentration on retaining affordable workspace – an admirable recognition of the importance of industry and making.” It is especially pleasing that the retention of affordable workspaces was specifically cited as this was an area of the overall approach that Soundings led.

So – all in all a good day and a great vindication for an approach to masterplanning that works to build valued places, human scale and collaborative design.


Tottenham Green Park Nursery Café and Workspace

Fluid have been appointed by the London Borough of Haringey to develop proposals to bring back into use the disused Tottenham Green Nursery within the listed curtilage of Holy Trinity Church.

The project seeks to provide a workspace and café providing training opportunities, use its key location to enhance the historic status of the area and help support Tottenham Green as the civic and cultural heart of Tottenham.

Fluid will lead a team consisting of Alan Baxter, Anstey Horne, Engineers HRW, Thornton Reynolds and Breeze landscape architects.

Fluid are recruiting!

Fluid is a Shoreditch based architectural and urban design practice specialising in participatory processes, place making and architecture.

We are looking for a talented and highly motivated Part 2 architectural assistant or newly qualified Part 3 Architect with experience of working in an architectural practice, ideally in the housing sector.

The successful candidate will have an interest in urbanism and architecture, and will work as part of a collaborative team on the delivery of a mixed-use housing project.

Required attributes:

  • At least 2 years full-time work experience post Part 2
  • Exceptional design ability evidenced through academic or other portfolio
  • Technical expertise developed in practice and education
  • Proficiency using Archicad and BIM
  • Experience in housing design and delivery, especially in RIBA stages 2 to 4
  • Preferably experience with contract administration and on-site processes
  • Knowledge and implementation of contemporary construction details
  • Awareness of sustainability agenda
  • Clear thinking, diligent and good communication skills in both written and spoken English

Key skills:

  • Archicad and BIM proficiency
  • Excellent graphic presentation skills using Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator & Indesign)
  • 3D Sketchup, Vectorworks, Cinema 4D and Rhino
  • Microsoft Word and Excel

All applications should be submitted to and must include:

  • A cover letter (max. 250 words) stating why you wish to work for Fluid and your suitability for the role as described above along with up to 5 sheets of examples of relevant experience
  • CV including details of all professional projects and experience
  • Examples of Archicad drawings (RIBA Stages 2 to 4)
  • References

Fluid is an equal opportunities employer.