Keep calm, carry on and focus…

This year’s Development News magazine has chosen project Early Learning Village in Singapore as the Foreign Building of the Year, the creative design of the British studio Bogle Architects.

The architectural and design studio, founded in 2012 by Ian Bogle, is receiving awards worldwide. The team consists of a highly creative group of individuals sharing a common desire to design and build progressive, imaginative and innovative architecture. They work outside the studios in London and Prague and has another office in Hong Kong. He works in a wide range of prestigious domestic and international projects. The main philosophy of Bogle Architects is simple design solutions that solve the complexity of any project. The philosophy of practice is based on clarity of thought, broad involvement and the process of design collaboration in order to achieve a common goal.

We talked to the owner of the company, Ian Bogle, about the feelings from the award Stavba roku 2020.

What was your feeling to know that you became a winner of Czech prestige competition Stavba roku? How do you value that price and what does it mean for your international company?

 It is always nice to win any award as recognition by your peers is the best kind of appreciation. We’re now active in over 20 countries around the world so international recognition is very rewarding. 

Early Learning Village, Singapore – the project which got also the price of Development news. What is specific about this project? Who stands behind, and how would you introduce the project?

The building is a ‘one of a kind’ as a project on this scale, for early years’ children, has never been undertaken before. We had to go back to first principles of how to organize the circulation and way the building would work. This lead to placing the youngest children at the top, slightly counter intuitively, and the oldest at the lowest floors to minimise travel within the building. The articulation of the building’s form was driven directly out of the need for shading and for external play space off every single classroom. The ETFE canopies allow for weather protection all year around as while it is always hot in Singapore it also rains a lot!


The year 2020 is very specific due to the pandemic. How does that unusual situation affect the company, and how further impact do you see for whole real estate market in the countries you are active at?

It has certainly impacted on the amount of international travelling we would normally do as a business. The difficulties for designers working remotely is the fact that it’s not ideal for inspiration and the spark of creativity that happens sitting around a table. Sure, remote working has its place but it certainly not the future for designers who need to collaborate face to face – and not over the computer! We’ve seen the impact on sectors we didn’t expect particularly international schools where the uncertainty of the yearly intake has had an impact on decision making. We’ve also seen the life sciences sector increase in popularity and indeed there are covid testing and investigations going on in one of our buildings at the Oxford Science Park. 

What another project would you like to mention? What are you working on at the moment? Are your current projects affected by the pandemic crisis and how?

From our London studio, we’ve currently just completed a residential tower in Bogota, Colombia, nearly finished another ground-breaking school in Dubai, UAE and finishing off some student accommodation in Porto, Portugal. We also have some interesting residential projects in London, designing some unique projects in Saudi Arabia and recently added a really cool project in France to our portfolio. I’ll let Viktorie describe what we’re doing from our Prague studio.

What is your personal motto when it comes to your business activities?

Keep calm, carry on and focus … oh, and never give up trying to improve!

Kristina Vacková / Foto: © Infinitude

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