London-based Julian Bicknell and Associates are known for their classically elegant architectural design; the perfect complement to the historical setting at Magna Carta Park. The practice has worked with clients across the world, developing beautiful solutions for buildings from private country estates, to restaurants, theatres, schools and modifications to historic buildings.
How would you describe your design style?
Our design philosophy combines a deep sympathy for traditional design and building methods, with a full understanding of contemporary building technology, energy strategies and construction management. We use a lot of these influences from the past to solve modern problems and enrich our buildings with historical associations. On the other hand, modern technology provides us with a much deeper understanding of technical issues and a greatly increased range of solutions to technical problems. We combine this knowledge with traditional architectural design strategies and forms.
Do you still use any traditional and / or historical techniques in your work?
In the office we continue to use traditional drawing techniques as well as up-to-date computer aided design. We use pencil and paper, ink and watercolour for sketch designs, visualizations and presentation drawings. We then use computers for technical drawings and 3-D modelling. The buildings themselves use traditional materials such as brick, timber, slate and stone, but integrated with modern construction techniques – concrete, steel, glass and prefabrication.
What was the inspiration for the houses at Magna Carta Park?
The layout at Magna Carta Park draws on the many examples of domestic developments in the UK from the 17th century to the present day – from the tradition of the terrace house to the suburban villa, and the apartment block. At the same time the buildings are varied in style from the simple brick and timber treatment of the Queen Anne period, through the clean, stuccoed fashion of the Regency, to the combined brick-and-stucco of mid-Victorian architecture.
How has the setting of the Park influenced the design?
The layout is arranged to provide each household with access to the large areas of parkland as well as some private open space of their own. The intermediate areas devoted to roadways, parking areas, and formal open spaces are kept to a minimum so as to leave the maximum of open parkland. We have tried to restore the feeling of gracious dwellings adjoining extensive open parkland that would have been the ideal of our Victorian ancestors.
What are the stand-out features of the designs?
A great variety of materials is used – bricks of different colours, stone, stucco, tiles slates and painted timberwork. The aim is to provide a framework for people’s lives that is at the same time well-ordered and varied, a world that is both practical and lively.