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in practice

'Our office comprises two contrasting openplan elements: a restored Grade I-listed former Nonconformist chapel and a modern extension to the rear, which we designed. The chapel houses a thriving arts and performance space on the ground floor, with our drawing office on a mezzanine level above. The mix of art, music and architecture provides a stimulating environment for us to work in and makes a positive contribution to what we do. As I write these words after work, the saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis is practising with his band downstairs.

Tim chose to photograph this space, which is used regularly for informal meetings and reviews. It occupies a commanding position at the top of the new extension and has enormous amounts of natural light and stunning views across the rooftops of Frome and onto Westbury White Horse eight miles away. We are exclusively CAD based, but there are regular creative sessions such as this, where pencil and felt-tip sketches on rolls of tracing paper are used to explore ideas and resolve design issues before they are drawn up on computer. This review process has become ever more important as the size of the office has increased from 20 to 30 staff in the past 18 months. This particular session was a review of sketch proposals for a new community centre in east Dorset, though most of our work is in the education sector.'

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