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Glasgow's new practices: Baxendale

Test unit the nettle inn (002)
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The AJ takes a look at Glasgow’s emerging architects, discovering how they have adapted and stayed motivated in a procurements system designed for big practices

Who are you? 
The practice is led by Lee Ivett and Ambrose Gillick, with three permanent members of staff supported by a wider network. 

When did you set up?
Originally in 2008, although we recently reformed as a partnership and collaboration between Lee Ivett and Ambrose Gillick. 

What was your breakthrough project?
Ideas and methodology drive the practice more than any project that has helped us ‘break through’. We are still very much below the radar and have never promoted our work.  

Geilsland (002)

Geilsland (002)

Axonometric for a sports hall retrofit at Geilsland School, near Beith, by Baxendale

What are you currently working on?
A grassroots strategy for the regeneration of Beith town centre, North Ayrshire, including the adaption of a community-owned sports hall. We are also directors of the Architecture Fringe festival and Test Unit summer school programme. 

How hopeful are you about your prospects as a young practice in Glasgow?
I’m excited by the possibilities that are starting to open up to us as a practice through opportunities that are not just architectural commissions but collaborations within which we get to conceive and deliver improvements to our built environment and society. 

What is the biggest challenge facing your practice?
The transition from a practice that develops its own projects and clients into one that is able to win public sector commissions and find a place on social housing frameworks.  

We have diversified our output so we can be agile in terms of projects and sources of income

How will you ensure you remain profitable?
I doubt we have ever been profitable. But we have been successful at diversifying our output so we can be agile in terms of projects and sources of income. Most of our work is with community groups and third-sector organisations, which is financed through a combination of grant funding, private funding and academic research.  

Which architects inspire your practice?
Sam Mockbee and the work of the Rural Studio. Their mixture of aspirational design, research, teaching and social engagement was a real driver in helping articulate the nature of practice we wanted to develop.

Bamboo sanctuary (002)

Bamboo sanctuary (002)

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