Project Update:
The Cultural Quarter

Design Studio Architects have an exciting project in the pipeline within Leicester’s Cultural Quarter — the former textile and shoe hub has transformed into a thriving area for creatives, artists, craftspeople and designers. The Victorian buildings that were former factories are now home to a lively community and give the area its unique character.

The 6 storey building will contain three artist workshops on the ground floor, with 29 flats above the workshops. They comprise of studios, 1 and 2-bed apartments, complete with a green roof which has a grass area on top of the roof. The scheme will also provide social housing in line with the council requirements.

The scheme was described by the planning committee as ‘a positive contribution to the area with a well thought out frontage’. 

Currently, the package is out to tender and is expected to commence on site early next year, with an estimated completion date of Spring/Summer 2021.

Stay tuned on our social media channels and our blog for more updates on this exciting development.

Project Update:
Cottage Mews

Currently, Design Studio Architects are working on a number of exciting projects, and here is one of our latest developments that is now entering its 11th month; it is due for completion at the end of this year.

The former Cottage Inn Public House has been derelict for many years; Design Studio Architects established the possibility to redevelop the pub. The aim was to begin a residential scheme in which they created housing in a sought after location.

Starting in December 2018, the project is now in its 11th month and is creating high-quality housing with ample amenity space and comfortable modern spaces. Spanning 13 units, the corner site will accommodate the following: there are nine townhouses in total and are three and four bedrooms; as well as four apartments, which contain one and two bedrooms; and offers secure parking. Furthermore, the site is also planned with consideration to the environment and will include solar panels and electric car charging points.

Design Studio Architects are working with a private client on a full-service basis (RIBA stages 0-7), which are:

Stage 0: Project Brief

Stage 1: Project Objectives

Stage 2: Design programme

Stage 3: Project Strategies

Stage 4: Design specification 

Stage 5: Design Queries

Stage 6: Conclusion

Stage 7: Schedule of Service 

As a RIBA Chartered Practice, DSA complies with strict criteria, to ensure we offer a competent and credible service.

The Cottage Mews project will be completed at the end of this year and is already on the market. Currently, in preparation, there is a showhouse, in which people can tour around and see inside one of the properties. Stay tuned for more updates on the projects that Design Studio Architects are involved with on our social media.

In addition, there will be more project updates coming soon on this blog, so watch this space.

Grade listed buildings


Listing a building recognises its special architectural and historic interest; it also brings the building into consideration of the planning system so it is protected for future generations. With this, grade listed buildings are subject to specific regulations which protect their historical and architectural significance.

As recently we have moved into new offices that are Grade II listed, we felt it beneficial to provide more knowledge on what is involved with Grade listed buildings.

This heritage protection means that you will need consent to make alterations to the building. With around 400,000 listed buildings in England, being aware of these regulations can help you plan when buying a house or commercial building.

For a building to be qualified as listed, it needs to illustrate important aspects of the nation’s economic, cultural, historical associations with nationally important people. Many buildings built before 1700 that survive in anything like their original condition is very likely to be listed; the same goes for buildings between 1850 and 1700. However, after 1945 buildings are carefully selected, and buildings less than 30 years old are not usually considered.

Listing the building not only protects the outside structure but inside as well. This includes any structures that are attached – including modern extensions and sometimes outbuildings, statuary within the garden and the garden walls.

There are three different types of grading for buildings, which are:

Grade I

These buildings are of exceptional national, historical and architectural importance; only 2.5% of listed buildings fall into this category, including Buckingham Palace and Tower Bridge.

Grade II

These buildings are split into two categories – Grade II and Grade II*. Around 5.5% of buildings are Grade II* which are particularly important, with 92% of buildings listed as Grade II and of special architectural interest. Any building built before 1948 can be listed; Most residential homes are listed within the Grade II category. In England, there are approximately 276,000 listed building entries that amount to over 500,000 listed buildings.

Examples of Grade II* listed buildings are Capel Manor House in Kent, the Coliseum Theatre in London and the Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge; in England. Grade II buildings include Abbey Road Studios in London; Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London and the Broomhill Pool in Ipswich.

In Leicester, there are many listed buildings, including St Martin’s Cathedral, Town Hall, Wyggeston House and Newarke Wall.


Top trends in commercial architecture

There are many trends throughout the years within commercial architecture but some are here to stay. With the world becoming more consciously aware of the environment, many are coming up with new innovative ways to design where we live, work and spend our time. Here are 2019’s top new trends in commercial architecture.

Open-plan offices

In recent years open plan living has become extremely popular within residential buildings. This year has seen the trend integrate into commercial buildings and layouts. Open plan living has solved many issues within commercial and residential properties, including creating more space that seamlessly integrates the inside with the outside; this can be achieved through having large walls that fold away.

Environmentally-friendly design

Businesses are always looking for ways to cut costs and decreasing the damage they are doing to the environment, as well as increasing their social responsibility. Brands are now more aware than ever about how much going ‘green’ matters to their employees and their customers and incorporate this by using solar panels on roofs, energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, and recycling and recycling materials.

Flexible-working design

Commercial buildings have had to adapt how they function because flexible working is on the rise; many people work from home or split their working week between their home and the office. Gone are the days of having your very own desk, and it is hot-desking that is now more popular. Hot desking means that anyone can use any available desk at different periods of time. It’s easier if you have many employees that work from home and in the office.

Prioritising the experience of employees

Businesses are incorporating diverse elements from the hotel and hospitality industry to integrate experience-driven spaces into the workplace. This is all to prioritise wellness, enjoyment of the workplace and is all part of your brand. These elements speak to your company’s culture and can include things like massage therapy, rock climbing walls, game rooms, and yoga studios.


Sustainable architecture

Buildings are responsible for half of the global energy use; and with 55% of the world’s population living in urban areas, it’s no wonder that we are now turning towards eco-friendly, sustainable architecture. There are many ways to create eco-friendly architecture which include: using resource-efficient materials and renewable energy sources to power buildings – and it is on the rise.

The government pledged that all homes must be zero carbon by 2020, so there are plans in place for 1.5 million new UK homes to be built by 2022, which have to comply with the new regulations: being low-carbon, low-energy and resilient to climate change.

There are many benefits to switching to green building, and they are as follows:

Low-cost building materials

The process of building should generate as little waste as possible, so materials that are used are long-lasting. If some materials have been recycled, then that allows for the use of fewer materials to be bought. Furthermore, if you use less water and energy, that can also help material efficiency and better for the environment.

Enhances the indoor environment quality

Conditions inside the building affect the quality of the environment inside. A good indoor environment is one that protects the occupant’s health, reduces stress and improves life quality. Green buildings tend to do this by installing more windows to let more light in.

Decrease environment damage and strain on resources

By using materials such as earthbags, stones, bamboo, logs, and straw as insulation can decrease the damage made to the environment; you would need to use less energy to heat the green building, therefore reducing energy bills. This will also ease the strain on the demand for energy.

Energy efficient

As mentioned above, eco-friendly buildings can help to ease the strain on energy demands in the local area. Installing solar panels will ensure that you make use of energy from the sun and reduce the use of artificial light by using natural light. These are both great ways of reducing the use of non-renewable sources. An increase in the dependency on renewable sources will impact the environment for the better.

Not only are the day-to-day living costs reduced, but the cost of building and time taken to construct the buildings reduces. Designing sustainable architecture must be strategic to reduce the dependency on non-renewable energy sources and non-recyclable building materials.



Permitted development rights: a guide


Working under permitted development whilst renovating your house can save you time and money because you wouldn’t need to apply for planning permission.

Here is a comprehensive guide to understanding what permitted development rights are, and if they can benefit you on your journey to transforming your home.

So, what are they?

Permitted development rights are a national grant of planning permission which allows certain building works and changes of use to occur without having to put in an application. These rights are not granted by the local authority, but by Parliament.

Whilst permitted development rights apply to most houses, they do not apply to flats and maisonettes, so planning permission would be required. In the case of commercial properties, they have different permitted development rights compared to the rights of dwellings. It is also worth noting that the rights are updated regularly and there are variations of the rules in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

It is essential to check with the local council first, but these rights should provide automatic planning permission for small extensions, single-storey and double-storey extensions, as well as the following changes of use: loft, garage and basement conversions.

Designated areas

There are some designated areas whereby permitted development rights are more restricted, and these include National Parks, World Heritage Sites and Conservation areas. In these cases, you would have to apply for planning permission.

Withdrawn permitted development rights

By issuing an “Article 4” direction, the local planning authority may have removed some of your permitted development rights. This will then mean that you have to submit a planning application for work which normally does not need one. Article 4 directions are made when the character of an acknowledged area is being threatened.

For more information on the limits and conditions of permitted development rights, and advice on your projects, contact the team at Design Studio Architects.

Our new office move


The time is finally here! We closed our offices last week on Friday and Monday in order to make the final preparations and make the exciting move to our brand-new office space.

We are, of course, slightly nostalgic about the move from our Salisbury Road office; it served us well and we enjoyed a great many successes there. But as we close one chapter and open the next with this move; it’s an exciting time for Design Studio Architects as we continue to grow as a team and as a business.

Our managing director, Keshiv Sudera, said: “The new office move allows for a state-of-the-art design studio environment within a stunning grade two listed building, for the team to work and enjoy. The clients will benefit from the move as we create an improved visitor experience whilst allowing for future growth for the practice.”

Always striving to look to the future and remain innovative with our business – and with the recent rebrand being a huge success, we feel like we’re making headway in where we want to take Design Studio Architects, and really shouting about what we can offer our customers.

We Think. We Listen. We Design. Placing customers at the heart of everything we do, we aim to fulfil their project visions and produce tailored, high quality, finished products in a way – which not only serves our client’s needs but also creates projects that we are proud of

Now that we’re all settled in, feel free to pop in and check out our new offices if you have any architectural queries or need advice.

Home offices on the rise

One of the up-and-coming trends in architecture this year so far is the addition of a home office space. An emerging trend rather than an established one, yet it is set to continue to rise as the way we work changes and adapts to the digital, interconnected world. There is no denying the upward shift as flexible work patterns become the norm; it will inevitably impact how we design our homes and organise our space.

A report collated in 2017 by OddsMonkey showed that by 2020, almost half of the workforce in the UK will work remotely – which is a staggering figure! Flexi-time and offering to let staff work remotely has been found to be a huge motivator, with productivity increasing as much as 16 per cent- it’s no wonder employers are seeing its positive effect on business.  Cutting down costs for the employers such as having a designated desk at HQ, a phone bill, or mileage chargers. There is a lot to be said for supporting your staff in working remotely.  It also appeals to the different worker types that you have working for you – some may prefer and be more productive working from a bustling office, but others may be more so when working solitary to their own deadlines.

Working remotely of course requires dedicated space from which to work peacefully and productively in.  Whilst some remote workers may prefer to work from cafes, or simply work sat on the sofa; there is a lot to be said for a dedicated space from which to be productive, a space can allow for greater focus.

Though having a dedicated working space doesn’t mean you have to have a desk and a chair –there are plenty more options to consider. An inspiring workspace ought to reflect an innovative and creative approach with creators able to personalise the space and achieve somewhere to really call their own. Why not have a bean bag instead of a chair, add a curved desk, have vibrant colours to really make the furniture pop, or perhaps a minimalist clean and bright airy space will lend itself to more productivity. If space is a premium there are even ‘cut out’ desks built into the wall!

The main points for the home worker to consider are:

a) understand the space they have to work with and

b) that the area is dedicated solely to the ‘office’ at home.

On the other hand, extensions or outbuildings are viable options for when you need more space for your home office. These can be done under permitted development or planning; permitted development is when you want to extend your house but meet certain conditions but does not require planning permission i.e. the extension in question doesn’t exceed 50% of the total area of land around the original house.

To find out more about permitted development and the requirements you’d need to build an extension or outbuilding for your home office, contact Design Studio Architects.

It has been an exhilarating few weeks at Design Studio Architects; we have rebranded ourselves, launched our new website and we have our upcoming move to new offices.

For our team, it has been an exciting time; we thought that it was time we had a makeover to really get across our ethos, and what architecture means to us.

We Listen. We Think. We Design. Here at Design Studio Architects, we place our clients at the heart of everything we do, and this is what we wanted to convey in our transformation. We are in tune with our client’s worlds: their industry, commercial imperatives, their needs and vision for the future – and we wanted to showcase that in our rebrand.

Our vision is to promote the importance of sustainable architecture in the built environment that is responsive to the technical, aesthetic and budgetary expectations of our clients.

Our approach is analytical with the aim to engage and solve problems within a specific context. We feel architecture is about the people as well as the buildings and therefore the buildings should be influenced by their surroundings, their use and the end users.

We will also be making a move into our new offices soon; for the team here at DSA, it is the beginning of a new, exciting chapter of growth and development.

If you have any architectural queries, from residential projects right through to commercial and industrial units, don’t hesitate to pop into our new office or pick up the phone for a call.

MIPIM celebrates 30th birthday

The four-day convention takes place in Cannes, France every year, and welcomes the most influential business leaders and industry experts, from around the world, as well as featuring speakers and panels that identify the most important issues impacting the property market of today and the future.

The prestigious convention took place last week and typically attracts around 23,000 visitors every year. Hundreds of real estate professionals whose passion is to understand the property market and exploit its potential, gather alongside brokers, investors, occupiers, landlords and business services. This is a fantastic event and is networking at its highest level.

The winner of this year’s Startup Competition is Spaceti, a PROPTECH product that helps to improve building environments and boosts productivity and profitability. Spaceti provides integrated solutions through its own sensors that interact with mobile devices to map how building environments can be improved. Founded in 2016, the company has already been established in New York, Stockholm and London. Six finalists made it to MIPIM after competing in heats all around the world, during MIPIM PROPTECH Europe, New York and Asia in 2018.

One of the most important issues that have recently shot up on the real estate agenda is healthcare and the search for alternative investments with the rise of our ageing population. Dr Pritpal S Tambar, CEO and Co-Founder of Bridging Health and Community spoke on a panel that addressed how to shift from a cure-orientated approach to healthcare.

For more information on the event, visit MIPIM’s website here.