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Latest News

This is our opportunity to communicate with you directly about what is happening at OWLA and of course our projects.  It also enables us to provide comment and guidance on topical issues.

23 Dec 2022


OWLA commenced its second Passiv House project in 2022 prompting us to invest in the Passiv Haus Planning Package (PHPP) to assist our modelling of fabric at an early stage.

10 Nov 2022


OWLA were presented with an award by the Royal Tunbridge Wells Civic Society in October for their residential care extension at Mount Ephraim House in Kent.

13 Oct 2022

Energy Performance sCam (EPC)

Any of you ever wonder about the efficacy of these things? You need one to sell a house, there is a duty to display them in commercial properties and any new rental property will need to achieve a C rating by 2025 and any existing rental property by 2028. They feature a bar chart grading much like an appliance (the score being linked to a notional SAP rating) together with property details and various ways in which you might improve your score. Whilst there is no doubt there are some real professionals out there the general level of competence amongst assessors for the house buying public I would argue is poor but then nobody really appears to care as it is at best another cost. It will matter to renters given they will now have an expectation of performance relative to energy costs and rightly so. In time the market too may have due regard as better performing properties (bearing in mind the stock, new and old is pretty poor) may attract a higher price. It also matters to me because it makes little sense of energy targets and the status quo. Having recently been immersed in the property market I have some experience and here it is.
Energy Performance sCam (EPC)

4 Jul 2022

Great Expectations

What with war, inflation and an energy crisis we now have the new Building Regulations, a since aborted review ‘ala Gove’ of the NPPF (beautiful) and suggestions of a fundamental overhaul of planning policy (welcomed but be careful what you wish for). There are anecdotes from both sides of the fence – client’s sensing a further imposition on their lifestyles (‘the Chinese dictating how we live’?) to builders predicting a 10% increase in costs while lamenting a happier time when there was no need to demonstrate compliance. And us? We just see it as business as usual then.
Great Expectations

25 Mar 2022


We clearly haven’t learnt any lessons from the Marble Arch Mound if some of the Unboxed (‘open, original, optimistic’) proposals are to go by. A decommissioned oil rig will spout trees in Weston-super-Mare for example. Why and what is Unboxed?

20 Dec 2021

Richard Rogers, Architect

Richard Rogers was a big deal when I was at school. He and Norman Foster were the first Starchitects that I think the sixties gave birth to in a unique way.
Richard Rogers, Architect

12 Dec 2021


A bag of the Anglian Lime Company’s ready mix, some trowels, a pointing tool and a stiff brush. Something of a practical training day in the Dark Arts. We all had a go, the only thing missing was any actual ability (a source of amusement for some).

10 Dec 2021

CSR and Zero Carbon

We have been thinking about our responsibilities as a business and as an advisor of others. What can we do, what should we do? We understand the crude answer is use less but to do that we must do more. Clearly there are wider benefits in a community sense to sharing ideas as to how we get to Net Zero as it is fast becoming something (even if only in legislative terms) that will impact on us all.
CSR and Zero Carbon

21 Nov 2021

COP, Future Homes and Self Build

A commitment to limit global temerature rise to 1.5 degrees is looking a bit shaky.  At COP, the UK government pledged to provide assistance to poorer nations and to stop burning coal for electricity generation by 2024.
COP, Future Homes and Self Build

29 Sept 2021

The Building Safety Bill

The Grenfell Fire had a profound influence on construction and bottle necks in testing accompany a zero risk approach to certification and compliance. 
The Building Safety Bill

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Best Made Plans

So COVID came along and as a proportion of our work is in residential care a lot stopped. But we didn’t and slowly things are returning to a new normal and despite an uncertain future new opportunities are already presenting themselves.


Take 5 at 40

OWL Architects is 40 and OWLA 5 this year. Five projects for the year will include a community building (10 years in inception), a clutch of interesting residential projects, a church reordering (8 years in the making) and the design stage of a new care scheme in Hastings. And of course, MEH (pictured) should complete.



OWLA’s directors took a much anticipated trip to Japan in September 2019. Whilst Tokyo and Osaka do not fail to deliver the full-on metropolitan experience, Kyoto delivers a more traditional one with the notable exception of Hiroshi Hara’s train station.



This is a big hole; perhaps the largest we have dug?  The underlying geology is chalk meaning it is inherently stable though a good deal of temporary works were necessary to safely create and consolidate it. We now plan to fill it in.


Awards Night 

OWLA received a design commendation for their work on the new CHALLS building in Hadleigh. The award was presented by RIBA Suffolk and the presentation involved a short film including aerial views of the completed building.


Click here to view in high resolution (on Vimeo website). 

All Soaned Out 

OWLA are delighted to be involved with one of the few classical buildings attributable to Sir John Soane in Suffolk. The Music Room (originally) an Orangery within the grounds of Earsham Hall has been undergoing conservation for some years and the final phase in conjunction with conversion of nearby workshops is now moving forward.



In October 2017 OWLA’s presence was finally felt north of the Arctic circle given the practice’s sponsorship of a charity expedition to a volcano located in the northern polar regions.


Block Buster 

OWLA’s second building for Challs International was opened in August 2017 with a launch party involving several hundred guests, television cameras and the presence of the Hadleigh Mayor and MP James Cartlidge. The building is a new headquarters and production facility for the company following the dramatic fire in 2015 that destroyed its administrative base. The opening accompanied the news that they are now the UK’s no.1 supplier of domestic cleaning products.



OWLA moved to new freehold premises in Bungay in spring 2017. The Business Centre in Staithe Road has a large studio space arranged over open plan meeting and administrative accommodation at ground level. The move means the practice is better placed between Norwich, Ipswich and the Heritage Coast and both follows the transition from partnership to company status in 2015 and reflects a new company direction.


A 1st

Further to a recommendation for refusal, OWLA were able to gain unanimous consent at committee for a new live / work unit in the countryside. Planning policy both regionally and nationally severely restricts development outside of settlements and whilst consents for similar proposals have been successful in urban areas but no such precedent existed for areas of designated countryside. Until now!

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