ADAM Urbanism undertakes in-depth urban analysis that informs many of our urban design and masterplanning projects. We are one of few architectural practices to employ a full-time historical researcher Dr Helen Lawrence-Beaton plus the dedicated and experienced in-house historic buildings team – Darren Price, Robin Stannard and Wayne Derrick – undertake careful research to fully understand the historic development of a village, town, or a particular part of a city. This includes investigation of the historic origins and growth of a place to the present day, so that its unique character and established architectural heritage can be appreciated and respected.
Local architectural traditions and details, building materials and housing types are Identified in the first stage of the research process. This includes some of the key patterns of urban form and public space and can include density analysis of housing within towns and villages. Our aim is to identify local building traditions and placemaking principles, to define exactly what makes the place distinctive.
These Character Analysis Studies provide a rich resource of typologies and details for the design of our buildings and urban spaces.
Our detailed analyses often lead to creating a Pattern Book, which directly contribute to the design of new residential developments and urban extensions to towns and villages. These can serve as a clear guide to developers in terms of scale, urban and sub-urban character, legibility for movement and landmark creation. This helps to ensure that buildings and spaces of a suitable character and scale are woven into the new fabric in a natural way, and both stem from and reinforce local character. We have created numerous successful Pattern Books for towns, villages and estates throughout the UK. These documents have become an essential part of our work and are recognised as best practice exemplars within urban design. Our approach has a well-established track record at unlocking complicated sites with significant heritage restrictions and resulting in a smooth transition through the planning process.
We are often asked to work closely with landed estates and landowners on new developments. Here, our research investigates the development and growth of the estate and its buildings, to identify key architectural types and estate traditions, and can analyse the relationship of an estate to the surrounding village. This research can help inform new estate building projects, ensuring that the proposals strengthen existing connections to local communities. It can also help to inspire successful and sympathetic new development that is in harmony with the traditional building patterns of the area.
Our research also covers investigations into vernacular building typologies in various regions of the UK, ranging from unique farmhouse and farmstead layouts, to manor house types that are unique to specific counties. These research documents consider factors such as form, scale, detailing and materials and how these elements have given such properties their distinctive character. This understanding of historic building types helps to provide clear and logical guidance on any design for new buildings, ensuring that proposals are a literate continuation of the established building