Chestnut Nursery

Spaces to be together

We’ve seen first-hand what a valuable contribution considered design makes to a community. Bringing people together, creating common purposes and promoting social connections all impact the wellbeing, health and economic prosperity of a community. At Footprint architects, we love helping groups realise their community projects. With our experience in overcoming challenging briefs, fundraising constraints and the application of our expertise within the education sector, we deliver sustainable architecture that gives the local community a sense of pride and ownership.


Our specialist experience includes:

  • Building refurbishment and repurposing

  • Sustainable architectural solutions

  • Promotion of green living

  • Education and welfare spaces

  • Community innovation hubs

  • Youth social spaces

Recent Projects


How much will my project cost?

This is dependent on many varying factors, including whether you are extending, renovating, converting or building a new home. There are also a number of different elements that will effect the outcome of cost, including varying site conditions, the age and existing condition of your property, history of the site, and more. It is common to quote square metre rates and whilst this is a good starting point, the overall project spend has to consider:

  • the specification of interior finishes and fixtures, which could double the cost of your project from a house of standard specification
  • abnormal site conditions – ground conditions, site access, drainage, tree roots etc.
  • legal and professional fees (including the cost of borrowing) and surveys
  • renewable energy investment
We have a wealth of experience from our varied projects completed over the last 10 years, so please feel free to contact us and we will be able to help you build a picture of the likely cost for your project. There are also some great online resources and we’d recommend visiting the Home Building and Renovating website, which is a great place to start.

How do I get planning permission?

We have a 100% approval rate of planning applications in Dorset and Hampshire and have built great relationships with the planning officers as a result. Our great record of successful applications means we understand how to approach the process, but as with every project, the process differs from scheme to scheme. If you would like to know more about the planning process, we have put together a brief guide for you. You can download this above, or follow the link below.

Why do I need an architect?

An architect can see potential in every project where others may not. We pride ourselves on identifying small details that will make a difference to your project, and on getting planning permission first time around.

Do you work with listed buildings and projects in conservation areas and national parks?

Yes! As we mentioned above, we have a very successful planning approval rate, including success in the green belt and the New Forest National Park. We were also awarded the Winner of the New Forest National Park Building Design Awards 2019 for Best Conservation to a listed farm house.


What scale of projects have you experience working on?

Footprint have proven experience and have been working with clients in the education sector ranging from £150,000 extensions to single primary schools, CIF bids and works for academies, masterplanning for multi academy trust, new SEN school provision, school expansion projects for councils up to circa £6m, refurbishing department areas in FE as well as multi million pound new build projects in a Technical Advisor capacity within London. We love to engage with staff and pupils and are currently delivering an ‘emerging technologies’ teaching unit over 3 terms for a school in London.

Do you have experience with SEN and alternative provision schools?

Yes, we currently have a live ESFA funded alternative provision school due to for completion in Summer 2019. We have completed a bespoke autism specific learning environment for post 16 pupils with Asperger’s Syndrome / Higher Functioning Autism, a replacement classroom building for supporting young people with a comprehensive range of special education needs and disabilities, and a 60 place primary school campus designed to cater for children with autism spectrum conditions (ASC).

Have you worked with the council in our area before?

We have worked with a variety of stakeholders and councils on some of our community and education projects. These include Bournemouth, Portsmouth, Poole, Wiltshire, as well as some boroughs within London.


What can you do to improve my existing office space?

The best office design layouts create a sense of collaboration and creativity by designing in large, open plan spaces. Don’t create a physical barrier with desks or partitions but remember everyone is unique and works differently, so its important to design an office that allows multiple working styles. Please view our workplace/office projects for more information and be sure to read our blog about how you can achieve great office design, here. Also, please do get in touch to discuss your project!

Is colour choice important in an office?

Colour is such an easy and inexpensive way to transform a space. Paint the walls, add come coloured chairs and some contemporary desks. Yellow makes us feel optimistic and is a great choice for high energy, creative spaces although too much can make you feel angry. Red boosts heart rate and can keep night workers alert whereas green promotes harmony whilst boosting creativity. Blue is calming and encourages a sense of trust, communication and efficiency. You can view how colours have a positive impact on a space on our recent LUSH office refurbishment project, here.


Have you any experience of working with non-profit and charity organisations?

Yes, we have worked with many community groups and charitable organisations. Our project experience varies from a community centre project for Poole Communities Trust, a garden centre centred around the use of therapeutic horticulture, new housing for ex-service veterans and their families for Bournemouth War Memorial Homes, and a new gym and improvements to leisure facilities for BH Live.

What's the process of hiring an architect for a community project?

What's the process of hiring an architect for a community project? It is key that you define your brief prior to meeting an architect. You will want to ensure the company sits well with your ethos and values and it is key that you meet them. You will be working closely and will form a close working relationship with your architect, so this is vital. You could employ an architect initially to assist you with your brief and a feasibility study for your project or engage them for the whole process. You can demonstrate to all stakeholders that you have selected the right architects for your project by tendering for architectural services. The criteria of your decision making could include the architectural fees, and quality of the practice based on their completed projects, added value, referees and experience of the key personnel.

Do you work with a variety of budgets?

Yes, we approach every project with the same enthusiasm and commitment. Our smallest project to date had a build cost of circa £135,000.00, extending to over £2m for a community centre. We have worked on some projects at very early stages where our work has been instrumental in the fundraising process and we know organisations that can help you with this process.

Have you worked with the council in our area before?

We have worked with a variety of stakeholders and councils on some of our community and education projects. These include Bournemouth, Portsmouth, Poole, Wiltshire, as well as some boroughs within London.

Frequently Asked Questions