Designing with People, Designing with the Community, Designing for Sustainability
ASSIST Architects Ltd is a co-operatively run Architectural Practice with over 30 years experience in Sustainable Design, Social Housing and Community Regeneration. With offices in Edinburgh and Glasgow, we work closely with all major Housing Associations within Scotland.
We specialise in providing a successful participatory design service to both community led organisations and the private sector.
We aim to achieve optimum Client satisfaction by forming a close working relationship with each organisation from the preparation of the project brief, interactive design proposals and detailing, to the successful completion of the project on site including a commitment to low maintenance and life cycle costing.
ASSIST Design Ltd was set up as a traditional limited company to allow more investment within the practice. We are committed to working with our clients and tenants to continually improve design quality and deliver value and a reliable service.
We will build on the experience gained from ASSIST Architects to become a centre for excellence in sustainable design, off site construction, zero carbon housing, and collaborative working within the construction process.
As well as Architectural design services, we can offer EcoHomes assessments and pre-assessment advice as direct commissions or integrated within our normal design service.
By experience, society has discovered the need to ensure the economic and environmental survival of any project.
The solution involves the essential consideration of these aspects at initial design stage and at the appropriate time in relation to selection of materials and obtaining funding. ASSIST Architects has a written Sustainability Policy and is committed to addressing these at the earliest stage.
Sustainability can operate on different levels: environmental issues such as pollution, minimising C02 emissions; ‘whole life' building issues such as flexibility, durability and extendibility; economic issues such as viability, commercial flexibility and 'fundability'.
Within community regeneration projects, we look at the entire setting of the project along with the creation of a specific building type and moving on to the detailed design and specification. We will work with the client group to consider the best balance between local needs and available resources.
If one word summarises the origins and ethos of ASSIST, Regeneration would be it. Almost all of our work, from initial studies to a completed project, plays a central role in Area and Community Regeneration.
We have a holistic view of this activity and we consider added benefits to a community come in all forms and range from better living, improved environment, increased educational prospects, choice of social and leisure activities and enhanced employment opportunities.
Community Consultation is a key feature of any redevelopment process and one that ASSIST have extensive expertise and understanding of.
This includes liaising with all key stakeholders including presentations to Neighbourhood Steering Groups, attending open days, organising design workshops and planning weekends and communicating with all levels of the community.
The challenge is to achieve a point that through a process of public consultation the local community and all other stakeholders embrace a common vision for the proposed project or regeneration.
Through collaborative working Assist have enjoyed a positive experience of both partnering and framework agreements.
We are experienced in acting as lead consultants within Partnering Agreements developed as non-binding frameworks where the client, consultants, contractors and also subcontractors work as a team from the outset, resolving problems jointly and mitigating against disputes, sharing both risks and rewards.
We are also experienced in working with framework agreements for clients such as Midlothian Council that enable us to provide a commitment to continuous improvement and client satisfaction.
In tandem with our experience of providing innovative solutions for Social Housing over the past 30 years, Assist Architects have also provided a successful design service for the delivery of a broad range of Wider Action non-housing related initiatives.
These include projects such as environmental improvements, churches and community centres, offices and workspaces, all designed to sustain local communities.
Since its inception in the early 1970s in Govan, ASSIST Architects have ‘grown up' with the housing association movement.
In the early years, whilst working in Govan to halt the on going demolition of Victorian tenements, ASSIST developed innovative alternatives involving the refurbishment and repair of existing buildings. Through the 1970s and 80s this work proceeded heralding the birth of community based Housing Associations in areas such as Govan, Bridgeton, Partick, Parkhead, and Govanhill.
As a practice, ASSIST continued to grow, providing architectural services to the Housing Association movement. It was this early experience of working closely with people that set the foundation stones of ASSIST's ethos of community led architecture, which is still as vital to ASSIST today as it was then.
Through the late 80s and early 90s, Housing Associations in Glasgow turned their attention to derelict brown field sites to develop high-density urban new build developments. As funding moved to the peripheral estates, ASSIST became involved in mobilising community action in areas such as Royston Hill in Glasgow, giving rise to a new breed of fully mutual Housing Co-operatives who provided an intimate local presence in the regeneration of their communities.
ASSIST supported many of the new Co-op's in a programme of refurbishment, demolition and new build and environmental improvements throughout Glasgow and for the first time, ASSIST began working in Edinburgh with the regeneration of Clovenstone Park for Westerhailes Community Housing Association.
ASSIST established its Edinburgh office in the mid 90s and has developed a new client base with all the leading Housing Associations within the Edinburgh area.