Our Approach

We understand that every place is unique. We work holistically, led by what we find in the landscape and its communities, to discover solutions to the challenges of life in the built environment in an era of dramatic environmental change.

Local Works Studio takes a landscape-led approach to design, using site-based resources and processes to plan, make and repair.

We are working towards an alternative model for design and construction.

It is our belief that landscapes and buildings can be created and improved without doing harm and without producing the huge amount of waste that the construction industry is currently responsible for. More than this, in the changes of behaviour that this process requires, we see an opportunity not only to do ‘less bad’, but to make things better through design and construction – to enhance and improve the local and wider environment and to create places which prioritise human relationships, reflecting the needs, aspirations and stories of the people that occupy landscapes and buildings.

We see value and possibility in all the materials we find around us. We want to reveal those hidden, finite resources and the complex processes that construct our landscapes, homes and cities. We want to revive awareness of the stuff that we build with – What is it made of? Where does it come from? How was it made? How can I fix it and look after it? How could it be made differently and what effect will that change have?

We take the view that the process of shaping our landscapes and buildings is never merely a means to an end, but also an end in itself, with great intrinsic value for the people involved. We want to promote a shift in values in the construction industry, from the top-down quick-fix, towards sensitive collaborative design that takes the long view, towards craftsmanship and care of the things we have.

We work to some simple principles to realise these aspirations:

Design slowly, build deep knowledge of people and place

Acknowledge it takes time to shape a place that is right for the people who live and work in it. Learn the everyday routines, processes and flows. Design strategies that enhance ordinary life, but don’t forget the special days. Design incrementally for flexibility, evolution and adaptation in the future.

Bring people together and collaborate

Enable local people to write instructions for how they want their landscapes and buildings to be. Make better connections between people, landscapes, services and suppliers. Challenge routines that don’t work. Let designs tell the story of people and place. Make things together. Design for sharing.

Invest in people – craft, care, repair

Break the habit of replacement with new things and virgin materials. Relearn habits and skills that repair and maintain. Invest in people and their abilities to shape beautiful places over time with their care and attention. Design places and things that can be repaired, deconstructed, put back together. Design hands-on.

Use local landscape materials, prevent & intercept waste

Map and investigate the hidden material opportunities of a site. Remember that buildings are material stores. Keep resources on site and use them with care and ingenuity. Invent new forms and processes. Push the limited materials you have in your local palette. Redirect and intercept local waste streams for use in construction.

Brick made with waste materials

Manage land for biodiversity and regeneration

Ensure that the local and wider natural environment is in better condition when we finish a project than when we start. Create connective new habitats for wildlife in the fabric of buildings and new landscapes. Manage land for renewable production of construction materials. Integrate infrastructure with natural systems. Mobilise communities in the stewardship of the living landscape.