Contact     Tel: +44 (0)7838 155739    Eml: 


Long life, loose fit, low energy 

RIBA slogan from 1980's


Solar Architecture is a small professional chartered architectural practice with a speciality in Passive Solar Design, undertaking projects from £100,000 to £1m and larger with partners.

The practice also writes and edits NBS Specifications, Schedules of Work, technical and planning Reports, component schedules, etc for clients and other architects.


Another area of built environment interest is the assessment of the environmental quality of places in order to answer the question - what makes a nice place or space. Assessment methods have been developed for this.

Curiosity and lateral thinking leads the practice into other sustainability areas too, like transport.


The design philosophy for 40 years has been to work with nature as far as possible using natural forces - sunlight, daylight and natural ventilation - with insulation to produce durable, low energy and sustainable buildings.

Watch the power of solar in action

Direct solar radiation normally contributes over 10% to the heating need of a house. This can be increased to about 30% by 'normal' design and even more by special effort. 

If you look carefully at the image above, a powerful beam can be seen reflected off the facade of a building in the City of London. 

Early in September 2013, a building sometimes referred to as the Walkie-talkie became news as the Walkie-scorchie because the solar radiation reflected off its curved facade was scorching buildings and parked cars opposite.

The short video below is of people, bathed in reflected sunshine, using the reflected heat to fry eggs on the pavement. 

Buildings should exploit solar radiation but just not in this way!

Relected solar ray.jpeg

The variety of projects the practice has been involved in are illustrated below.

Passive Solar House, Louth
SLR station next to extg Staines station
London Orbital Elevated Light Rail
Rear extension interior 1, Barnes
OC Clubhouse_edited.jpg
Oghara campus from satellite_edited_edit
Front elev landscape_edited_edited.jpg
Temporary footbridge, Hammersmith
Mochre - Elevation_edited.jpg
Boat House, Wallingford
Pedal car design
Rear extension, Kew
OC Club room.jpeg
Oghara campus plan
View from inside IMG_5249.jpeg
Orchard Unit external entrance.jpeg
Benign Office project section
Ozora completed courtyard_edited.jpg
POISE assessment.jpg

The projects above are a selection from 1990 to the present.  Projects revolve around sustainability, even other projects that are not buildings or planning. 

The process of getting the project built 

Working with clients

Chartered architect means one who is a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects and is regulated by the Architects Registration Board. 

The RIBA plan of work sets out the stages by which a project is best carried out.

The practice will work with clients to pin down what it is that will best serve their known, and even possibly unknown requirements, to produce an agreed plan and get the project built. 

The initial plans will consider the site, orientaion and how to exploit it to best effect. The use of daylight, sunlight, natural ventilation and solar control, associated with high levels of insulation, will be the guiding design principles, before resorting to mechanical means in order to reduce the amount of heating, lighting and air conditioning to a minimum.

Buildings should last a long time. The suitability and durability of materials also has to be considered as well as their embodied energy.

What does 'architect' mean

 'Architect' is a protected word, like 'solicitor,' which can only be used by a qualified architect. They spend 5 years in education plus two year training in practice and are controlled by a regulator, the Architects Registration Board. They may also be a member of the RIBA, the Royal Institute of British Architects, which also upholds standards.  


They have to have professional indemnity insurance and undertake CPD, Continuing Professional Development, to keep up to date. Using a qualified   architect for a building project is as natural as using a qualified surgeon for an operation.

The terms 'architectural consultant', 'architectural designer', 'interior architect', 'interior designer' etc - which may or may not have their own 

institute or regulator - should not be taken to be the same as the term 'architect'.

The agreed clients's brief is transformed  into drawings, for client approval and then to obtain planning consent. Today a planning application has to be accompanied by numerous reports some of which we can write with others like energy calculations or biodiversity having to be written by specialists.  


Once planning consent is granted, the next stage is to obtain tenders  (quotations) from builders. For this the planning consent drawings have to be turned into more more detailed  drawings and schedules of what is to be done with what materials and products for builders to give an accurate price.

Ideally there should also be a specification of materials and workmanship because this defines the quality of the building work. 

Once the tender sum has been agreed and contract signed, a client may or may not want the architect to inspect the works. 

For more information contact    Michael Buckley   Tel: +44 (0)7838 155739    Eml:    64A White Hart Lane, London, SW13 0PZ