MAAPS Design & Architecture

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by MAAPS Design & Architecture's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from MAAPS Design & Architecture is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Director Peter Mance
Club Quarters Hotel LIF,
guest room
Director Peter Mance tells
The Parliamentary Review
MAAPS Design & Architecture “crafts space”. Working
across the UK and internationally, Peter and the team at
MAAPS use colour, texture, light, ambience, material and memory
to deliver innovative and specialist architecture and interior
design solutions. Peter says their interior design work is often
concerned with the conversion and “reinterpretation” of existing
space, and that their architectural work is both a “physical and
psychological” redefinition of the environment. He talks at
greater length about MAAPS’ philosophy and former projects.
When I am asked what we do, our provocative and mischievous reply is: “we help
people reimagine space”. Rather than travelling down the path of explaining our
functional role as architectural and interior designers, “reimaging space” opens up
much more interesting discussions, allowing us to better demonstrate who we are
and what we truly do.
The underlying values and ethos at the core of our creative endeavours are driven
by a sense of generosity, responsibility and longevity. These values, coupled with
our skills and experience, provide us with the right tools to help our clients achieve
sustainable design and lifestyle solutions.
Occasionally, projects arise that call upon us to up-end the status quo and step
outside convention – we delight in these – since they divine for growth; for
alternate articulation. Two recent projects, the Club Quarters Lincoln’s Inn Fields
Hotel and the Shishukunj International School, are cases in point. The lessons
»Director: Peter Mance
»Founded in 2011
»Located in London
»Services: Architectural and
interior design services
»No. of employees: 7
MAAPS Design &
Highlighting best practice
learned during these developments
provide collaborative insights into our
own creative processes which have
enriched and refined our approach to
subsequent projects.
Club Quarters Lincoln’s Inn
Club Quarters approached us with the
task of taking an unused basement
storage space and converting it into a
series of hotel guest rooms – a place of
respite from the hustle and bustle of its
central London location.
The most obvious challenge was that
the rooms are windowless, yet in much
the same way that the restriction of
one sense allows the other senses to
compensate, working on a windowless
room demanded that we paid close
attention to the tactile details and
quality of the interior design in order
to create a serene space.
To counter the typical guest room
entrance of a narrow neck, these
basement rooms open as a generous
expansive space, with a London-
inspired colour palette. The bed is
located away from the entrance and
has a raised ceiling, so that as you
move deeper into the space you feel as
if it continues to open.
For the wall cladding panels and
cabinetry within the room, we
focused on crafting high-quality
joinery to convey a sense of soothing
sophistication. The mirror panel within
the end wall of the room resembles
the missing window, creating a
For us, this is an instance where
embracing the apparent limitations
allowed us to hone our design skills
and gain beneficial insight into our
own design and creative process.
These are important and subtle lessons
embedded in the team that we carry
forward as foundation blocks for
future projects.
Shishukunj International
Shishukunj, a Sanskrit word meaning
a “Garden of Children”, is a registered
charity dedicated to advancement
of children and the preservation
of Gujarat culture. Our team have
supported the charitable and
development work of Shishukunj for
many years in the UK, India and Africa.
The school is set within the beautiful
semi-arid desert landscape of Kutch.
While this is an active earthquake
zone, historically it was also a location
for health sanitoriums where people
came to recover in the clear and
At the point we came to the project,
the local architectural team had
generated proposals concerned
with fulfilling minimum room sizes,
site security and marshalling pupil
discipline. The scheme made no
concession to the qualities of the site
and did not incorporate strategies for
sustainability. Furthermore, we learnt
that the children and teachers had not
been involved with the project.
We saw the opportunity to design a
school that responded to this unique
Shishukunj International
We tend to
avoid the more
definitions of
either of these
roles, and in a
piece of
mischief, we
have found that
it is more useful
to say “we
help people
landscape, and we set out to design a
school that the children would want to
go to. When asked what they wanted,
they replied, “We want a school in
After five days of intense work with
the consultant team, and embracing
the ambitions of the children, we
emerged with a new inclusive design.
We developed a series of small-scale
adaptable building modules and
grouped these to provide connecting
vistas across the site to the surrounding
landscape, akin to a village, and that
has an intimate sense of belonging
within this special place.
Through the use of natural materials,
traditional typologies, indigenous
flora and local artisan building skills,
the school campus is designed as a
sustainable development within the
natural ecosystem of Kutch.
Conceived as a series of cluster
modules in response to both the
landscape and teaching ethos of
the school, the buildings are literally
built from the rock and dust of the
site. Passive solar design principles,
utilising prevailing winds for natural
cooling and the orientation of
buildings for shading, and planned
landscaping strategies are all
deployed to take maximum advantage
of the surrounding ecosystem
The project reminds us that buildings
do not simply have to be functional
enclosures – despite tough economic
and environment constraints. At their
best, they are interactive structures
with emotive resonance used,
animated and transformed by people.
We have conceived an evolving set
of architectural models that are an
integral part of the school ethos and
methods of education. We hope that
they continue to nurture memories
Given the special qualities of this
site, we felt duty bound to design
a building that belonged in the
landscape and served the needs of
its users; to design a school that
responsibly and sustainably exists
harmoniously within its specific
environment and benefits the
Finally, the sustainable programme and
capture of resources on site mean that
we can now irrigate and bring life back
to the surrounding landscape. More
importantly, the birds have returned,
and we are growing a forest.
The project
reminds us that
buildings do not
simply have to
be functional
enclosures –
despite tough
economic and
Shishukunj International

This article was sponsored by MAAPS Design & Architecture. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss

Even by the standards of the day –this has been one of the most exciting and unpredictable years in British politics.

The leadership election we’ve just seen marks a huge moment in our country’s history. This government is taking a decisive new direction, embracing the opportunities of Brexit and preparing our country to flourish outside the EU.

As international trade secretary, I’ll be driving forward work on the free trade agreements that are going to be a priority for the government. Free trade isn’t just an abstract concept bandied around by technocrats. It is crucial for a strong economy and for the ability of families to make ends meet. Free trade benefits people in every part of our country, as British firms export to new markets and people doing the weekly shop have access to a wider choice of goods at lower prices.

The essence of free trade is in the title: freedom. It’s about giving people the power to exchange their goods without heavy government taxation or interference. Commerce and free exchange are the engine room of prosperity and social mobility. I’m determined to tackle the forces who want to hold that back.

One of my priorities is agreeing an exciting new free trade deal with the US, building on the great relationship between our two countries and the Prime Minister and US President. But I’ll also be talking to other partners including New Zealand, Australia and fast-growing Asian markets.

And with the EU too, we want a friendly and constructive relationship, as constitutional equals, and as friends and partners in facing the challenges that lie ahead – a relationship based on a deep free trade agreement. Our country produces some of the world’s most successful exports, and the opportunity to bring these to the rest of the world should make us all excited about the future. It is this excitement, optimism and ambition which I believe will come to define this government.

For too long now, we have been told Britain isn’t big or important enough to survive outside the EU – that we have to accept a deal that reflects our reduced circumstances. I say that’s rubbish. With the right policies in place, we can be the most competitive, free-thinking, prosperous nation on Earth exporting to the world and leading in new developments like AI. To do that, we’ll give the brilliant next generation of entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed. Since 2015, there has been a staggering 85 per cent rise in the number of businesses set up by 18 to 24 year olds – twice the level set up by the same age group in France and Germany. We’ll help them flourish by championing enterprise, cutting taxes and making regulation flexible and responsive to their needs.

As we do that, we’ll level up and unite all parts of the UK with great transport links, fibre broadband in every home and proper school funding, so everyone shares in our country’s success.

2019 has been the year of brewing economic and political revolution. 2020 will be the year when a revitalised Conservative government turbo charges the economy, boosts prospects for people across the country, and catapults Britain back to the forefront of the world stage.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss
Secretary of State for International Development