We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to the winners of the 1st prize of our “Irish Cult Music Venue” competition - Ian O’Brien, Enrique García Blázquez and Oliver James from United Kingdom!

Ian O’Brien, Oliver James and Enrique Garcia Blazquez from United Kingdom

Company background

The practice was established in 2014 with the intention of providing high quality architectural design services from a rural studio in the heart of England, situated at the northern tip of the Cotswolds area of outstanding natural beauty.


The practice has grown steadily, with a particular emphasis on housing, the re-use and conversion of agricultural buildings, and a growing reputation for imaginative projects in sensitive and historic contexts.

IOS completed projects include:

Apartments in Westminster, London, converted from offices to residential use.

New housing in North Oxfordshire (8 dwellings)

Conversion of farm buildings in the Cotswolds (6 dwellings)

Conversion of equestrian building in Warwickshire (3 dwellings)

Various private house projects and various works to listed and historic buildings.

IOS feasibility work, works on site, and works on the board include:

Rural industrial units in a sensitive setting

Replacement dwelling in Gloucestershire

Replacement dwelling in Worcestershire

Distribution warehouse in Essex

Holiday home in Scotland

New village housing in Worcestershire

What does architecture mean to you and what is the role of an architect in your society?

Our design philosophy is based on the belief that good buildings have the sense that they reveal a context. We therefore aim to foster rich relationships between our buildings, the people who use them and the physical, historical and cultural settings. We draw inspiration from the natural and built environment and delight in creating simple, elegant buildings that function well, are uplifting to use, and that amplify a sense of place.

Why do you participate in architecture vision competitions?

We participated in this competition because it gave us a chance to exercise our muscles on a different project type and in a different context. Cultural venues are a building typology that interests us deeply because of the clear connection between people, place, events history and identity. It’s a tremendously exciting thing to be a part of and the competition gave us just that opportunity. 

What advice would you give to individuals who struggle to decide whether it would be beneficial for them to participate in architecture vision competitions?

In terms of advice, what I can relate is our own experience, in that I had been reluctant to enter vision competitions myself. Having now gone through the process, the value I found in the office is that the competition process allowed the team to function in a different way: an intense and focused period of work without the normal logistics and distractions of live projects. The freedom and intensity of the competition generated great ideas and really enjoyable discussions. It also altered the office dynamic in a positive way (we were very much reminded of each other’s talents and the process had a pleasing fluidity).

More widely, architectural vision competitions have a value in creating a space for the unfettered elaboration of ideas. They help remind the world of the talents architects possess and provide inspiration for clients as to what’s possible when ideas are prioritised.

And we can now, of course, add the competition work to our portfolio when marketing to new clients.

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