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Rising Star: Clementine Blakemore

Eleanor Young

Delivering inventive and inclusive projects with a positive impact on the environment

Director, Clementine Blakemore Architects, Part 1: 2012 Part 2: 2015

Nick Read, director of Wraxall Yard, is Clementine Blakemore’s client and referee. He is glowing in his reference. ‘I doubt there is a more satisfied client than me, truly overwhelmed by the finished result, delivered without stress and on budget,’ he says. ‘Clem’s delivery of the project was completely outstanding.’ 

Blakemore came into architecture through a study of sculpture and film, then spent a year hands-on building with Rural Studio in the US. She continued self-building through leading AA summer schools and her dissertation at the RCA which she turned into a live project, the inventive timber-frame Music Pavilion for a primary school in Buckinghamshire, built in two phases. All the funding was raised by Blakemore and the school’s PTA. 

Her Wraxall Yard project, highly commended in this year’s RIBAJ MacEwen Award, converted old farm buildings into inclusive holiday accommodation with education and shared community spaces in an enriched, biodiverse landscape. It has been taken up by families with disabled members (60 per cent of bookings so far), by groups using the space for supported holidays for local disabled people and by a volunteer scheme for young people with mental health and/or addiction issues to get them into the countryside. ‘The quality of her buildings is clear to see,’ said judge Eleanor Young.

Her work has been widely recognised – she was designer in residence at the Design Museum and her practice was selected as one of the AJ’s 40 under 40.

‘She’s what a Rising Star should look like,’ says judge Lucy Clark.  ‘She’s set up her own practice in a difficult climate and is delivering high-quality projects at the same time as having a young family.’

  • St John’s Music Pavilion, Buckinghamshire.
    St John’s Music Pavilion, Buckinghamshire. Credit: Will Schott
  • At Wraxall Yard Blakemore has created accessible space lettings and community space.
    At Wraxall Yard Blakemore has created accessible space lettings and community space. Credit: Clementine Blakemore Architects
  • The farm experience at Wraxall Yard.
    The farm experience at Wraxall Yard. Credit: Emma Lewis
  • The older buildings at Wraxall Yard.
    The older buildings at Wraxall Yard. Credit: Emma Lewis

What piece of architecture or placemaking do you most admire and why?
I’m lucky that my child attends one of the 289 board schools in London. They are handsome, civic buildings that still function as neighbourhood landmarks. They are robust and well built with generous ceiling heights, large windows, excellent natural light and passive ventilation. The scale and materiality is both humane and dignified.

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