Ian Bogle – Creative Director, Bogle Architects
In this issue of OnStream, we were excited to once again catch up with Ian Bogle, founder and creative director of Bogle Architects, after we interviewed him four years ago. Valued member of Tenderstream since 2014, the flourishing international practice has gone from strength to strength, becoming a major player in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and across the world stage. Read on for Ian’s very latest updates on projects and plans….
Your breakthrough into the Czech market effectively happened while you were in your hotel bath looking at Prague Castle. Here, news came through that Bogle Architects had won the competition (which you were first alerted to via Tenderstream) for the Extreme Light Infrastructure Beamlines laser testing facility in Prague. The completed project has since garnered great acclaim, but what aspects please you the most personally?
Yes, we’ve won a variety of international awards for the ELI Beamlines project. I suppose the aspect that pleases us the most is that we’ve continued to work with our client, the FZU, (Physics Institute of the Czech Republic) on three other science projects in and around Prague where one is complete, one is due for completion next month and the other ready to start.
How big is the team in your Prague studio now, and do you spend a lot of time working from there yourself?
Obviously, during the Pandemic my movements, from my London base, were restricted however Viktorie Souckova and Barbora Markechova (the local directors) run a good show, so my involvement is more creative lead, morale boosting and answering questions aside from any ‘day-to-day’ management issues. We now have over 35 talented staff in the Prague studio which is slightly more than our London studio – all in all, though, we are approaching 60 people which is logistically more complicated now, for example, as we all had a rendezvous in Paris just before Christmas.
The only annoying issue is that every time I go to Prague I now come back with two more stamps in my Passport...
Christmastime in Paris sounds like fun! Where did you all meet up?
Under the Eiffel Tower of course!
When we last interviewed you a few years back, you had just won the tender for the Mephared medical pharmaceutical faculty project, also in the Czech Republic, which you described as ‘super complicated’. You weren’t at liberty to give much detail on the project at the time, so can you tell us more about it now? What has made it so complex?
Mephared II is 700,000 sqft of laboratories and associated space. It is a Medicine and Pharmaceutical Faculty of Charles University and, with over 1000 individual spaces for research the operational dynamics between ‘research’ and ‘break-out’ space became quite a challenge – but that’s the fun part. The project is due to start on-site anytime now.
You’ve been working on a prestigious list of commercial and academic developments in the Czech Republic ever since ELI Beamlines, for example, the Hagibor and Borislavka commercial zones in Prague. Can you say a few words about some of the most high-profile ones?
Hagibor is over a 2 million sqft masterplan which we have led since winning the competition, and we are now doing the execution stage on the 1 million sqft of commercial space. I was on site last month walking around the first two commercial buildings which are coming together nicely and the views, even from level 2, are quite spectacular.
Another project we are very proud of is Sarecky Dvur - a niche luxury residential project located in a Mediaeval setting in Prague 6 - which has also won a substantial number of awards.
Bogle Architects has also gained an impressive reputation in Slovakia, with projects such as the LEAF educational campus. Have you plans to open a Slovakian studio next, and what are you currently working on there?
We have no plans to open in Bratislava even though we have completed commercial, UNIQ Staromestska, and residential projects there now and have another four ’on the books’. It’s fairly easy to service from our Prague studio and we are mostly involved in residential lead projects in Bratislava, however, we’re looking at a few other educational opportunities.
We have also recently launched a major refurbishment project of the historic Dunaj building in the city centre which is breathing new life, and a new operational programme and new complementary features, into this respected local landmark.
Since you founded the practice in 2012, Bogle Architects has become an international name. Taking anywhere in the world, what are some of the most unique projects you’re currently working on?
Well, believe it or not, we have worked in 28 countries so far. I do a talk to universities and other interested bodies called ‘From Bogota to Beijing’ which chronicles 11 projects across the globe over our 11-year period.
We have completed a 20-storey residential project in Bogota, schools in Singapore, Ho Chi Minh and Dubai, and science projects both in Prague but also Oxford. We’ve seen the change from ‘lab-enabled offices’ to ‘office-enabled labs’ in our work at the Oxford Science Park – which is also a response to the ways of working after Covid. I’m not saying the 1.5m office planning grid is dead but it’s not as relevant as it used to be in the way we are using offices now post the Pandemic.
We are also working on a large mixed-use regeneration project in Porto, Portugal comprising purpose-built student accommodation, commercial incubator ‘start up’ space, residential buildings and a historic building refurbished into an F+B [food and beverage] hub.
Any other major projects in the pipeline that you can mention?
Project Duga in Belgrade is keeping us busy – a major regeneration project for Serbia amounting to over 3 million sqft of development, while at the other end of the Baltics spectrum, we have a beautiful private spa about to start on site somewhere secret in Croatia.
We’ve come close to a couple of competitions in Africa and we are continuing to look at that region for opportunities – being on the same timeline helps!
We also have been doing quite a bit in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in some existing and new sectors for the studio, but we’re not at liberty to talk about any of that yet … maybe for the next update in a few years!
Well, we look forward to that! You recently gave a talk at the UK Government’s LocatED team on innovation in international schools. How did that go, and what’s next on the speaker circuit for you?
I hope it was well received and I hadn’t appreciated how big the chief executive, Lara Newman has grown the LocatED team. There were inevitable questions about whether some of the innovations we’ve managed to create internationally would work in the UK. Where there is a will there’s a way I’d say!
I’ve been doing more and more speaking both publicly and to private organisations recently and have just returned from Shenzhen in China after speaking at an Educational Futures Conference. That seems to be the trend these days as my next talk, but one is on a panel at the IPSEF [International and Private Schools Education Forum] conference in June in London on the future school design.
I’m speaking at REBEC [Real Estate Belgrade Exhibition & Conference] in Belgrade just before that, which is an international Real Estate conference and my topic there is about sustainable design and carbon-neutral development. Our recent school project in Dubai is carbon neutral in operation and we, alongside many others in the industry, are doing more research on embodied carbon.
You’ve told us in the past that you value the Tenderstream service, and probably would have missed the ELI Beamlines opportunity had it not been spotted on a Tenderstream Alert. Does this continue to be the case, and have there been any further openings you might not have known about without the service?
We continue to subscribe to the service as there is always something interesting bubbling under in those lists, particularly for regions in which we may not be currently active …
Watch this space!