Studio Pen & Inc

Our underpinning studio challenge is ‘liveable cities’ – inhabiting a city and challenging what makes a city a liveable place. Our studio is concerned with materials, places and people. Spaces and Places. Macro and Micro.

Past projects have focussed on: walkable cities and cycling networks, green routes, public transport infrastructure and large socially levelling public places of leisure. We have considered architecture of hospitality and generosity in ‘a place to stay’ and we have considered being mortal in a city and collective memory.

This year, our live projects, spanning over two semesters, have been rooted in the site and ambitions of client ‘Safe Regeneration’ and their #Destination Bootle vision; re-inhabiting a moment of the city along the Leeds Liverpool Canal and designing a vibrant healthy connected liveable place for its community.

The site sits alongside the Leeds- Liverpool canal and is nestled between this, a local railway line and major arterial route. On the site sits the Safe hub (due to be demolished) former St Mary’s School and (the now safe owned and run) popular pub; ‘The lock and quay ‘with its sunny canal facing aspect, live music and generous hosts.

Used on occasion by Safe for large scale music festivals the site is otherwise largely empty but is beautifully energised by its committed and ambitious Safe community. It already feels a special place bordered with mature trees, canal and crisscrossed by public foot paths

In semester one students’ research with stakeholders, community, clients, underpinned the development of their own manifestos to articulate and strategize the core values of the project and to respond to fragile futures challenges.

They created models and designs to embed those values in the physical landscape, the buildings and communal spaces of the site. They focussed on macro and micro, big ambitions and small detail, masterplan and site activator, blue sky and manifesto.  They examined and reimagined Safe’s #Destination Bootle masterplan and designed a small demountable canoe and canal heritage hub site activator to generate activity on the site and excitement about future proposal.

In semester 2 the underpinning manifestos and spirit of the activator of semester one were translated and developed into actionable architectural devices in the detailed designs of core housing elements of the masterplan and all associated external spaces.+

 At all times the bigger picture and attention to detail has been attended to simultaneously. Students considered thresholds and transitions from city to neighbourhood to block to unit – from public to private. They considered entrances, approaches, circulation, flexibility and human engagement with safe lived and worked environment.

Students have defined and embedded strategies and innovation responding to ‘fragile futures ‘challenges to address housing for tomorrow –nurturing a whole life community. This whole life community .The responses to economic, climatic and social challenges varyingly combining,

(+For example a manifesto point which stated an ambition of  for example ‘green living’ , developed mechanisms for how this would be achieved , e.g. planting of orchards ,allotments , car share points, electric charging , bicycle provision, rainwater irrigation systems etc.)

Students’ fragile futures propositions involved strategy and innovation Students focussed on social inclusion, green infra-structure, passive and active environmental responses and smart innovations. Connected neighbourhoods and places for vulnerable communities to safely live work and play. They considered ‘Safe in Bootle and Bootle in Safe.’

The work has sat alongside the tender for and appointment of architects (EWA) to take proposals to planning (summer 2020).

The work of the students has fed into conversations with client and architects about possibilities and solutions. An exhibition of the students work was constructed at SAFE to accompany the launch of an event ‘Community Hubs what works and why ‘by Dr Kerry Traynor trustee and lecturer at UoL funded by Power to Change.

Initially students also worked alongside Comms and Media students who were to make films of SAFE and process as part of their Yr. 3 Viral video module. COVID 19 brought to an end this collaboration as C and M students changed their focus to the pandemic and our students’ exhibition remains locked in at Safe. 

Thank you to Dr Kerry Traynor and Brian Dawe CEO of Safe regeneration and to the Safe community for allowing us access, for your quiet hospitality, and for sharing your aspirations.

To our committed and courageous and uncomplaining students who have stepped up to the challenge of ending their UG studies remotely, of leaving their work and models behind, of finding ways to communicate and press on so effectively – congratulations and thankyou too .

With respect, your Studio Pen and Inc. team.

About Safe

{‘’ #DestinationBootle is a community-led housing development which aims to create a new community comprising 200 homes fuelled by geothermal renewable energy, as well as a creative enterprise hub, a canal-side pub and restaurant, a canoe hub /marina offering moorings for canal boats. The project, located on five acres of land surrounding Safe’s current St Mary’s site, is part of a wider £100 million plan for the metropolitan borough of South Sefton (Sefton Council, 2017), in the northern part of the Liverpool city region.’’ safe regenClientSafe Regeneration is a spoke and wheel community business originally delivering participatory arts workshops across North West, now a registered charity which offers business enterprise support, business incubation units and artists’ studios, arts programmes and community based horticultural habitat and ecological management service.  Funding from Homes England has empowered Safe to re imagine and take control of its plans for its gifted site. }

Studio Students

Yuliang Bai
Will Barker
Zhuoling Cai
Florence Chau
Claudia Cockerill
Farokh Damania
Isabel Daykin
Zhixin Deng
Luke Fawcett
Flora Grayson
Yilin Guo
Hannah Harvey
Huiling He
Frances Hedgley
Maisy Holland
Lizzie Jacques
Sam Kadiri
Dylon Kay
Adam Kerrod
Yi Koh
Tom Leadsom
Jiayang Li
George London

Chunwen Luo
Xinyun Mei
Nathan Pilkington
Daniel Pritchard Clarke
Haoyue Qiao
Vicky Robertson
Stanley Smith
Dingkun Song
Georgia Steer
Jess Tillman
Kyle Vadher
Daniela Vateva
Qi Wang
James Watson
George Whitehead
Chris Wilson
Manxin Xiong
Jia Yang
Jianfei Yu
Junrui Zhang
Zhengyang Zhang

Sandy Britton Studio Lead.
Sarah Green Another Architecture and Interiors
Tony Lees DK-Architects
Giles Wheeldon Ian Chalk Architects (semester2 )
James Nicholls Munro Summers Architects Rory Allen Feilden Fowles architects (semester 1)

Guest Critics

Luke Cooper Arhitectural emporium
Dave King shedkm
Ardi Rexhepi Ford Rexhepi Architects
Simon Cadle Turner.Works
Dave Gilkes DK -Architects


Ted Ruffell
Dr Hanmei Chen
Dr Stuart Gee


Brian Dawe Safe Regeneration
Dr Kerry Traynor Safe Regeneration and UOL