How to develop small sites – an Archiboo/Rare Space conference

Thursday 27th September, 2018 | 9am-2.30pm

Black Swan Studios
2-3 Black Swan Yard


The second conference on how to develop small sites will look at the holistic mix of skills needed to undertake a development and what other factors should be understood, such as winning the trust of local communities to make projects viable.

The agenda is designed to respond to the prevailing economic climate and the shifts in the property market that are opening up new opportunities for independent developers.

Fast-paced and packed with valuable information, the conference format consists of five topic sessions with three speakers, ending with a networking lunch.

The conference has been organised by Archiboo and Rare Space.

Conference details

Conference registration 8.45am-9am

9.05am Robbie Erbmann, Director of Housing Strategy, TfL, will open the conference

Session 1 – 9.15am

Where are these small sites?

Architects are often best placed to spot the potential of awkward, compact sites but how do you go about finding a site and what are the obstacles that need to be overcome?

Speakers are: Amin Taha, Groupwork + Amin Taha, John Smart, Craftworks, Steven Chance, Chance de Silva

Session 2 – 9.55am

Why be a developer?

Development carries risks and this session is about what motivates someone to undertake development and some of the lessons they learned along the way.

Speakers are  Christian Spencer-Davies, AModels, Olivia Reynolds, Lobe, Pat Hayes, Be First

10.35am – Coffee

Session 3- 11.05am 

Funding the development

Should you develop independently or in a partnership and joint venture with others? In this session we’ll hear about some of the funding options, cost control and some of the legal entities to minimise risk.

Speakers are: Neil Murphy, director of TOWN, Mary Riley, Custom Build Funding, Richard Brattle, Robinsons

Session 4 – 11.45am 

Alternative routes to development

For community groups and not-for-profit organisations, small sites is a way of delivering 100% affordable housing. But as this sector opens up, we need a more holistic understanding of what’s involved, including an understanding of new financing models.

Speakers are Maria Brenton, OWCH, Tony Wood, Start , Hari Phillps, Bell Phillips

Session 5 – 12.25pm

Learning from doing

In this final session, we hear from three speakers who have all undertaken development from a single building to an entire live/work community, and what they have learned along the way

Speakers are: Sam Jacob, Sam Jacob Studio, Tanya Kalinina, MBBK Developments, Eric Reynolds, Urban Space Management.

Closing remarks – 01.05pm

The conference summary will be given by Roger Zogolovitch, whose book, ‘Shouldn’t we all be developers?’ has just been re-issued and will be available to buy at a special conference discount.

Lunch – 01.15pm 

01.55pm – Tour of Marklake Court.

Hari Phillips will be leading a tour of Marklake Court, which is 5 minutes walk away.

If you are interested in joining the tour please email us at [email protected] before September 27th.


Photo credit: Mikhail Riches


Robbie Erbmann is Head of Housing Strategy at TfL. His previous roles have included working as Special Advisor at the Cabinet Office as well as senior advisor roles to both Tessa Jowell and Ken Livingstone.

Eric Reynolds has been involved in dozens of urban regeneration schemes including Camden Lock and Spitalfields Market. At Trinity Buoy Wharf, he pioneered the idea of converting shipping containers into building while developing the site for arts and creative activity.

John Smart is the director of Craftworks that encompasses architecture, development and construction.

Steven Chance is a founding partner of Chance de Silva that has developed several sites- all on derelict or blighted land. It’s most recent project is a fluted concrete house called Vex.

Christian Spencer-Davies is managing director of AModels. Together with others, he is proposing to redevelop Camley Street/Cedar Way Estate to provide hundreds of new homes for local people while maintaining local businesses.

Sam Jacob is principal of Sam Jacob Studio whose work spans urban design through architecture, design, art and curatorial projects. He is developing a new mixed use building in Hoxton, east London.

Mary Riley works with lending institutions on funding for residential regeneration projects, with a particular interest in ‘Green mortgages’.

Tanya Kalina is a co-founder and director of MBBK Developments, an architect-led development company and a partner of McAdam Architects.

Maria Brenton is a leading expert and advocate for cohousing and worked with the OWCH (Older Women’s Cohousing) group to help establish the only senior cohousing community in the UK.

Neil Murphy is director of TOWN focusing on getting proper urbanism through planning. He was previously economic advisor to Newcastle City Council.

Olivia Reynolds developed property in London before moving to Berlin where she founded development company Lobe that recently completed an arts building in the city.

Amin Taha is chairman of GROUPWORK, an employee ownership trust to allow architects and other disciplines to collaborate withing a long-term and open structure.

Marion Waller is the lead advisor on the Réinventer Paris and an advisor to Jean-Louis Missika, Deputy Mayor in charge of Urban Planning, Architecture, Attractiveness, Economic Development and the Greater Paris Projects.

Roger Zogolovitch is a developer and the creative director of Solidspace exploring new typologies of housing.

Hari Phillips is director of Bell Phillips Architects that has recently completed Marklake Court, a new build housing scheme working with local residents from the outset.

Richard Brattle is a chartered accountant with Robinsons Accountants, an Old Street mainstay, which has a strong pedigree in helping entrepreneurial start-ups with an emphasis on property-related businesses.

Pat Hayes is Managing Director of Be First, an urban regeneration company wholly owned by Barking and Dagenham Council. The company aims to deliver 50,000 new homes and 20,000 jobs in the next 20 years.