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We are a small firm of Architects based in Dedham, near Colchester. Our practice specialises in new buildings, conservation of historic buildings and regeneration works with many completed projects in the UK and abroad. The diverse portfolio includes new houses, alterations and extensions, furniture, gardens, follies, pools, cartlodges and a superyacht. 


Rodney Black Design Studios Ltd. was first established in 1995 as Geary and Black Ltd., and took over from a practice set up in 1962 by the late Ronald Geary, FRIBA. Rodney Black became practice principal in 1999.

We have won numerous awards, including those from the RIBA, awards for craftsmanship and international superyacht awards.

Rodney Black studied architecture at the University of Auckland and Italian in Perugia, Italy, before qualifying at the University of Liverpool.


Lectures given by Rodney Black include the Suffolk Historic Buildings Trust at the launch of the updated Pevsner Suffolk book in 2015, and at the University of Auckland and Unitec University, Auckland, New Zealand in 2016. These lectures were centred around the way the various arch, vault, dome and truss structures work and the problems that have been encountered over the centuries in constructing them.


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We aim to use sustainable products and technology in all our projects including green oak, biomass boilers, heat pumps, photo voltaics and solar collectors.

Green Oak frame buildings have been built in the UK for many centuries. They are derived from Roman carpentry practice and have the potential for enormously long life. Some extant oak-framed buildings are over 800 years old. This is an approach to building with which we are very familiar having surveyed and conserved many of them. Our new green oak framed buildings are projected to have very long life, especially as the associated brickwork is laid in lime mortar. This approach to building has many environmental benefits including the carbon capture of the oak structure and the very low ratio of energy required for construction/useful life span.

With the strong trend towards energy conservation and the use of renewable fuels, we are taking the lead in every project we undertake to incorporate the new technologies and to reduce heat losses from buildings.

Photo voltaics (PV), solar collectors, bio-mass boilers and heat pumps are all technologies we are incorporating into our projects.


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We have been actively involved in the conservation of historic buildings for many years. Our work to date includes 5 Grade I listed buildings, 5 Grade II* listed buildings and numerous Grade II listed buildings and we have received awards for conservation and craftsmanship.

Conservation work includes mediaeval oak frame and infill panels, plasterwork including decorative and sculpted interior plaster and external rendering including pargetting, historic brick and stonework, roofing work of all materials including slate, tile (peg, plain and pantile), lead, stainless steel, copper, thatch (both straw and reed), repairs to windows including leaded lights and sourcing hand-made glass, preservation of wall papers, wall panelling, floor finishes including timber boards, brick, tile (including encaustic), stone, staircases, chimneys and chimney pieces, strengthening of buildings without detectable disturbance of historic finishes in the finished work (including underpinning and superstructure failures), installation of mechanical (heating and plumbing) and electrical services into historic buildings, reversion to original floor layouts where intruded walls, floors and ceilings are removed and the finishes restored according to the cues left by original finishes or other evidence of original finishes...and so on.

Our expertise led to our being chosen to spearhead the restoration of buildings designed by a British architect in 1895 damaged in the Great Hansin Earthquake which hit Kobe, Japan, in 1995.

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