Transition Culture

An Evolving Exploration into the Head, Heart and Hands of Energy Descent

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I no longer blog on this site. You can now find me, my general blogs, and the work I am doing researching my forthcoming book on imagination, on my new blog.

1 Apr 2015

New Transition Network office is a load of rubbish


Transition Network is moving offices!  Since the organisation’s inception in 2007, it has been housed at 43 Fore Street in Totnes, in a building once described in the Sunday Telegraph as a “rickety set of rooms”.  The decision to find new premises was taken 3 years ago, but after a fruitless search for new premises, a different solution was suggested.  A small building plot, close to the office, was purchased, and we can announce today that our newly-built office will be our home from the end of this month.

In keeping with our ethics, the new office is entirely built using recycled materials.  It took staff a year to collect enough stuff to build it.  As TN’s Office Manager Jo Coish put it:

“The Board decided on an approach where we used recycled stuff, so anything non-compostable was fine.  Old bottles, plates, traffic cones, old shopping baskets, pallets.  Our builders were up for the challenge.  Oddly, people in the town were more than happy to donate.  One guy turned up with a full skip”. 

The new office is the talk of the town.  It certainly stands out from the traditional Elizabethan architecture for which the town centre is known.  But how is it to work in? TN’s Ben Brangwyn:

“It’s a bit of a squeeze to get us all in, but I like the toilet seat windows.  I’m less convinced though that the stairs, made from old Jeffrey Archer novels, will prove too durable, but it’s all the kind of thing you get if you sign up to Transition”. 

The new building's north gable.

The plans managed to bypass conventional planning controls by being proposed as an art installation rather than as an office building.  This is one of the stories told in Lucy Neal’s excellent new book on Transition and the Arts, ‘Playing for Time‘.  “I think these offices will prove to become iconic”, she said at her recent book launch, “as a living, breathing example of Art inspiring Transition, and Transition inspiring Art.  I also managed to empty all the crap out of my garage”. 

Many people in Transition had already got wind of the project, and it has already inspired several similar efforts.  Transition Black Isle are reportedly close to completing the UK’s first seaweed and superglue office, and Transition Norwich are putting the finishing touches to their REconomy Centre built using a highly innovative system using prefabricated panels made from old ‘Last of the Summer Wine‘ video box sets.