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Last update Friday, March 25, 2016

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Technical Agency

The architectural career history of Chris Cooper RIBA (above right) is very unusual, and may conveniently be divided in to three periods.  

The first period was spent as an articled pupil in a practice founded just before the Arts and Crafts period, from which he learned invaluable lessons in traditional style and proportion.  The second period was spent with a specialist housing practice, responsible for more than 11% of UK housing during the 1970s.  Sophisticated techniques were used, predating the methodologies of computers and established CAD practice.  Sites were huge by today's standards, demanding extreme financial control by eliminating redundant structure, minimizing waste and maximizing the use of space.  The third period was characterized by a series of technical tasks involving research, innovation and novel procedures, several in the context of huge industrial establishments, including some of the largest buildings in Europe (top picture, right; the 95,000m2 Birmingham letter and parcel sorting office now better known as the Mail Box retail development).  

The new focus on energy and environmental issues were influential from then to the present day, which brought close contact with the building research community in which he is known by some as an 'intuitive designer'.  It should therefore come as no surprise that present work may vary from designing ceramic floor surfaces to developing computerized compliance test procedures and energy design advice.  

Cooper Research was founded in 1982.  In addition, Chris Cooper with two other principal architects founded SIGMA in 2000.


Projects have included prototype development and testing (internal wall linings): HSE restraint of high level falling glass: design of bespoke roof gutter profiles, flow rates, pipe capacities for roofing contractors: various forms of energy consultancy.  

For some years CR acted as energy advisors to Alfred McAlpine Homes for which a calculation model was developed automatically linking house specific data with elemental performance requirements.  The system also generated descriptive data sets directly from AutoCAD drawings for each house in successive portfolios each comprising numerous dwelling types.

Cooper Research was a project partner in the DETR funded  PI Focus 2000 research programme which advised BRAC (Building Regulations Advisory Committee) who operate as a clearing house for successive changes to various sections of the UK Building Regulations.

Any new challenge is treated with enthusiasm but conducted within the parameters of caution and testing appropriate to research and development work.

Chris Cooper is an accepted authority on the performance of highly glazed buildings and is periodically asked to advise on technical issues from within the manufacturing industry.

For details e-mail

Cooper Research
Juniper 21A Old Acre Lane
ST17 0TW

t: 01785 665315
m: 07905 215674
e: cjc@coo-res.co.uk







In the past many projects were for industrial clients such as Unilever, Bowater Corporation and the Post Office.  Most of these were of a technical nature, involving for example facilities management techniques or investigating buildings damaged by hazardous processes.

More recently the focus has been very much on one-off houses and extensions, because of the opportunities to demonstrate good design.  The house at Brocton (pictured right centre) for Gill and Chris Cooper was built as a shell in 2002 and is being completed by the owners.  Apart from being an exciting place to live (and within walking distance of Brocton Hall golf club) it is intended as a demonstration project.  Style and proportion and value are not expensive.  The house is constructed traditionally with largely standard materials (beam and block floors, normal hot rolled steel sections, dry lining, uPVC windows, balustrades and handrail components, bespoke internal doors made from standard frames and designed MDF panels.

The result is extremely photogenic, makes use of solar gains through apertures in all four directions, and is freely ventilated in summer by natural buoyancy (stack effect).  The house is inverted due to the attractive site, views to the rear, skyline to the front, and this arrangement provides an improved temperature regime with cooler bedrooms and warmer living spaces.

The previous home was Solar Cottage in Middleton which was adopted by the then Department of Energy through their agents ETSU at Harwell and research contractor Databuild of Birmingham.  The house (below) has been published in various documents including the published EPA (energy performance assessment programme for which it was a pilot).


Passive Solar Design Support in England and Wales, C J Cooper, 3rd European Conference on Architecture May 1993, Palazzo di Congressi, Florence 

ISBN 0-9521452-1-9

The 'Cooper House' in ‘Solar Energy and Housing Design’ b
y Professor Simos Yannas, Architectural Association, London. 

ISBN 1 870890 45 0 (two volume set).



Residential link: For examples of  exciting designs, comprising inexpensive materials, you are invited to have a look at the  Domestic Design Portfolio
Listed Building link: Current interior pictures of Brocton Hall development Brocton Hall