External office view

Our Studio

As a practice we have built a team around experience, trust and a common aim. We have been fortunate to work on projects of all scales from £100k extensions up to £250 million city centre redevelopments and throughout all these projects our personal connection to the client, being available to talk and to work with, not dictate too, is a core value of the practice.

We understand that the financial and emotional investment that is required for developing your own house or commercial scheme is a big endeavour, and the ability to pick up the phone or meet you and/or your team goes a long way in making this process the most enjoyable.

Our managing partner Justin has been fortunate to work in London and throughout the south west on both private residential schemes and large commercial projects, and his self-coined ‘optimistic – realism’ approach has put him in good steed with clients, providing a reassuring approach whilst encouraging the best out the site and the client. The experienced gained in working on some of London’s most prestigious projects, such as 22 luxury apartments in Westminster or the city centre redevelopments of ‘The Heart’ at Walton on Thames, as well as Croydon Councils office and regeneration schemes whilst at EPR Architects has enabled him to bring the benefit of larger commercial practices to OCRA Quality Assurance and technical design processes.

Relocating to Devon, enabled Justin to work on smaller projects and work directly with homeowners which reinforced his belief in being available on the phone to go through any queries and concerns that people had. Our number one value is to make sure we always call people back on the same day if we miss a call or have an email to make sure that we keep that connection to our clients and capture any ideas at the earliest juncture.

His work on education and cultural projects such as ‘The Box’ – Plymouth’s new art and cultural venue whilst at SNC-Atkins continued his exposure to working with local authorities and dealing with a wide range of stakeholders from community groups, student and academic bodies through to The Arts council. These experiences aided him with our commercial projects and larger scale housing schemes when approaching community engagement exercises and balancing the needs of a commercial developer with the desires of the local and wider communities.

Lewis is our design director, who, after graduating with a first-class honours degree went on to be awarded the Bristol Society of Architects Commendation and Deans Award for Academic Excellence. Lewis worked at PMA s for several years focusing on high end residential projects, as well as wider masterplanning while running a small design studio alongside. Lewis joined OCRA sharing the mutual ethos of providing an experience as well as just a service.

He believes that each and every design is a result of its context and setting and attempts to study local and wider vernacular in order to design in such a way that it hints at a characterising typology. This underpinning reference ensures that the scheme is appropriate, though it does not stifle innovation and/or a contemporary aesthetic. Instead, it blends a strong concept and narrative with an appearance which is ‘of-its-time’.

The design strategy often comes from a personal consideration into how the spaces are lived in, moved through, and enjoyed. It is essential to study every area of the design, from the entrance to exist, and explore key views and relationships within. Often, if you consider those areas and apply attention to detail, users will notice these details and appreciate the thought that has gone into every area.

Not only do we aim to serve our clients in providing highly considered buildings, but also an experience to match.

Our combined experiences have helped shape the view of a communal responsibility and open discussion from the studio team, along with the project consultants and wider stakeholders and most importantly the clients.

The rest of the team; Lloyd, Mark, James, Joanne and Scrumpy help us deliver this approach bringing the wealth of experience they have gained on projects both large and small, to our proposals.

In addition to these beliefs, the practice is designed to be an employee owned model where all the team share in the direction and strategy the company takes each year, and benefit in the gains and profits the practice make.

Our Ethos

Core values

Our aim as a practice is to:

Keep in touch with our clients and each other

We believe our families, friends and communities come first

Create a genuine fun atmosphere in our work and create a place where people can express themselves freely

Exceed our client’s expectations

We are willing opportunists

We are committed in giving something back to the community and the environment

We respect each other’s view and work for a common goal

We are committed to continual professional development

We want the employees of the company to take ownership

We constantly strive to do better

architects in barnstaple

The office dog Scrumpy