Our Story .
We are an award-winning social venture working on climate-specific design, research, training and behaviour change initiatives. Our projects highlight the causes/consequences of climate related hazards and showcases strategies for adaptation and resilience to these threats.
We work internationally on projects at a range of scales and are driven by the challenge of designing for adaptation to a changing climate. A pioneering design research methodology is used throughout our work, ensuring strategies are rigorously grounded and clearly communicated, to create enriching spaces and places.
Our team has a trans-disciplinary array of skills which we utilise throughout the work that we do. Founded in 2013, TEDS areas of expertise include strategies for resilience to; Flooding, Heat Waves, Extreme Cold, Drought, Wild Fires, Energy Shortages and Earthquakes. Within our design process we also incorporate good practice principles of daylighting, ecological design and high quality placemaking.
Over the past decade we've worked with a fantastic range of clients + partners, including;
Founded by Ed .
TEDS was founded in 2013 by Ed Barsley.
Ed is a designer, author, artist and entrepreneur. He is an expert in environmental design, with a particular interest in developing strategies to improve the resilience of communities and the built / natural environment. Ed grew up in the county of Kent in England and at 18, moved to India to teach in the Himalayas. On returning to the UK, he began a degree in Architecture at the University of Sheffield. Before his final year, Ed worked in Shanghai for an architecture practice and did field research for his thesis on traditional Chinese Watertowns, with a particular focus on their function/connection with natural systems. He spent his weekends exploring the gardens of Suzhou and the surrounding Watertowns. In 2008, after completing his degree, Ed moved to Copenhagen to work for Arkitema Architects on the design of future schools and low-energy housing. After his time in Denmark, Ed came back to the UK and undertook training in Permaculture design. He then moved to Cornwall and spent a year helping to build a timber frame ’Segal Method’ inspired house in the woods called ‘Koeschi’ and became trained on a range of 1:1 sustainable construction techniques. During his time in Cornwall, Ed worked for the modular straw bale construction company Eco-fab and its environmental architecture sister practice Arco2. Their design for sustainable housing was shortlisted in the St Austell Eco-town project.
In 2010, Ed left Cornwall to undertake a two-year research-led masters in Environmental Design in Architecture at the University of Cambridge. His early research at Cambridge focused on reducing the impact of heat waves on cities and their inhabitants and moved on to explore the specific issue of flood risk in coastal contexts. Par docks in Cornwall was selected as the study area for the research, as it is susceptible to impacts from sea level rise, storm surges and tides as well from overland surface water flows. His research culminated in a design of a ‘town that would remain open to the sea whilst safe from it’… and one that could gracefully and gradually adapt to changing conditions over time. His project was shortlisted in the Landscape Institutes international ‘Flood Ideas’ competition and won the Flood & Coast innovation competition. During the course, Ed had a placement with JTP and worked on the design and environmental testing of low-energy blue/green communities and cities as well as helping to develop a bio-climatic handbook for the practice. Alongside his studies, to supplement his income and get some much-needed fresh-air / headspace, he worked as a gardener and landscaper.
After Cambridge, Ed went to work at Baca Architects in London. During this time he was involved with the Climate Adaptive Neighbourhoods Study (which won the RIBA Presidents Medal for Research in Practice) and helped in the creation of the ‘Future Cities’ chapter of the RIBA book ‘Aquatecture’. In May 2013, Ed set up his own design practice, ‘The Environmental Design Studio’ (TEDS) and later that year became a trustee and Creative Director at the charity Small Acts of Kindness (SAOK). Alongside running TEDS and his work at SAOK, Ed moved back up to Cambridge to begin an EPSRC-funded PhD in Architecture, with a focus on flood resilience and the communication of risk. His ‘Retrofitting Resilience’ study looked at how to assess the flood resilience of an existing community and the ways in which it could be adapted to reduce the impacts and speed up recovery times.
In 2016, TEDS (in collaboration with JTP) won the Sunday Times ‘Resilient Home’ competition with their design, the ‘Home for All Seasons’, a development resilient to flooding, overheating, extreme cold, energy shortages and societal change. In 2017, Ed ran the ESRC-funded ‘Flood Narratives’ study with Public Health England and the Environment Agency, which focused on developing new tools to communicate flood risk. Over the years Ed has given lectures and taught resilient design at the University of Tokyo, Nottingham, Brighton, Royal College of Art, Central Saint Martins and Cambridge. He’s given keynote lectures at national flood conferences in both Japan and the UK. Since 2018, he’s been delivering the RIBA’s training on flood resilient design and TEDS has been working with CIWEM and others to develop the UK’s national training on this topic.
In 2019, Ed’s company TEDS was selected to join the Cambridge Social Venture incubator. In January 2020, Ed’s RIBA Book ‘Retrofitting for Flood Resilience: A Guide to Building & Community Design’ was published. It showcases design strategies at the catchment, community, street and building scale, features case studies from around the world, and discusses flood resilience in relation to existing communities as well as the design of new developments. Emma Howard Boyd, the former Chair of the Environment Agency & UK Commissioner to the Global Commission on Adaptation said; “We’re at the start of the Climate Decade. The Ideas in this book are exactly what we should be doing to adapt."
In late 2020, Ed launched the 'Hazard + Hope' initiative, with the aim to not only communicate good practice principles around environmental design but also to showcase many of the inspiring ‘proof of concept’ examples of ways in which people have made their homes or businesses more flood resilient. These stories are shared in ‘Grand Designs’ style documentary series called, ‘Our Flood Resilient Home’ and ‘Our Flood Resilient Business’.
Over 2021-22, Ed lived on a 100-year-old Oxford Barge on Eel Pie Island on the river Thames. In 2022, he spoke on the climate stage at Glastonbury and later that summer launched the Climate Creatives Challenge, an international design competition supporting new and novel approaches to climate communication. Entries came in from 44 countries around the world for the most recent challenge and to date, the competition has been supported by the WWF, Flood Re, Natural England and Historic England.
Over lockdown, Ed had the idea for an augmented reality mapping tool called ‘Our Catchment’, which would bring together stories, experiences and spatial data on the themes of water, heritage and ecology. TEDS are now busy developing and testing this within Blue Heart, one of the Environment Agency’s 25 national innovation projects.
Earlier this year, Ed spoke at Fully Charged Live, the world's No.1 Electric Vehicle and Home Energy Show. He was so inspired by what he heard and saw that he’s begun converting an electric VW ID Buzz into a campervan as part of a new low-carbon travel/rental business he’s calling Climate Campers.
For the past 3 years, Ed and TEDS have been working on an ‘Eden Project’ style living lab / test-bed for resilience called ‘The Hydroscape’. This international exemplar will showcase a range of strategies for resilience that are applicable to the built and natural environment.