Architecture and People
August 21, 2017 \ Studio
by Joanne Hemmings
Great teamwork leads to beautiful, characterful buildings, with details which have been crafted from many different perspectives.
Architecture is the result of endless conversations. Sometimes we’ll engage with hundreds of people over the course of a project; from client bodies to building users, design consultants to contractors, statutory authorities to experts in archaeology and protected species. In the last 10 years, the wider public have also become increasingly involved with our work-in-progress through the internet and social media. Managing these conversations becomes a catalyst for creativity and helps to protect a collective vision. Showing that we listen, with flexibility and clear design, also helps to smooth the journey towards a building which meets the client’s needs and aspirations.
To successfully engage, our message needs to be crystal clear. Clarity is one of the most powerful tools in architecture. It wins competitions, it sells ideas, it improves efficiency and allows people of varying needs and cultures to navigate and inhabit our buildings. Some projects are highly complex in nature; large format multi-use, plugging into existing listed buildings, tight urban sites in busy pedestrian settings. We move forward by untangling the puzzles and clearly demonstrating our solutions. It’s a collaborative process and one which is driven by teamwork.
Very few buildings are conceived of and realised by one individual. In our practice alone, we have over 40 voices with a wide range of expertise and experience. The richness of our architecture is reliant on a collaborative process, where we communicate and negotiate with clients, designers, artists, builders and end-users. Great teamwork leads to beautiful, characterful buildings, with details which have been crafted from many different perspectives.
Character is embedded in all good architecture. It elevates the way people interact with our buildings and can help to improve our wellbeing and happiness. Character is often linked to purpose and function; a church should feel sacred, a school should feel inspiring, a home should feel homely. We strive to create rich, emotive settings through the careful layering of light, form, materiality, texture and colour. Memories become ingrained in these spaces and the architecture becomes a backdrop to our lives.
Architectural longevity helps to sustain our built environment. It supports our basic human comfort in the form of heavy walls, solar shading, appropriate daylighting and passive ventilation. It also reduces the waste, noise and disruption caused by the rapid turnover of formulaic, cheap construction. Adaptive re-use, which has become a prominent part of our portfolio, allows great buildings to remain in use long after their original function has passed. People care about this type of architecture, it becomes part of our history and allows the conversations to continue long after our job is done.
August 7, 2017 \ Studio
by Justin Fenton
Whilst we have a sense of separation from the past, by imagining ourselves in the shoes of the original makers and users, we have a whole world out there to learn from.