Sometimes in amongst all the talk of the delivery of architecture - through discussions of fees, technical matters, building regulations and the administration of building contracts - it can slip the mind that architecture is first and foremost a passion - we do it because we love it.
This is particularly tangible and easy to relate in our projects in the arts & cultural sector. We spend our spare time in arts buildings, from visiting galleries to see exhibitions by our favourite artists, to going to the theatre, seeing a concert or simply dropping into a much-loved museum for a coffee and cake on a quiet Sunday.
This extends beyond the everyday and touches every aspect of our lives, in the time we spend outside of work and the places that we choose travel to. A discussion revealed that colleagues have travelled to Milan, Venice, London, Edinburgh and Puglia amongst other places to see cultural events, exhibitions and institutions in the past year.
This passion is crucial to our arts & cultural projects, not least because of how challenging these projects can be in terms of fundraising and achieving high quality in an increasingly financially challenged environment. It is anticipated that Brexit will impact the amount of funding available for the arts, both for operations and for capital projects, and this will demand even greater creativity from designers in the years ahead to achieve high quality with a smaller pot.
It also extends to the ‘extra curricular’ activities that we do in this sector, from office trips to see the Hinterland light festival in the abandoned St Peters Seminary in Helensburgh, through to attending conferences, organising ‘Pecha Kucha’ presentations and helping to arrange and take part in exhibitions such as the Ideal Hut Show and the Home exhibition at the Royal Scottish Academy last year.
Crucially, this interest in arts and culture feeds back into the work that we do – whether inspired by a visit to a cultural institution, an exhibition that we have seen or an artist whose recent works has galvanised us. Be it an interest in artists working in ceramics influencing the façade of a project, or the patterns of a fabric inlay inside an historic harpsicord inspiring us to inlay a pattern in a concrete soffit, our work is inseparable from our interest in the arts, and all the better for it.