/ Sarah Jane Storrie / Creative Workspace

As Architects we interact with clients, consultants, contractors and our colleagues on a daily basis but are we collaborating with them? Collaboration is working together to achieve a shared vision, it isn’t splitting the project up in to parts, rather working together to maximise on each others strengths to create solutions.

In the 1930's the American Architect Raymond Hood commented in the New York Times Magazine that “there has been entirely too much talk about the collaboration of architect, painter and sculptor; nowadays, the collaborators are the architects, the engineer, and the plumber...Buildings are constructed for certain purposes, and the buildings of today are more practical, from the standpoint of the man who is in them, than the older buildings... We are considering effort and convenience much more than appearance or effect"

Of course Raymond Hood was speaking at the cusp of new ways of looking at how we build.

It is still true now, collaboration with the engineer and the plumber cannot be underestimated, the co-ordination of structure and services in our architecture is vital to a successful outcome, as is highlighted now more than ever before with the implementation of BIM throughout the industry. Both of these elements have a massive impact on the comfort and appearance of our interior spaces.

But perhaps Raymond Hood's pragmatism is worth revisiting as now to a certain extent, new technologies ease these collaborations. Is it not also true that collaboration with artists can enrich and add joy to the experience of the interior spaces we design?

Our project at Martyrs Kirk, a reading room for postgraduate students at St Andrews University exemplifies that point, whilst the interior insertions sit are to be seen as a juxtaposition with the elegant architectural vaulting of the interior, a more subtle relationship has been explored in relationship to the historical stained glass and an illuminated series of bookends to the cases created in partnership with Bespoke Atelier. Collaboration here has enabled new relationships to be explored which would otherwise not have been possible, one which revealed the quality of the interior as being about light and delicacy not simply elegantly contained function.