For architects the origin of the word to join is rooted in the idea of carpentry. It is what we do, joining materials to create envelopes for the communities we serve. Like the word construction, an incredibly constructive exercise!
Of course that term has sprouted a plethora of broader interpretations spanning from its original physical meaning of dowels, bonds and gluing to a now, less tangible and broader social understanding of both belonging to a community and making links between communities.
Many of our projects explore this approach to the creation of joined up places, within buildings or urban setting. The simple principle being followed, that by joining activities together, the result will be increased levels of occupant and community interaction.
It is a big ask. At the level of making we are dealing with largely inert materials, thinking about how through time they will work with each other and change. Imagine then the challenge of dealing with the dynamic of how people and groups interact in the envelopes we make?
We apply three principles in our guide to the ‘joined up’. The first in recognising the importance of ‘memorability’ in joining up with the past such as in the restoration of historical set pieces in our project at Clydebank Civic Heart . Then asserting the importance of ‘permeability’ in joining up different settings and communities explored in the opening up of the plan of the perceived to be closed Kings Buildings Campus at Edinburgh University.
Finally promoting across all our projects, the support of ‘sociability’ in the creation of settings that nurture interaction through inclusivity rather than exclusivity – critically breaking down barriers. Now that’s an interesting idea, delivering the ‘joined up’ not by construction but by demolition.