Places to Live Annual Review 16

/ Chris Simmonds / Places to live

Our pavilion at the Royal Scottish Academy summed up our stance with regard to the direction of our housing design development, that is the reinforcing of the character of place whether, the urban fabric of the inner city as at Laurieston or the rural cluster of old farm steads on Bute, as a backcloth to the life of the community that live there. In a series of conversations the tie up between the experience of the interior of the house and the setting is manifest.

Making a house or flat should not to be seen in isolation. The question is the location of the house is crucial in two ways to influencing how we live, orientation and sense of place.

Orientation informs that interior experience, so in our supposed focus on the interior the houses need to exploit the external influences to shape the life of the occupants. In isolation the plan of the house needs to organise the activity and layout to maximise the sunlight penetration, take account of the noise of the neighbourhood, be conscious of the aspect and ventilating of our houses. This informs how rooms are connected and arranged, to exploit sun, reduce noise, exploit position. This require us to explore how we build technically to reduce waste of heat yet keep houses comfortable.

But what you look out into adds another second quality, how you approach your house, how you use the gardens or forecourts shape the life of the interior. It works at two levels how each house unit adds together to create a self-contained community of houses and how that community adds together to sit within this broader setting.

It is that synthesis of orientation of the individual unit and the collection of units in that setting that creates what we are aiming to achieve this year.