Architecture can be described as a philosophical approach to a technical problem. Building is necessary – for shelter, for pleasure, for schooling, for culture – but the approach must be more than pure function. Feasible, certainly, practical, absolutely, but it must also be elegant and articulate.
The Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park headquarters in Balloch – ‘Carrochan’ – was Jamie’s first project with Page \ Park and it is an essay in structure, form and context, embracing contemporary construction techniques and marrying them with tactile traditional materials. The building is the manifestation of the client’s purpose and the context within which they operate. The plan is informed by the grid and the structure by the underlying architectural idea. This is construction but it is also poetry.
The centre for the War Blinded in Linburn is an evolution of this idea; a sinuous, double-curved roof that reconciles a series of complex structural challenges into a singular, fluid composition. The geometric foundation is a grid, but not rectilinear, exploiting the possibilities of the steel superstructure then concealing it out of sight.
If Linburn is an evolution of the Carrochan’s structural exploration, then the Theatre Royal extension is a reinvention; cracking open the grid in a subtle and quietly complex shift that defines the internal space. Rather than hiding away a forest of columns, beams and knurled joints, the structure is powerfully expressed as an interior feature. Carefully coordinated and artfully articulated, it becomes the signature of the building. Its foundation and its finish.
The Hawkhead Centre for the Scottish War Blinded – the same client as Linburn – is the most recent expression of this interrogation of structure, reconciling the architectural concept with its construction. The notion of a wing, sketched into a sweeping double-curved roof, delicately placed on a bright and liberating series of spatial events that allows the whole to be understood.
Structural integrity does not simply mean the visible expression of the construction but rather a clarity and legibility that comes from understanding it. By embracing this idea and its potential, coupled with integrated digital modelling techniques, we can realise a new honesty; a character that is borne of form and frame.