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May 22, 2017 \ Studio
by Suzy O’Leary

An architectural floor plan can tell a lot – space, movement light on one hand, approach, promenade, sequence on another.

“There is a method to running well.”

There is a method to running well; Suzy’s is to run the same routes every time. In each run some improvement is sought, little adjustments made, small gains towards better performance. In Suzy’s mind, it is the process which determines results.

So as with running, so it is with the process of making good architecture. The commitment to making good buildings is the marriage of the discipline of the long distance runner and an ingrained and consistent methodology.

At the heart of the process is the plan and associated with that, the rigour of reading plans, not as a superficial arrangement of rooms, but a deep immersion in the study of space. A real plan can tell a lot – space, movement and light on the one hand; approach, promenade, sequence on the other. There is nothing more satisfying than unpicking a good plan because in taking it apart, clues emerge as to how to put one together.

A snapshot of plan favourites would include two houses, one by an admired architect, the knot plan of the Casa Ugalde by Jose Antonio Coderch with its twisting promenade through approach, entry and internal passage. Another a product of personal collaboration with A2 Architects curating rotated internal volumes within a restricted clifftop site, notched at each of the turns to capture the spectacular views.

At the bigger scale two Indian examples, both experienced as part of a personal pilgrimage. The first Le Corbusier’s Mill Owners Institute, rooms free standing within a rigorous concrete framed armature, the second, Louis Khan’s Indian Institute of Management, an astonishing square masterplan ‘tile’ layout but with the tiles not quite touching to generate diagonal routes between the offset volumes.

These excellent examples apart, in her personal praxis, Suzy practices by seeking out little adjustments, small gains towards an even more effective plan, not to bask in the result of a career-defining resulting building but rather vindication and confirmation of the adopted process which leads to it.

“There is a method to building well.”


May 15, 2017 \ Studio
by Eilidh Henderson

The key is to remain open, so that each project is defined by a collective effort that resonates and amplifies the act of each individual hand.