Kenworthy Road Progress

Very exciting to see the concrete cantilevered slab being poured at our Kenworthy Road project. It is good to be out of the muck! The concrete upstands will go in after this and then the steel will be measured and installed before the timber walls and floors….slowly but surely we are getting there!

89A - slab.jpg

O'Donnell Tuomey

Marvellous lecture. Slow to start but opened up with a timely discourse about the design process. It was refreshing to hear from those who have really continued their early focus in form, vision, approach and interest and now have the strength to say ‘I liked that [form, petal, shape etc.] and so I started using it and built according to that’. It is a refreshing feeling in the context of architectural education now where, I feel, everything has to be so justified that the core of a design is rationalised away from that individual approach and the starting inspiration into a common ground of ‘design by consensus’. The personality of one soul is eclipsed by an egalitarian need for it to be accessible from all souls. I’m not advocating a ‘stararchitect’ veneration of a lone genius but, rather, the appreciation and value of personal taste, desire and curiousity that shapes our integrity as designers and grants a unique voice.  Ultimately, they knew HOW they designed, how they wanted to approach the source of their inspiration and how they would develop it; what materials they would turn to, what techniques they wanted to employ (although, not always as the vision of a large cantilever heralds a wider, more inventive solution…) and the overall atmosphere they wished to create. In short, it was the peace that came from the straight-taking humanity that showed the architecture for the natural progression it was and should be – a collaborative undertaking that is filled with response, intrigue and playfulness.

Marvellous lecture. Slow to start but opened up with a timely discourse about the design process. It was refreshing to hear from those who have really continued their early focus in form, vision, approach and interest and now have the strength to say ‘I liked that [form, petal, shape etc.] and so I started using it and built according to that’. It is a refreshing feeling in the context of architectural education now where, I feel, everything has to be so justified that the core of a design is rationalised away from that individual approach and the starting inspiration into a common ground of ‘design by consensus’. The personality of one soul is eclipsed by an egalitarian need for it to be accessible from all souls. I’m not advocating a ‘stararchitect’ veneration of a lone genius but, rather, the appreciation and value of personal taste, desire and curiousity that shapes our integrity as designers and grants a unique voice.

Ultimately, they knew HOW they designed, how they wanted to approach the source of their inspiration and how they would develop it; what materials they would turn to, what techniques they wanted to employ (although, not always as the vision of a large cantilever heralds a wider, more inventive solution…) and the overall atmosphere they wished to create. In short, it was the peace that came from the straight-taking humanity that showed the architecture for the natural progression it was and should be – a collaborative undertaking that is filled with response, intrigue and playfulness.

Photo 27-10-2018, 20 14 40.jpg

Living with Ruins

I was on the Isle of Skye the other week, indulging in the weft of land and warp of sea under an expansive sky, and thought arose about the remnants of past civilisations, their physical and mental proximity and how they are included within working culture and, more specifically, their affect of working architectural practice.

This topic has an expansive and wide-ranging feel to it being both general (also applies to my Italy topics) and rather personal. We live around the marks and mounds of past cultures, the functional spaces made for redundant uses, refashioning all in a constant swirl of development. The City of London is this on steroids.

But my main focus is that of the practical reuse and reinstatement of certain buildings. Is there a need to keep Pevensey Castle a ruin when the evidence of millennia of reconstructions and redesign is evident? Does it not strike you that, with this evidence of the practical use of an existing structure, it marks our era out archeologically as some fearful neutered one, scared to add to that palimpsest for fear of making a mark?

The affect of living with ruins – specifically architectural – has a wider reach into our concurrent psyche that we might otherwise give it credit for. To me, they give a visual cultural anchor, a reference point that subliminally contextualizes my present thoughts and the actions of my practice. They curb hubris where it might awaken in the joy of a project completed that is viewed with complete perfection – as much as a mother to a new child – and extends a greater critical eye to it.

This is a topic I want to expand further but it will have to wait till I have more time to devote to it.