Quality is never an accident it's always the result of intelligent effort
For an architect to be given an opportunity means that that architect has been trusted. A client has formed a bond. They have stated that they believe that the architect can do it.
Since our inception at the bottom of the 1990s recession we have never forgotten the debt we owe to all clients that believed that we could meet their needs and achieve their goals.
We will not fail a client's expectation nor miss an opportunity to succeed.
Sustained economic growth is not sustainable
The waters of the Antarctic are becoming stews of plastic; this plastic is being ingested by our fellow creatures. The Arctic is melting and there are storms abound in June in the South of England. Every ten minutes a species on this earth faces extinction. The streets in which we live are full of rubbish and the detritus of our lives. It's not just litter; it's remnants of our war with our environment.
Everywhere man has gone to war with our World. That is a real World War. We are winning and the World is losing.
We call it culture; economic growth; progress. Countries and people grasp it; lust after it, and seek badges of its existence. Wealth is a badge and we never have enough. Yet continuous economic growth is not sustainable, and when wealth, man and the environment interact, the immediate damage will be to the environment. We believe that it also damages man.
Successive ages have chosen the wrong path. Continuous economic growth is not sustainable. It will destroy the environment and mankind unless we find another path. This has little to do with being green. It has nothing to do with achieving the badge of BREEAM. That is just money to the BRE as any other form of business. It has everything to do with the way we live.
Consumerism; capitalism; economic growth; market drivers: is this how we wish to live? Do we really care little for what we do to others, other creatures, and our environment? Is success really measured by a bank balance, fashion, a green lawn and more rooms in one's house than one can live in? We have ignored the real value of existence.
It is our intrinsic value not to try and make our buildings look sustainable, but to seek the balance again with the environment, with the world in which we live. That is psychological; it is physical; it is connecting man again with his environment.
The design of a teapot and the design of a dress are bound up in the same ethos. If the teapot does not work it fails. If clothes do not fit, or if it does not make the woman feel good, they will fail to sell. Both can be fashionable, both can be marketed well; but if basic principles of good design are not applied then they will both fail.
Simplification and unification with the purpose.
A teapot that pours tea well; that does not drip the contents; that is comfortable to hold and does not burn the hand; that is balanced and not heavy; that feels that it has some worth; that evokes memories of joy and comfort in its users; has simplification and unification with the purpose of its existence.
A dress that fits and hangs well; that does not make the user's figure look like a bundle of laundry; that makes the user's figure elegant, although the user may not be; that creates a feeling of worth in the user; that leaves them with confidence; that is simple to throw on for all occasions from work to evening; that allows may accessories, and is not demanding; that evokes memories of joy and comfort in the user; achieving simplification and unification with the purpose.
This is form and function but it understands a different function, a human function; a real function, not an applied Corbusian or Miesian function.
Good buildings simply exist in harmony, understand, and realise the purpose of their existence: To create, allow the users to be comfortable in their building, to smile and to feel the same joy as they may feel with a favourite dress, jeans, bed, chair, mug or teapot.
We who work in this practice enjoy our work.
It is a source of nourishment.
It binds us together.
It rewards us and rewards our clients.
It is not sustainability. It is a way of life. It is a way of creating, of living.
To ignore the environment is to ignore our foundations.
To fight against the environment will lead to destruction of our work.
To work with the environment and use it as a source of our inspiration is the start of a successful journey.The environment will not make it easy for us. It will try to destroy our buildings from the inside and outside, and outside in.
It will employ entropy as its knight to break down the roofs, push over walls and tear apart the elements that give purpose to our buildings.
We should try to understand and respect the good as well as bad traits of this master of our lives.
We should design and build soft buildings that can absorb the energy of our environment, like bamboo absorbs and makes visible the beauty of the wind.
We should expect and love the patina of age that entropy leaves behind on our buildings. We should allow the ground, sky and water that surrounds us to be the essence of our work.
This is design approach born of respect and understanding. We try to understand the value of people's lives and the value that our design can impact to that. Our work will bring together that value with the enrichment of an environment for which we care.
The detail is critical.
Nothing is unimportant.
Failure will take place at the weakest point.
It is critical that there is no weak point.
Everything must be considered.
Consideration must be given to the impact of the finest detail.
It costs money and takes time, so treat it with respect, it will make a difference.
Build that consideration into the team; every team, even in the way they work together.
They may not need or want the big picture, but they need to travel in the same direction. They need to have the same journey to produce perfection.
Perfection does not necessarily take money and time; but the drive to perfect: service, design, manufacture, fabrication, construction, and review, is critical to success. Good enough, clearly isn't.
In two corners of the Portrait and National Gallery in London there are two paintings. They hide themselves away like the people they represent. Both driven people who did not know what they gave to the world. In one corner sits Dylan Thomas by his wife's lover, Augustus John. Welsh, talented and passionate, he is noted as being given to drink.
In another corner, quietly sitting amongst the pompous and large canvassed, is Van Gogh; noted for being in a mental hospital.
They were lost in their time, and discovered in ours. Lost in their country, they left only to find death in another. Both young, they left more than a bank account. They left wonder that will endure beyond the latest trend or fashion.
They believed in the only things they had to give the world: their talent and their passion.
As you walk through the gallery
and look into the eyes of those,
now in oil who gaze at you
from their place in history.
Ask where is your place
and what will you say
to those that follow?