We would like your professional contribution for the above annual FOCUS feature which makes the first issue of the New Year.
Please answer the Q&A concisely, but add other information should you deem it necessary.
Is contemporary architecture the best way forward – and why?
I take it by contemporary you mean “in the moment”..? If you are not “in the moment”, you are somewhere else, in someone else’s branded fantasy, braced against the pain and pleasure of who you are, what you are afraid of, and what you might want, or truly think, NOW.. “In the moment” means being conscious, both critical and creative. Being ‘in the moment’ is challenging. It forces you to re-evaluate, continuously, and to maintain relevance. I suspect , however, that you are actually talking about ‘style’. Style is an outcome, not a generator.
In the current global recession have the parameters changed insofar as workable solutions in architecture?
Since I have never had the luxury of a client without a limited budget, I have always tried to make the minimum move to achieve the maximum effect… A bit like chess. It was ever thus.
The current global recession is essentially creatively challenging in terms of energy saving/generation models and materials. There is real potential here that this pre-requisite holds for potentially revolutionary architecural futures.
Insofar as the population migration to the cities, how can architects contribute to a solution?
Architects’ contribution to cities will only come via a commitment to operate on the line between their critical and creative faculties .They are the very specific holders of a highly specialized spatial intelligence.
Architects always used to be the visionaries of the city. These days architects have too often allowed themselves to becomes reduced to a service industry in thrall to any master’s voice. Architects need to take back their positions, to take responsibility for the effects that design has upon the city and society.
Compromises – discuss them as far as developers and their control of design?
Developers are not particularly interested in society or its well-being. Developers are interested in money and all the artifice that money encourages. Public space has become confused with the spaces of shopping and consumption. Architects have abrogated their responsibilities.
Define what constitutes good architecture in 2013?
Healthy. Relevant. Feel good. Minimum means to maximum effect. Fair. Encouraging of democracy, of free speech, of self-hood, of honest ambition. Allergic to pretension. Aware of its effect upon social dynamics. Aware of its environment both in form and in function. Conducive to growth and inspiration, in all terms.
Outline the new methodology and any key materials?
I don’t take a fascist line. I am allergic to fashion. What can be shown to work, works. Creative thought, inspiration – these can be realised in many different ways –in as many ways as there are people, places and imaginations.
Eco-conscious design costs more? Is it a solution in a tight economic environment?
Of course. It just means less money for expensive knick-knackery at the higher end. Effectively it should encourage a more highly considered design philosophy that is based around economy of design and means rather than an approach based on profligacy. The relationship between architecture and landscape becomes important, for example, and even this simple design approach can change the way we experience space and place. In low-cost scenarios it defines a requirement for more revolutionary thought. It also means building in future conduits to technology that may be too expensive to lay in now.
What do you see as key elements going forward?
The ability to interpret ourselves with honesty and irony. Critical thought is a pre-requisite to creation whether in art or architecture . Architecture is an art – it frames us, and it frames our vision of the world. Us and them, you and me.