bOb Van Reeth reminded us of the importance of designing buildings for an unknown future. In a time of rapid demographic change and constant innovation in domestic and working environments, a truly holistic way of addressing sustainability considers buildings as a series of layers, each with their specific temporal dimension: the structure and urban elements should be built to last for several centuries, while the lifespan of installations, internal layouts and finishes is necessarily much shorter.
We are interested in exploring ways of expressing continuity — or rather the coexistence of past and present — at an urban level, while exercising an economy of means and being sensitive to the requirements of environmental and cultural sustainability. In our search for inspiration, we draw on the work of third generation Arts & Crafts architects (Norman Shaw, Charles Voysey, Hugh Mackay Baillie Scott to name but a few) whose buildings reinterpreted the local vernacular with considerable inventiveness, experimentation and surprise. We too aspire to an architecture capable of responding to ever-changing conditions with originality and flair, building on the legacy of what Lethaby referred to as the “English free building”.