We care about the environment. The technology of low energy buildings has become more commonplace, but the impact the building has on the environment is about more than energy and must be examined in a holistic way.
The resources consumed by the physical building process can come from near or far, and be the output of a highly industrialised process, or hewn by hand and assembled by skilled craftspeople. Each has an impact on our environment and produces a different sort of building. The palette of materials that is selected, whether clay stone and straw, timber and lime, or even steel and glass, give the building a particular energy that works upon its occupants at many different levels. Part of the design process is to find whcih materials will work with any particular site, and which meet the needs of the occupants.
The watery element is about more than servicing a building with pipes and taps. Water is in the land, falls from the sky and is breathed out by all occupants. The physical presence of water within or beside the building can be beneficial for our sense of well-being. We also need to consider how a building is protected from the rain, how that rainwater can be harvested and used, and how we use and recycle water within a building. With climate change we need to address future conditions, including floods and drought.
The very air we breathe can be polluted by the toxins produced by industrial construction components, or cleaned and purified by a healthy building biology. Many building materials use a wide variety of substances including volatile organic compounds e.g. formaldehyde. The use of reclaimed materials and VOC free materials is preferable and although harmful chemicals cannot always be avoided, a carefully designed air permeability strategy can help to mitigate their impact.
The dynamic energy systems in a building should be integrated deep into the architectural concept. If designed correctly the building fabric itself can do much of the work, using passive solar gain by letting in the low sun in the equinox periods, then storing it in the building's 'thermal mass', and shading the building in summer. Passive ventilation can remove the need for artificial cooling, and considering how a building can be adapted to meet the differing seasons can also reduce the need to heat or cool large areas of minimally occupied space.
We care about people. We believe in working towards a fairer world for all. We believe that good design and good business ethics can work together to help build a better future for everyone. The building industry is a huge consumer of global resources, and it is the responsibility of all involved in the process to ensure that work is carried out in a manner that preserves the dignity of everyone involved in the production chain across the world. We have learned that this does not need to add excessive cost, but may require some careful study of the supply chains and resources. Keeping trade as local as possible helps to ensure that the effects of the work we do is managed properly.
All buildings use natural resources, both in their construction and during their life. The Architect has a wider responsibility to future generations to ensure that damage is minimised and the effects of building are recoverable.
We are supporters of the 'World Land Trust' which is working towards securing forests around the globe for the future.
Increasingly, the materials used in the building industry can be traced from extraction to point of supply, and good work is being done to reduce wholly exploitative practices. However, there is still a long way to go in this aim.
We try to use local materials wherever possible, from companies with ethicial priorities, which helps to support the local economy and minimises transportation. Where it is appropriate to import, we try to ensure that the materials are ethically produced.
We are only here for a short time. Let us try to leave the world better than we found it.
We design bespoke buildings for their own individual sites. Organic architecture is about responding to the spirit of the place. Each place is unique, with its own geology, wildlife, landscape and history. Listening to the spirit of the place helps us to find the journey that is right for the project.
The concept of organic architecture goes much deeper than the use of natural materials and softer forms, it is essentially about bringing to expression the sensitive relationships that exist between things.
At the heart of our practice is the idea that the physical environment, the organisational structure, and the creative spirit of a building must each be in balance.
Many buildings today put the physical presence of materials and technology first, others are very artistic, but highly impractical to use. Organic architecture involves a balanced design process.
Nature has done a very good job of creating a wonderful and magical world for us to live in. Let us learn from this.
The resources consumed by the physical building process can come from near or far, and be the output of a highly industrialised process, or hewn and assembled by skilled craftspeople. Each has an impact on our environment and produces a different sort of building.