We like handmade buildings. We immerse ourselves in research, interrogating the potential of our projects and our staff. We talk about these things as a practice and employ architects who understand and enjoy the purpose of this dialogue.
At BAA our approach to each project is necessarily unique: what kind of building is correct for this place? It may be modest or startling. We aim to ask the questions and engender the conditions to create a spark that ignites the imagination... how should we reach beyond local context to create something more; something bold, lean, cerebral, playful and surprising? Context is good and a necessary crucible for good design. But so are the currents of global ideas that might create a set piece to rise above local issues and help defi ne a new standard.
Beyond all that, buildings require some kind of vision or inspiration to transcend the obvious, to delight beyond a robust professional attention to process.
Embrace irrationality. Balancing rational analysis with irrational ideas, the irrational life of a building is examined through the existential consideration of each tentative design. We create architecture that allows the stories of everyday life to be told.
This is more than meeting a brief: to tell stories of everyday life, architecture must be generous enough to accommodate the full gamut of possibility. Patterns of life, work and art change quickly. Our buildings create new spaces that facilitate these changes and fl ex when they change again.
Question everything. As Louis Kahn said “Brick, what do you want to do?”. In other words, let your materials speak to you. Good briefs are open-ended, and allow for a wide range of responses. Who is going to call your building home, and what do they want?
Anything is possible. Constraint is a powerful design tool. Architecture faces limits on all sides, and yet each of these constraints presents an opportunity. Our cities are dense and complex places with many restrictions on what architecture can be, and our best cities restrict freedom in design to force ingenuity and innovation. Write a rulebook for each building. Design is iterative and thrives through evolutionary development of an idea offset by irrational moments of inspiration.
Doing more with less is an obvious means to more sustainable buildings. We like to use materials in a way that supports their inherent strengths and capability. In architecture, this ‘economy’ can easily get lost in a desire for apparent simplicity, and buildings might become complex or bloated in a hunt for meaning.In distancing the user from the workings we are protected from complexity and we might then fail to understand its meaning. Engineering and design should be united in architecture. We like to show the structural elements of our buildings, and make them expressive. We design building services to be seen, acknowledged and understood.
Tell a story. When we design larger buildings we pick up the threads of the narrative spaces around us, and then construct a new story that informs our buildings. This makes for exciting spaces that people want to use, and desirability is a potent force for good architecture. As we inhabit a space we need to be surprised as it unfolds, and intrigued enough to look and understand it more closely.
Think Inside out. We always try to think differently. Our cities can be made one interior space at a time; from enormous spaces in the arenas of the Olympic Park, to smaller, intimate or domestic rooms. The spaces between our buildings take on interior qualities as a requirement of the increasing density of cities, and it is that sense of interiority that we must celebrate and fi nd meaning in.
We work with artists, manufacturers, local people, engineers, writers, landscape designers and makers to inform, and disturb our design process. The ideas we discuss and test collaboratively are more rigorously examined and better design is the result of a more collaborative design process.
If you see yourself fitting into our studio values and culture do not hesitate to say hello or send us your CV. We are always on the lookout for fresh perspectives and the next generation of ideas. We believe in personal development and giving our architects a platform to grow and get involved with exciting opportunities.
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