As architects, we must listen to the user groups, the communities and the funding and client bodies to produce designs that are responsive to an organisation’s needs. We listen and understand first before responding. There are many types of people that make up our society and our built environment must be more responsive to all of them – children, the aged, people with disabilities, families and single people.
When you visit or utilise a place, its buildings must celebrate its culture, customs, history, climate and future. We do not want imported or out-dated ideas that may only reflect passing trends from other places.
Our world is in a period of diminishing resources and the built environment must reflect our interest in minimising both the impact on our ecology and the consumption of energy. To this end, our buildings must be environmentally
sensitive to the landscape and sense of place and be ecologically sustainable. In recent buildings, e.g., ECU’s new library building, JCY is testing its philosophies and designs against the established ‘star rating’ system for sustainable development.
The starting points for designing a building are the site, the users and how it’s going to be put together. A design philosophy must reflect the way a building is to be built. The character, the robustness, the tactility, the lifecycle cost and the maintenance of each project is fundamental to its durability. Our philosophy with materials is for them to suit the purpose of the design. Our preference is for natural, self-finished materials that can age gracefully. The sensitivity in detailing and the assembly of these materials is the secret to their successful expression and the minimisation of maintenance.
An ability to change forms part of every brief for every project that is undertaken. Changes in technology, use patterns and even complete functions is a guaranteed part of the future of any building. Design must analyse, assess and respond to this fundamental issue.