Understanding the poetic qualities of space, place and context – towards architectural phenomenology through a human centered experience
We should accept that architecture is a conversation and that the process whereby it is conceived and realised is complex. A work of architecture gives expression to the life for which it is intended: not only must it satisfy the requirements of the program, but its form should resonate with the diverse activities it contains within a specific context. Similarly, we conceive of architecture as a natural extension of its cultural and natural environs and recognise its responsibility to contribute enduringly and endearingly to the community by considering town and streetscape character.
Our architecture seeks an emotional response from its recipients while forming an inextricable link with its physical location, social and historical context. Space takes on a much wider meaning as we become critically aware of the influence of context and the significance of the historical morphology on form-giving and vice versa through the discipline of conservation of the built environment. It is through an analytical exploration of the built environment, with its unique capacity to connect concept with matter by giving expression to the multiplicity of ideas and attitudes within a society, why we seek to understand architectural form as a manifestation of cultural activity and values. We therefore search for the most appropriate solution in the context of each particular place in time, responding meaningfully to the present, while preserving continuity with significant contributions of the past.
The architectural practitioner and the client mutually engage in a process of exploring the values and choices that will evolve into the final form of the building. An architectural program lists quantitative requirements, which could often miss qualitative issues. Through dialogue, we draw out these subtleties and address the intricate concerns of a building’s character, presence and symbolism. For every project, an appreciation of the site and region’s landscape, climate and heritage deepens and enrich our design and construction process. These observations generate the development of new spatial ideas which aim to affect a transformation of the existing condition and offer a new potential to it. Through the evolution of seemingly modest conditions, something meaningful is added to the here and now.
This is a crafted practice with a multi-disciplinary approach, taking cognisance of the various elements which makes up our built environment – continually practicing to evolve an architectural phenomenological language based on the human experience – through asking who, what, why, where and when questions.
“For it is not metres, but a metre-making argument, that makes a poem – a thought so passionate and alive, that like the spirit of a plant or an animal, it has an architecture of its own, and adorns nature with a new thing.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Poet, 1844