There has been significant evolution in the design of commercial work spaces from cellular offices to hot-desking, Activity-Based Workplaces, co-working, and now, hybrid working. Academic workplaces however, have been much more resistant to change. Massey University’s College of Creative Arts (CoCA) in Wellington, New Zealand, provides a valuable exemplar in the exploration of new ways of working in the tertiary sphere. In this two-part blog, Nick Kapica and Nick Mouat share the story of the making and enabling of the CoCA staff workplace.
The central ‘forge’ meeting, eating & sharing space. Image courtesy of Nick Kapica.
When a new workspace for staff at the College of Creative Arts (CoCA) opened in 2015 it quickly gained attention within Massey University and also externally as an exciting exploration into Activity Based Working and Co-working. Te Whare Pūkākā (which loosely translated from Māori means the Hothouse) quickly helped staff discover other ways of working, improving their workplace experience, becoming more efficient, and building a healthy community. Within the first six months a number of other colleges began exploring similar principles, seeking advice from the CoCA design team and coming to use Te Whare Pūkākā to understand the experience, the possibilities and challenges it presented for the community who use it.
As we become increasingly aware of the need for regenerative design, Jim Gall discusses traditional architectural perspectives of sustainability and the need for architects to re-think design to ensure a more sustainable future.
Image courtesy of Jim Gall.
An overarching problem for now and the future is the design and making of human habitation that can sustain and be sustained by the ecosystems that support it. This makes sense as the way humans can continue to inhabit the Earth.
Southbank Centre is an organisation whose deep cultural output and audience engagement requires that they are skilled in curating experiences that embrace every dimension of time from the most ephemeral to the most enduring, within architecture, landscape and events across their entire site. Steven Smith of urban narrative discusses how low cost temporary interventions were used as part of the festival programme to test ideas before making commitments to expensive permanent alterations.
Southbank Centre is the largest integrated arts foundation in the world. Created in 1951 for the Festival of Britain, the 21-acre site on the Thames Embankment includes Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room, the Hayward Gallery, and the Saison Poetry Library.
The growing global B Corp movement is a testament to societal concern about meeting standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. UK architect Stride Treglown is one of over 4,600 businesses worldwide to have signed up and Pierre Wassenaar chair of Stride Treglown reflects on the initiative the practice is taking.
Sinking House is a message of warning, and hope, to communities across the world. Placed in one of the most iconic locations in Bath, Sinking House appeared semi-submerged and at a tipping point between Pulteney Weir and Pulteney Bridge. The exhibit coincided with the close of Stride Treglown’s Climate Action Relay.
B Corporations (B Corps) are businesses that are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, community, and environment. In February 2021, Stride Treglown, a large UK architectural practice successfully achieved B Corp® certification.
Traditional schooling models, characterised by cellular classrooms and ‘chalk and talk’, have been prominent since the Industrial era. Although there’s been much discussion around the need to evolve this model to one which is more engaging and relevant for today’s students, from the limited number of schools that have successfully shifted from conventional structures, it is evident how difficult this is to do. Fiona Young and Meredith Ash share the unique story of the Lindfield Learning Village.
Lindfield Learning Village is a progressive new K-12 comprehensive school located at the former Ku-ring-gai College of Advanced Education site in Sydney, Australia. The school has attracted widespread interest for its innovative approach to education and is one of the three schools profiled in the recent documentary New School, which presents the challenges of 21st-century education and explores the importance of design in generating productive responses. Although students are one of the primary users of schools, they rarely have the opportunity to contribute to or provide feedback on the design of their learning environments. This guest blog offers a perspective from a Stage 3 student who recently joined Lindfield Learning Village.
Lindfield Learning Village is located on the site of the former William Balmain Teachers College (Sydney, Australia) which originally opened in 1971. It later became the Ku-ring-gai College of Advanced Education followed by the University of Technology Sydney, before being acquired by the NSW Department of Education in 2014.
This year I started at a new school, Lindfield Learning Village. Now it wasn’t all sunshine☀️ and rainbows🌈 but I got there in the end. LLV is the most hands-on school I know and I like that about it.
In Part 1, Simon Foxell discussed the need to refocus our approach to projects and our professional duty to discover whether the briefing we deliver is effective and results in the intended outcomes in countering risk. Here, he addresses how we need to respond to the challenges of concurrently managing demographic change and reversing damage to the environmentin a joined-up way.
The temptation on the part of governments faced with major challenges could well be a regulatory move to a rigid system with a limited number of solutions intended to deliver certainty. This represents the very antithesis of briefing, with its explorative and open-ended approach, configured to encourage innovation and bespoke solutions to individual problems. Voices may warn policymakers that rigid systems rarely succeed and, with a horse that has already bolted, a far more responsive approach is required; but the temptation to enact strict dirigiste measures may be overwhelming. Briefing urgently needs to develop an alternative to this that combines certainty on a range of outcomes, a relaxed approach to others; possibly including matters of zoning, style or privacy; with flexibility on how they can and should be delivered. Outcome-based briefing and specification is, of course, not new, but the imperative to make it work is that much greater.
In this two-part guest blog, Simon Foxell discusses the challenges of briefing in the context of risk and uncertainty and the need to address concurrent issues of managing demographic change and reversing environmental damage.
We live in a risky and increasingly, riskier, world, or at least a world where we are much more aware of risk than ever before and tend to employ avoidance strategies of numerous sorts. That such strategies rarely address real risks and prefer to focus on perceived ones with their, now familiar – but apparently almost impossible to contain, cognitive biases shouldn’t obscure the need to factor in real future risks. Briefing is, amongst other things, a matter of effectively, and with the right tools, projecting rationally into the future, describing its needs and dangers and flagging up possible ways of dealing with them. It is a means of coping with uncertainty by gathering and interpreting information that reduces that uncertainty. It attempts to mitigate risk: to the project, but also to the wider context – social and environmental – and much else beyond.
Stories of struggles to make technology work are unending. As long as there are technological developments, whether a book, an overhead projector, video conferencing or buildings equipped with complex automated systems which call for re-humanizing architecture, such stories will continue while the actor playing the role of the technology changes. Picking up on Adrian Leaman‘s earlier blog on the five most important things to think about in architectural briefing, Sam Cassels illustrates the plight of the nervous presenter confronted with an overhead projector.
Eventually, from behind the rustling stage curtains a bewildered head appeared at floor level. Like a convict emerging from the wrong tunnel. The small figure extracted himself on all fours from the clutches of the heavy drapes and then quickly leapt to his feet, and smiled at the invited audience as if he had just sauntered on after the now distant introduction.