Building for users

Two things from The Brits who Built the Modern World (BBC 4, 13 Feb).

“I was really fired up by the idea of architecture that you can manipulate, and that you can change, and that’s responsive to the users.”

Nicholas Grimshaw talking about what led him to write his final year thesis, a response to the context set by Archigram.

(Or at least appearing to be; there’s stacks of match cutting in the documentary, and it all feels like a pseud’s-‘I love 1996 architects’. Still, an informative an hour despite the arch voiceover and the vaults across time)

(I remember, when I first met him, Matt Jones insisting I explore the work of Archigram. I never got round to doing that, partly because he also insisted I meet James Bridle and Matt Webb, and read Global Frequency, and make Phonogram vs The Fans, and about half a dozen other things (AND that was about a month before meeting Anne… it’s been a powerfully weird five years). But the idea of an architecture practice that dealt in the form of imagination, trouble and ideas instead of buildings is extremely relevant to my interests)


“Buildings don’t arise out of thin air, they’re generated by needs – the needs of people.”

Norman Foster, on how building the Fred. Olsen Lines terminal demanded working with people across the company hierarchy to get a sense of their requirements for a shared space.

(This being one of those moments where working with [user needs] means you see instances of [user needs] leaking into the real world)