MTUD have joined in with way finding architects, Placemarque to develop a way finding, identity and town centre investment framework for Littlehampton on the West Sussex coast. The project involves developing a strategy, which will link the town centre back into its seafront and beach and the new River Arun Promenade now under construction.
Registration is now available for the AoU, CABE seminar…
16.00 – 18.30 20th March 2014.
Chaired by Mick the seminar will bring together different points of view regarding growth and regeneration in what is a rapidly changing world.
The next stage of our Chorlton Central project kicked off this week with a start-up meeting for full client and design team. Brownies were served which was much appreciated. Earlier in the day we ventured up a scaffold tower to check the quality and state of the main hall roof, which has been hidden behind a dirty, suspended ceiling for over 30 years…
We are biased but it’s going to be great project and a real asset for Chorlton…
Here are two shots of Passport Office. I think it might be finished now. Built around the carcass of a kitchen cupboard I found in a skip. Most of the over skin is made of found objects painted with textured external paint. If you look closely you will find some small figures standing on the roof.
The name is a reference to Apollo House in Croydon which used to be the UK Passport Office. Built in the late 60’s it too has a wonderful wing on its roof.
Earlier this week I was invited to give a talk on well being and urban design for the North West Region RTPI event, ‘Planning for a Healthy Future’.
This is a subject I have been interested in for some time. Based on the New Economic Foundation’s 5 Ways to well-being the talk proposed a new approach and methodoogy for making new and happy communities. You can download it here: Happy by design
There is huge anmount of work being done on Happiness at the moment. It ties very closely with the emerging Mindfulness work which is spreading across the internet and, it seems, Waterstones in Deansgate.
For me its liberating and could be the basis for new ways of talking about design and place making over and above the usual design guidance we have. Its also very inclusive in that invites other professionals to get involved in design, particularly from the health sector. The 5 ways also puts the advantage back onto the developer and their design team to think more freely and creatively about how we can make lasting places. I have always thought design guidance should invite and encourage what could be done rather than what can’t be done.
I have just finished (again) George Orwell’s trio of English political novels, Coming up for Air (1939), Animal Farm (1945) and Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) Some of you know that Penguin have published new versions this year. Here are two of my copies of Nineteen Eighty-Four, ( I think I have about 4). On the left is my very first copy given to me at school while doing my CSE’s in 1974, 10 years before it was supposed to happen. It features a detail form William Roberts painting, ‘The Control Room, Civil Defence Headquarters. The other copy is this year’s Penguin, given to me for my birthday, designed by David Pearson.
Its brilliant in that its ‘redacted’ title (you can just see the words under the black in the right light) tells us more about where we are in relation to what Orwell wrote about regarding control, manipulation of truth and ‘Big Brother’. Of course many people take Orwell’s picture of a highly controlled society too literally. They say it’s never happened and that Big Brother doesn’t exist.
Plus those telescreens in Airstrip One, located everywhere, watching your every move, listening to everything you say and to whom, never really took off.
Well sitting on the tram this morning heading into the city I was completely struck by the countless number of people staring vacantly into their smartphones. Like the telescreens those things know who you are, where you are, what you are saying and to whom and through twitter, exactly what you are thinking – all the time. Unlike Winston Smith we all seem to be very willing participants.
The key question is who is watching it all?
Here is one of my heroes talking about ideas and work. Having ideas is not about waiting for inspiration to start. It’s about keeping your eyes open and having what Brian calls a ‘prepared mind’, that will notice things, see things, recognise opportunities when they appear. And they appear all the time. The effort required is simply the need to open oneself up to new things…seeing new relationships etc. No amount of analysis, or ‘doing things because we think we ought to’, will help you open, observant or productive. I like the fact that Brian says we need to ‘surrender’ to the idea, to the work…. become the work and put any ideas of ownership or ego behind you…. very yogic, and very productive.
Enthusiasm is the key says Brian. Its infectious but also helps drive forward ideas and solutions. Of course timing and luck is everything as well as a good dose of talent but if you are open, observant and enthusiastic the timing and luck will fall into place…