We believe that ‘place’, particularly sustainable place, emerges when human aspiration meets local conditions, culture and materials in an inspired way. This intersection provides tremendous opportunities for design narratives and metaphors to surface that help focus design intent. And yet we also believe that design that simply uses ‘local’ materials without recognizing the community’s particular social, economic and ecological context, results in designs that lack relevance.
To that end our approach to design is informed by specific theoretical threads that we feel enable us to tease out contemporary design interventions, that are relevant locally.
Eco-revelatory design aspires to reveal endemic ecological process and affords a more direct connection between fundamental ecological process and the phenomenological experience of landscape. This is in contrast to the typical urban landscape’s, where ecological process has mostly been supplanted by anthropomorphic process.
This biofiltration swale in Bo-01 Malmo Sweden expresses ecological process in the urban environment.
Criticial Regionalism, is an approach to design that emphasizes a comprehensive sensate experience rather than simply what we see. Its focus is on tectonic form rather than scenography which far too often defines the urban landscape. Kenneth Frampton describes Criticial Regionalism an approach to critically assessing and ‘mediating the impact of universal civilization’ with elements derived directly and indirectly from the peculiarities of a given place’. Douglas Kelbaugh describes Critical Regionalism as possessing 5 essential design attributes -
“Love of Place, Love of Nature, Love of History, Love of Craft, and Love of Limits.”
It is a design approach that counters the increasing sameness and genericism that leads to placelessness. It “starts out with a love of place and avoids excessive importation of culture and technology from other place.”.
These are mutually supportive threads. Both emphasize the importance of local: local materials, natural processes and cultural specificity. Both inform, shape, and give purpose and meaning to our designs.
Norse God drinking and water fountain, Malmu Sweden.