Creating our future environment
Welcome to the Live section of abitslow. This section is all about how slow design affects or can affect our built environment, essentially the places in which we live, be they during work, recreation or where we call home.
There are two branches which we will be exploring in this section pertaining to the exterior and interior of these Spaces. Architecture and Interior design come together in every space we enter and move through, it is a balance which (when done well) guides you seamlessly from the outside world to the inside and connects the spaces in a way that expresses something about the location, the surrounding environment and the person or people the space was designed for.
Slow design is about “designing for people first”; it is local, responsible, sustainable and mindful. Imagine what could be possible if we applied these principles to the places we live. Homes that complement their families instead of the commercial “one size fits all”, offices that cater to employees’ needs and comforts creating employee loyalty. These and other topics are what we will try to tackle in this section, we hope you enjoy it, add to it, comment and let your voices be heard.
There are few principles which underline the meaning and practice of slow architecture. I’m Gilo and I will be bringing examples from the wider architecture discipline which express the principals of slow architecture through their design premise and their impact on the environment it is situated in and the people who inhabit these spaces, together with my own exploration and projects.
In general the term Slow Architecture can be regarded as building a building slowly and gradually as opposed to building it all at once. It is about looking at non-traditional models to construct a building which can also be cost effective. Similar to regional architecture Slow Architecture also places emphasis on the relationship between the built form and the context of its surrounding environment and society as means to value cultural and historical characteristics as well. Le terme di Vals’, a spa resort facility designed by Peter Zumthor, Antonio Gaudi’s ‘Sagrada Familia’ and Fumihiko Maki’s ‘Hillside Terrace’ meticulously planned over three decades are only a few examples of the manifestation of slow architecture. In the current climate and with future concerns of creating a more sustainable future Slow Architecture and more specific the slow home movements put much concern in creating spaces which are efficiently used, energy-efficient, attractive, that harmonize with the surrounding area, and create a smaller carbon footprint hence a movement away from size, and a movement toward quality and durability.
Hi! I’m Michelle, and as Gilo mentions above, the slow home movement is one leading branch of Slow Architecture/Design. I will be exploring not only the slow home movement which brings a more customized and considered approach to residential design, but also commercial, corporate and public spatial design. While not entirely sustainable focused, the Google office design is an example of a slow response to interiors, it is about the workers, about stimulating interest, creativity and it is user focused creating loyalty. By creating comfortable, tailored spaces we have a chance to increase staff comfort, job satisfaction and productivity as by-products of considered design. Other design firms such as Project H Design in America are trying to think outside the box and create flexible spaces which engage with the now “linked” generation. Children now grow up in a world of instant response mechanisms that react and interact with them instantaneously, how are they to respond to stagnant, non-responsive learning environments and curriculum? Design must adapt, and Slow Designs’ culture of user centred solutions is the key to unlocking spaces that add to the human experience in a more personal and effective manner. I believe the future is an amalgamation of people-driven design, environmentally responsible practice and socially/economically sustainable initiatives, to create truly “slow” quality environments for future generations to enjoy.
In summary, the architects and designers creating slow spaces are unlike their contemporaries, with artificial catalogue style houses with no sense of place or sense of belonging. They use unique and natural materials if possible both for structures and interiors. John Brown, the founder of Slow Home Studio explains that: “The difference between a fast house and a Slow Home is not defined by style, size, age, type or cost but by the quality of the underlying design. It’s about the fundamental organisational decisions that define how well the house responds to its context, how efficiently the rooms are organised together, and how effectively each individual space functions. In a fast house, this underlying design is flawed. In a Slow Home the underlying design is logical, effective and helps to make our lives easier while reducing our environmental impact.”
What more could we ask of a human habitat.
– Mich & Gilo
images – http://johnthrasher.wordpress.com/2009/02/25/google-office-are-neat/ | http://www.oneworkplace.com/ourclients/portfolio/google/portfolio google 7.html |