About Me

 


“Origin of Architect : From Greek αρχιτέκτων Master Builder, Carpenter.”


I’m primarily a maker and designer. I came to architecture through 20+ years of hands-on experience in site carpentry, joinery and building contracting. I designed and hand-built my own sustainable timber-frame house, and this led me to formal training in architectural design. In 2006 I enrolled on a BSc (Hons) Architectural Technology degree because I wanted to be able to put numbers to the building processes that I knew, instinctively, were better for both building occupants and for the planet. I followed this up with an MSc in Technical Architecture at Sheffield Hallam University, one of the UK’s leading centres for teaching Architectural Technology.


I’m interested more in the process of designing of buildings, rather than in their final form. My qualifications are in architecture as a science, rather than as a fine art. Before the mainstream had woken up to the need for green buildings, I was directing frame-raisings; building with recycled materials; specifying finishes and materials that wouldn’t kill me or my clients; living and experimenting with wind and solar power...


I started out with trees - processing, joining and shaping timber, the most carbon-neutral of materials. I later pioneered the use of gravel-based reedbed systems for the treatment of wastewater in Ireland in the 1990’s. More recently, I’ve been designing and installing living roofs and exploring the use of rain gardens for Sustainable Urban Drainage (SUDs). This use of biological processes to carry out ‘engineering’ functions has carried through to much of my academic and design work. I feel that the cutting edge of sustainable architecture and engineering will be where they merge into biology - not in terms of form, but in terms of process.


Perhaps this interest in biological processes as a model for optimal design elegance is what led me to build a RepRap 3D printer, an Open Source project with an evolutionary ethos of self-replication and crowd-sourced optimisation. Recently, I have been exploring 3D design, both on-screen and in model form, and exploring a wide range of software to make this possible, from simple Sketchup to Building Information Modelling (BIM) packages such as ArchiCAD and Revit. At desktop scale, I am modelling with 3D printing and laser-cutting as a direct analog of concrete-printing and CNC-machining. These, I believe, point towards the future of building construction.


Since returning from taking the Luma sculpture to Burning Man Festival in 2013, I’ve continued to hone these skills by 3D-prototyping furniture and smaller design projects in collaboration with various designer friends based around my home in East London. I print with PLA, a starch-derived bio-polymer which is more sustainable than oil-derived plastics.


I am an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists, and am continually seeking the type of project which enables me to put into practice this combination of practical, scientific and design disciplines, as the next step towards my full Chartered Membership. My architectural heroes would include Frei Otto, Shigeru Ban, David Adjaye... - practitioners who achieve design elegance through experimentation with relatively mundane materials, and through a genuine understanding of Louis Sullivan’s often-touted phrase ‘form follows function*.’




* “Whether it be the sweeping eagle in his flight, or the open apple-blossom, the toiling work-horse, the blithe swan, the branching oak, the winding stream at its base, the drifting clouds, over all the coursing sun, form ever follows function, and this is the law.”