In this lecture Ranbir Lal talked us through:
- some of his work as an architecture student
- some work from his architecture practice
- some site analysis
He spoke about how in design it is important to understand and analyse what already exists which will inform your design. The constraints of what is already there are often a good thing for creativity.
Ranbir talked us through a university project where the brief was to design a mental health facility in a diversely populated area of London. His starting point for conceptualising was to sketch a number of drawings about human interaction, which play a key part in mental health support.
He conducted a site analysis and found that the intended area for the facility was very diverse, inhabited by people from different cultural backgrounds and with divergent economic statuses. This shows how important a site analysis is – the building would need to sensitively respond to such a diversely populated area, and not serve to alienate its inhabitants from the surroundings.
In his drawings Ranbir first used metaphors and abstract ideas and then translated these into a model. At this stage he wasn’t attempting to create a finished building model – instead this was an expressive exploration.
Ideas into Reality
The task was to them translate these ideas, drawings and models into a site plan, to move from the abstract concrete reality. Key questions to ask at this stage were ‘what will this site be used for?’ and ‘what will people do in it?’
Architecture Practice Case Study – designing a new residential property
Ranbir explained what he needed to submit to the planners:
- a design access statement
- a description of the location
- the site to be worked on clearly marked out on a aerial plan
- photos of the existing site
- a model of the site
- a demonstration that he would be responding to buildings in the surrounding area (this to me seemed key in the architect/planner relationship)
- a model of the new building and examples of materials
- an aerial plan
Also important was to complete drawings of everything so that contractors would know exactly how to implement the design. Other important considerations for designing on a large scale were to think of practical matters such as how to get all the materials on site, how materials will weather, and crucially, will they serve their purpose?