Carl Turner


Ståle Ericksen

If there are any positives from the last recession one is the discovery of thrift, recycling, the temporary and the small. In the development world perhaps, this is exemplified by the ubiquitous pop-up – particularly in London. But while pop-ups may be ephemeral ephemera, I hope their underlying values survive a return to growth.

For those of us who have been operating below the radar through the good times, going about our business quietly and producing the best we can on usually impossibly meagre budgets, it’s business as usual.

Small practices are lean, flexible and innovative. In general, and contrary to the popular belief of those commissioning public spaces and buildings, they are also inherently financially stable as overheads are low, and often basically work as co-operatives between partners. Unlike larger organisations, partners tend to be heavily involved with the design projects, ensuring a focus on quality and innovation rather than quantity and cash flow.

Architecturally, buildings and places are richer if they have been designed at a detailed level, from the inside out, and are specifically tailored and rooted in their local context. I would argue that the opposites true for masterplans and buildings conceived for their external form when seen from a distance.

Detail at street level is paramount and good large buildings are made of good small fragments, units or modules.

It’s time to celebrate smallness, fragility and the short-term.