Oliver Simpson (He/Him)
The Lynn Scobie Memorial Prize for Architecture
I believe architecture has an immense power to effect social change. I am interested in how all people experience space, and how architecture can reinforce social and cultural expectations – which currently don’t cater to the diversity of our society. This year I have furthered my explorations into well crafted, socially responsive architecture, and am keen to take this onwards through my future work.
Located in Balloch, Scotland, this project is a dolls house, if you will, for Sistema. At the core of the scheme is a frame, that in small but important ways, is adaptable and allows Sistema to grow. Embodying their program of ‘life long learning’, the scheme provides a useful tool suitable for all ages and can be wielded in flexible ways.
Energy: Loose fit long life
The core idea of the scheme is interlinked with its approach to Energy. The project is adaptable in that it implements the idea of ‘loose fit long life’, making services compact and providing a frame for adaptable spaces in-between. This adaptability will hopefully give the building a longer life as its spaces can be changed easily to serve Sistema’s or another owner’s needs. Embellishing and celebrating sustainable design decisions, it elegantly expresses its highly sustainable skin of windows, shades and vents.
Landscape: Inclusive and informal
The buildings’ language sits in-between the vernacular and contemporary. Complimenting the existing landscape and expressing its modernity. The campus is welcoming, highly legible and non-institutional, expressing Sistema’s core ethos, which is all about inclusion, playfulness and diversity. It enriches the landscape with civic buildings and public realm, in place of the previous boring, car-centric infrastructure.
Culture: Non-prescriptive Play
Linked with the approach to Energy, the project embodies the idea of ‘non-prescriptive play’. It provides all the elements – the tools – required for Sistema’s teaching and cultural philosophy, without prescribing how they should be used. Instead of imposing a programme on the buildings and users, in the way architects traditionally do, there is ample scope for spontaneity and improvisation.