Ian Armstrong, Director of ARCO2 Sustainable Architecture expands on a much-pondered question…

How would you describe architecture in its broadest terms?

This is a very philosophical question that architects ask themselves! Architecture is a Greek word which translates as ‘chief and creator’ and is loosely defined as ‘the art and science of designing buildings’. For me, architecture goes much deeper than this, it is a way of life, of thinking; an art form, a creative process, both technical and science based with the reality of creating something beautiful that does not harm the landscape. It is evocative, creating function, enjoyment, and a place for people and nature alike.

We borrow from nature the space upon which we build.” Tadao Ando

Are there different forms of architecture?

Yes. There are several ways to consider this; architectural styles through the ages, including art deco, gothic and modern architecture. Then there is sector-based architecture such as residential, commercial, conservation, landscape, master planning, interior and public. Green or sustainable architecture is also given a separate title, however I believe this should be integral to any form or style of architecture.

Architecture should speak of its time and place, but yearn for timelessness.” Franky Gehry

What can architecture do and why do we need it?

Architecture exists to create the physical environment in which we live, however architecture is much more than just the built environment, it’s also integral to our culture and changes with time; it’s a representation of how society sees itself and how we see the world.

Architecture is really about well-being – I think that people want to feel good in a space…. On the one hand it’s about shelter, but it’s also about pleasure.” Zaha Hadid

What does an architect do and what role do they play in the built environment?

It creates a sense of place, evokes a feeling, improves wellbeing and provides a safe shelter for people to live their lives. Knowledge, learning, analysis and creativity all play a part in the evaluation of architecture, which should be specific to the unique qualities of every individual site. An architect is a highly skilled professional who is responsible for the design of the built environment with regard to function, form, aesthetic, performance and, ultimately, overseeing the delivery. Often architects are the lead consultant managing the design and construction of buildings.

Sustainable Architecture: Open plan living, with statement staircase

How would you describe ARCO2’s style of architecture?

At ARCO2 we pride ourselves at well-considered, site-specific sustainable architecture that provides the user with health and wellbeing benefits and low running costs. Our designs, although modern, use traditional local materials to work in harmony with the landscape as well as the environment. We truly care and believe that a sustainable lifestyle coupled with ethical sustainable architecture should not be a ‘style’, but embedded in everything we do, no matter who you are or what your business is.

The good building is not one that hurts the landscape, but one which makes the landscape more beautiful than it was before the building was built.” Frank Lloyd Wright