Ash Sakula operates wherever people are looking for creative design solutions to real problems in architecture, urbanism or landscape. They are imaginative, agile and friendly, dogged in the pursuit of beauty and in finding ways to do a lot with a little. They work on an unusually wide range of projects in Britain and overseas, including regeneration, he arts, education, creative industries, housing and public space.
The Big Picture
They are interested in the specific culture of a project and that is always their point of arrival and source of inspiration. They involve clients and users from the start, when ideas are fluid but particular enough to stimulate debate.
They enjoy the challenge of testing the brief to its limits and a trampoline of strong opinion to work with. They are also curious and energetic in pursuing design options but opinionated and decisive when the time comes to move forward.
The Inside Picture
Lots of our energy goes into finding a sensory calm, equilibrium in scale, and the right visual ‘loudness’ for the elements of our architecture. Equally as important are the tactile qualities of the materials they suggest, the way sounds live and die in a space, the way a room smells when you walk in to it. They make sure that things that slide slide, things that shine don’t buzz, and that water stays in the right places. They pursue constructional innovation at the same time as often rediscovering the cleverness and relevance of traditional solutions. Sometimes they are phantom architects whose interventions are nearly invisible.
The Longer Picture
Feedback loops and continuing relationships are vital in architectural development. Each project learns from the one before. The best way to achieve sustainability is not simply to choose ‘green’ materials but to recognise that building is by its nature a counter ecology.
There is a need to make buildings that are clever enough, flexible enough and simple enough to outlive transient uses. This approach makes best use of the embodied energy of a building: the current view of life expectancy in architecture is too short.