The people’s place: why design shouldn’t just be for architects

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“I’D LOVE TO SEE NEW ZEALAND ARCHITECTS ENGAGING MORE AT ALL LEVELS OF THE COMMUNITY TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE IDEAS FLOATING AROUND.”
05/12/2017

Benje Feehan, Associate Director in our Auckland studio, writes on why design shouldn’t just be for architects in an article featured on Architecturenow.co.nz.

Architects are more in demand than ever, amid the pressure of building homes faster and creating the infrastructure to serve our ever-increasing population. While it’s a great problem to have, the skills shortage is the flip side of the coin. At Ignite, we’ve been proactive about training staff from within, but the thirst for quality design and liveable spaces is unquenchable.

So why don’t we get help from the experts on our towns and cities – the people who live there?

I’d love to see New Zealand architects engaging more at all levels of the community to take advantage of the ideas floating around. It’s healthy to have debate around how our cities and towns should function, and disrupt convention in a positive way. I believe in our ability as architects to facilitate bigger conversations around place and community. Tactical urbanism, one name for a grassroots movement that allows community groups, artists and residents to experiment with their own ideas through design for their neighbourhoods, is a great way to open these discussions.

Rather than taking the place of traditional architects, community-inspired movements like tactical urbanism help drive redevelopment and encourage conversations between planners and the people who live in their towns or cities.

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