‘Inventing practice’ could imply a grand plan from the start, but our use of this phrase is more about learning through experimentation, the sense of optimism, the gradual improvement over time, and not knowing where you might find yourself.
To explore this idea, we invited our staff to participate in an open conversation, framed around a set of themes that we feel reveals something about the way we work together.
In this conversation, we are interested to speculate on how such continuities might be matters of process as well as architectural language.
At JWA there is an ever-present desire to revel in the process of making and to push the limits of particular trades or craft. When and how does the advice and process of makers from beyond JWA influence the design outcome?
John – An innate curiosity to know more about the process of making spans the history of the practice. This curiosity, and the knowledge that comes from it, gives us the confidence to subvert conventional uses of materials and systems.
One of our long-term mantras is to ‘appreciate the skills of others’. We have a genuine fascination with the chemistry of materials and the human qualities evident in fine construction. This can be as pronounced in digital fabrication as it is more traditional expressions of craft.
It’s good to get out of the office and visit highly skilled fabricators and tradespeople. We develop a deep appreciation for their work, which we then draw into our design process. It allows us to inflate the material possibilities. It gives us the confidence to use materials in a more flamboyant manner, or use a less rigid, conventional approach.
Mathew – Typically we do a lot of thinking before anyone makes anything. Familiarity and precision are useful and stoic; but a certain level of naivety and unfamiliarity can also produce unexpected results. A collaborative approach with experts in trades is fundamental to realising these experimentations.