Making Things Happen
David Rock (Rock Townsend)


David Rock, 1986

©Monica Pidgeon

I'm going to talk about architecture in context. This means not only the physical context, that is relating things to the site, adjacent buildings and so on which is comparatively easy compared with what I am talking about, but in context to society's needs, the social context that is. Responding to these perceived needs brings work and commissions, but that of course isn't the main reason that we do it.


Sketch By David Rock

©Rock Townsend

This painting which I did at college some thirty years ago gives me a chance to relate the words in context. It's better to have this healthier attitude to setting out to get work that is by responding to society's needs rather than foisting architects' demands, on wanting work, onto people. I'm going to talk about these ideas and show the architectural results. That will be the first part of my talk. The second is to emphasise the need to have a design basis. Lastly, relating all these to the effects on architectural education. The ideas that I'm going to talk about are a whole new scene, whole new attitudes. It's the alternative architect, the 'bottom up' approach rather than the 'top down'. It's called by different names, things like professional entrepreneurs, enablers, facilitators, social entrepreneurs, initiators, the third force, but it's all to do with making things happen. It's to do with new forms and patterns of economic activity. It also means new forms of professional service and professional codes. It brings in management and financial and other building-related skills. It's a whole new rich world for the architect, rich in many senses. In this section I'm just covering four examples, four kinds of these ideas. The first is about work space, that is firms in one building with central services. The second is about development trusts which are people getting together in an area to look after their area. The third is about a whole town called Ware. And the fourth is about project initiation, with several examples of that.

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