Objectives & Concepts
Ian Ritchie


Ian Ritchie, 1987

©Monica Pidgeon

This talk is about concepts. It is fundamental to the way we work that we set out to define very clearly our objectives about any of the projects which we are going to design; and the bases of these are often what we call preconcepts. They may be based in the sociology, the political, the economic or the anthropological sphere as well as the design environment. What I will illustrate through this are a number of concepts related to buildings which we've built and some projects which we hope to build.


House At Fluy, France, 1977

©Jocelyne Van den Bossche

The first of these goes back over ten years to the house which is called Fluy in France. This house is for a retiring farming couple, very Catholic with a very big family who'd lived all of their life in farmhouses which were very dark with small windows. And in their retirement they wanted to relate to the seasons and enjoy life. Both wore glasses. It was important at the very beginning to talk with them and to understand exactly what aspirations or what hopes they may have about how they might live during their retirement. And over a period of two years we talked. And what emerged was very simply they wanted to live in a garden and they wanted their bedrooms to relate to the sunrise and sitting in the evening relating to the sunset. So we conceived what we called an umbrella in a garden. In fact it's a.very simple box with glass walls. Layered into the glass walls are very subtly—included solar panels and passive solar collection. The most important thing to them was that it didn't exceed the budget of £30,000. Our de- sire was to create the garden that they wanted and for them to enjoy an environ- ment in comfort both in and out of the building.

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