Running time: 30 minutes
John Thompson qualified as an architect in 1971, and is a partner in the London practice Hunt Thompson. He became increasingly aware, while working in the public sector for local authorities and housing associations, that he and his colleagues were losing touch with their real clients, the ultimate users of the buildings. He describes in this talk how they overcame this problem, by getting to know these people and their needs and working with them, learning to understand the complex relationship between the physical and the social environment.
The first of their experiences in this field was between 1980 and 1983, at Lea View House, a former slum clearance estate in North London which had fallen into disrepair. The transformation which they wrought, working with the people on the estate, has been widely praised and led to other large inner city projects. They instituted a rolling programme of new build and demolition, moving tenants into new blocks from the ones to be demolished.
Thompson also describes large-scale urban projects that his firm has been involved in. He is convinced that architects must get involved in the whole process of the way buildings are created, so as to provide an environment in which buildings and the people that will use them are in harmony.
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