Foreground Activity, Background Architecture

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Simon shares the Group Ginger approach to architecture, creating social spaces, focused on place-making and experience. The talk is part of the Leeds Society of Architects Lecture Series.

The role of the architect and designer has the potential to progress. This emerging role relies on establishing the right sort of relationship with the client which embraces the evolution of ideas and the search for possibilities. This stands in opposition to the description and translation of an already formulated solution - a further iteration of a well-established tradition in designing and planning space.

Simon Baker founded Group Ginger Architects to establish an architecture practice offering an accessible and engaging design studio which focuses on place, identity and distinction. Our name derives from the political term, a ginger group. Ginger groups work to identify alternative ideas for the benefit of their host. We work with clients to identify opportunities which amplify development potential and celebrate activity.

Common to our work is an objective to push beyond the architectural object and explore the potential of creating social spaces, focused on place-making and experience. Developing a sustainable economic model for each project is just as important as the spatial objectives of the scheme. With this conceptual approach there is a greater emphasis on the process and a willingness to be actively involved as a participant.

Our approach considers who will be living, working and experiencing the spaces that we generate. We explore how our role as architects might be developed into that of concept managers or curators with on-going relationships to place-making, influencing policy, defining space, public use and participatory involvement. We are intent on delivering pragmatic solutions of adaptation/appropriation to create architecture and design that challenges boundaries of political engagement and aesthetic perfection. As a young, dynamic studio, we strive to make great spaces for people, while enjoying the journey each project brings.