Shouldn't we all be archilopers?

Shouldn’t we all be archilopers?

Touché. Practice-based research into the Game of Architecture has led to the conclusion that in order to transform our own architectural practice we need to either: change the rules and change one’s role. The architect was historically a polymath (designer, builder, clergyman…) and today is too albeit one of informationalist and: developer. The ‘archiloper’ is the architect-developer, the designer-entrepreneur who walks a different path through the built environment. Roger Zogolovitch’s book Shouldn’t We All Be Developers, looks at “an alternative to the volume house builder model of development, focusing on building on gap sites in cities and investing for long-term rather than building on Green Belt and selling land ownerships as house builders do.” Having as yet not read the book and wishing to sidestep Solidspace’s PR, I quote instead the 1,777,807th ranked Amazon reviewer:

“The book is broken down into chapters covering the history of planning, design, materials and the current housing crisis and each chapter has a personal view, a proposition and a Dream Scenario with case histories. The author’s personal mission is to locate and utilise what he calls ‘gap’ sites in cities, those small plots of land, often covered in weeds and old car tyres lurking in the back streets. As he romantically puts it, he deals in the territory of the forgotten. Zogolovitch sees the development of these gap sites into well-designed, high quality homes as a way of easing the lack of urban housing. I am not sure that it would solve the housing crisis, however I get the point that if all these small, gap sites were utilised, it would make a real difference and add variety and interest to the city landscape. But more importantly, in his eyes, development is not just for the big boys, but also for the individual to engage in. His plea is for the design of small developments of unique buildings that utilise light, volume and character and give pleasure to the community, as well as those lucky enough to live in them. He even allows people to ‘try before they buy’. In his Dream Scenarios, Zogolovitch describes how he goes about prowling the streets looking for plots, and then goes on to discuss his vision. His dream is for the ‘developer’, not to be automatically labelled as a money-grabbing, profiteer but as an artist who wants to make a valuable contribution to the community. He wants people to engage with developers and contribute their thoughts and feelings. He may be an idealist, and he is certainly a romantic, but surely we need more independent developers with vision, and fewer efficient, but boring corporate brand developers who lead the market, and, according to Zogolovitch, drive Government planning policy.”




Leave a Reply