Allfrey + South Architects opened an exciting conversation on architecture with the wider community earlier this year via its new ArchiChat Group. Architect Craig South explains what the open forum is all about and why it is going from strength to strength.
It has been a privilege for us to open our practice this year and welcome those with a passion for design and the architectural process to join our ArchiChat Group get-togethers. Sharing a room with people from all walks of life who are genuinely interested in what we do as architects and how we go about it is really thrilling in many ways.
We first realised there was a place for an interactive social forum on architecture after being approached by a lovely couple, familiar with our work, at an open studio session last year. They were curious about design and asked lots of questions about our projects. It struck us that there could be other people like them who would appreciate being able to meet us informally and talk about architecture. We were not sure what to expect when we launched our first ArchiChat Group session earlier this year. In fact, demand was such that we ended up holding a second evening to cater to everyone who wanted to get involved.
Our next ArchiChat series of meetings will be in the week starting 5 August with the third scheduled for November. While builders, engineers and landscape architects are among those taking part, anyone with an interest in architecture is welcome to register. You don’t need to be an industry expert or someone thinking about building a new home. ArchiChat is primarily a forum to meet and socialise with our architects and other people who share a passion for all things architectural. Our get-togethers, with drinks and nibbles provided, are small, friendly and generally quite noisy with plenty of opportunities to ask questions and chat about matters of interest.
At each session we go through some of our projects, including past and current work. Again, we see this is as very informal, not a lecture. We also encourage discussion regarding newsworthy topics in the world of architecture. For example, a focus of debate at our first ArchiChat sessions was ‘the Tulip’, the controversial new skyscraper planned for London. As we are involved in a local project, we also chatted about the co-housing movement and opened up the floor to explore what people think about this trend.
This month we are inviting people to share their thoughts on whether it is time to rethink the norm of the small bach. For those who socialise most with family and friends while on holiday, then a larger bach and a smaller city house or apartment could make more sense than a large city home and a tiny bach. We are looking forward to hearing people’s feedback on what would work best for them.
We love how the ArchiChat Group is creating a place for dialogue and a two-way flow of ideas. As much as people can learn from us, we are also gaining a lot from the informal exchange of thoughts and ideas with people who care about architecture as much as we do.