We wanted to start the year with a flourish…..and we think we’ve done just that. As you may have noticed, Potter & Holmes has now become Potter Church & Holmes Architects. This is to recognise the huge contributions Director, Polly Church, has made to the practice over the years. And to mark the occasion we have launched our brand new website pch-a.com. Please do take a look and let us know what you think.
Many of you will have worked with Polly and will know her well, but what plans has she got for the future of the newly formed Potter Church & Holmes? Let’s find out:
Can architecture genuinely improve the way people live?
The answer is of course, yes and because of this my goal is simple. I want us, as a practice, to design for people, creating the kind of innovative architecture that will unite a community and empower people to live the way they want to live, now and for years to come.
To achieve this, there are few better places to start than looking at how we can adapt old buildings and existing spaces, so that they more effectively meet the diverse needs of modern communities.
Our award winning Ealing Green Church project is a case in point. Here we transformed a dilapidated Victorian church, into a multipurpose community space that properly serves its local residents. Today, not only do three different church communities use the site for worship, it also gives people from all walks of life an uplifting place to come and socialise. The church’s new design has played a vital role in putting the heart back into the local community.
What’s in a name?
For me it makes perfect sense to work with church groups when rebuilding community life – and not just because of my name! They were once the epicentre of local life and often owned central plots of land and significant local buildings. They still have that keen sense of wanting to bring people together, making them vital partners in building a powerful sense of community.
As a practice, we are now working on more projects where we are helping churches deliver their mission to their communities by providing sheltered accommodation and social spaces for vulnerable local people.
Our drive for change
These days, there are many factors that influence the way in which we, as architects, can help make spaces work better for people. At the moment, for example, I am particularly interested in how existing infrastructure needs to respond to mobility. How new technologies, such as driverless cars, will impact what public spaces will look like in five and ten years’ time and how this in turn will change the way communities come together. Once again this is about adapting what is already there to make it fit for purpose.
Nowhere are these considerations more pertinent than in our local Shepherd’s Bush area. We are currently developing ideas to improve the public spaces around Shepherd’s Bush Green and connecting the green to the existing ‘island’ space that serves as little more than a traffic gyratory. The designs have the power to make or break this space for the community – it’s not easy designing for a future that will, thanks to the speed of technological advances, look very different from today.
But I have confidence in our experience in building award winning car parks, social housing and community centres. And this, combined with our Gloucester office’s continued dedication to ground-breaking low energy design, will give us the necessary skills and insight to give people and their community what they need for many years to come.
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