The second talk accompanying the 20 Houses: A New Residential Landscape exhibition looks at residential retreat solutions that allow nature to take the lead and provide the formal and programmatic inspiration. Some have been designed around dominating rocky landscapes and built with specific views in mind, while others connect with the countryside through particular interaction with nature or the memories of childhood camping.
studio octopi, UK
James Lowe (37) and Chris Romer-Lee (38) set up studio octopi in 2004. The duo had met during their studies at the University of Plymouth and The Bartlett University College and had subsequently worked in offices in London and abroad. 'Our practice's work is rooted in an architecture of context and craft,' they say, 'We place great emphasis on the referencing of a project, drawing from the arts and from a close observation of our surroundings; the incidental and everyday.' Current projects include kiosks for the 2012 Olympics and a low-energy home in the Wiltshire countryside.
Alice Casey and Cian Deegan graduated from the Dublin Institute of Technology and the Bartlett School of Architecture UCL, before working for acclaimed practices like dePaor Architects, Niall McLaughlin Architects and O'Donnell + Tuomey Architects and finally setting up TAKA in 2006. Since then Casey and Deegan have been going from strength to strength; they were the youngest ever representatives of Ireland at the 2008 Venice Architectural Biennale, they received the International Brick Award in 2009 and won the Architectural Association of Ireland Award and 'Best House' in the 2010 Irish Architecture Awards while co-curating the 2010 Venice Biennale Irish Pavilion. Teaching as well as practicing, TAKA "is interested in Architecture as a manifestation of culture, in meaningful place making and the communicative potential of constructions".
Set up by Warren Techentin in 2010 following the restructuring of his earlier practice Techentin Buckingham Architecture and spells at Morphosis Architects, and Selldorf Architects, WTARCH describes itself as a 'multi-disciplinary firm' that caters for everything from master-planning to graphics. A research-based practice (Techentin studied at Harvard and UC Berkeley), the office is just as concerned with a building's cultural impact as it is in its environmental performance. Working closely alongside the west coast design community, Techentin is a former President of the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design.
Image: Courtesy studio octopi