The RIBA East London Architects group held a fascinating event to showcase and discuss alternative routes to development, including housing projects created by self-initiated community groups and commissioned by councils’ in-house development companies. Kyle joined a panel alongside representatives from practices we greatly admire, such as OMXX, PLACE Ltd, Studio Wic, Office S&M and LTS Architects.
The purpose of the evening was to share projects that demonstrate how good design and social engagement are vital to create great housing. Kyle presented our Becontree Avenue project for Be First, the new regeneration arm of Barking and Dagenham. He explained how the project highlights the importance of locally distinctive architecture by delivering a contemporary building that fits into the existing character of the Becontree Estate; the largest estate built by the LCC, during a time of great optimism within local government.
The talk also provided an opportunity for the participants to discuss the value of community engagement. Too often this is bolted on to the architectural process as an afterthought but Archio has developed a reputation for talking to local communities first and then proceeding to actual design at a much later stage. Kyle explained that:
“our role as architects is to sit between purpose-led developers and communities. To facilitate a way for the local community to get their views across whilst also representing the wider ambitions and necessity of why we need more affordable homes in London.”
We’re grateful for the chance to talk about this important subject with other great practitioners and share our working methods with a larger audience. This is the only way to raise standards across the industry. Thank you to the RIBA East London Architects' group for organising this event.