Frank Lyons:Humane Architecture [silentlion]
What is your specialization in architecture?
Our focus in the practice is on the creation of Humane Architecture. I will explain more about the philosophy of Humane Architecture later. In terms of building types or primary interest has been with private residences, country and town houses. The principles of 'Humane Architecture' however apply to other building types, examples of which can be seen on our website www.humanearchitecture.com.
Is there a web page or blog where one could see something of your work?
Yes we have a website that shows our work www.humanearchitecture.com and a blog that discusses ideas related to humane architecture.
What is it for you a good architectural design?
For me good architectural design is architecture that respects the users of the building and enhances their activities. It adjusts itself to take advantage of the local environmental conditions and responds positively to the surrounding landscape and context. Good architectural design where possible uses natural materials and takes advantage of passive energy systems to generate energy for the occupants. A good building will also make the inhabitants feel more spiritually alive.
What era of architecture most fascinates you?
Today. We live always in the present, that is where life is, .....enjoy.
List the name of a famous building which you don't care for.
I find many buildings distasteful but I won't name them.
Generally I dislike buildings that are generated from greed or out of laziness.
Today too many buildings are created just to be seen; designed not necessarily to resolve a client's needs or the needs of the city or landscape but like an over-sized ego at a party, just there to seek attention.
In which city do you live or work and why?
We work wherever we have clients that share a genuine interest in creating humane architecture. If necessary we will team up with local architects to deliver the project in liaison with ourselves.
Do you work with other architects? How is the team set up?
Yes, we work with other architects either as design consultants or when working abroad.
What do you think of competitions? What types of competitions do you normally compete in?
Competitions are a good way of promoting high quality design.
We enjoy competition work, it gives us the opportunity to test ourselves against the best in the world and like a good work out in the gym, keeps us trim as designers.
We compete in a range of competitions types from the 'limited invited' variety to open international competitions that attract the best architects in the world.
Mantaining the signature of a building, how is the identity of the surroundings respected?
Our signature would be to start with the surroundings, only in this way will be the context be respected.
Signature architecture in the fashion of 'Starchitets' seems to us to represent OLD thinking.
Which architects, past or present, do you admire?
Too many to list, but the two that stand head and shoulders above others in the last 100 years would be Frank Lloyd Wright and Alvar Aalto.
In your professional philosophy, what comes first, function or form?
This sounds like an old question.
I find it hard to separate the two, for a good architect it should not be possible to think in that way. Immediately a form is introduced it should be viewed in terms of the functions it provides and vice versa. Nearly a hundred years ago Frank LLoyd Wright was advocating that 'Form and Function are ONE'.
Do you view suburban sprawl as an ecological threat and a waste of resources? Do you advocate for more vertical and denser town planning?
Urban sprawl is just wasteful and all that that implies. It is what I would call lazy architecture if it can be called architecture at all.
The opposite of lazy architecture is not necessarily more dense or vertical, but more 'CARED' for. Caring for our work at every level will ultimately lead to a more humane environment.
What will the single-family home of 2050 be like?
We have just moved out of the 'present' with this question.
When we try to move into the future we move outside our real selves and into a fantasy world that does not exist.
Let's stay real.
For you, which new materials provoke the most interest?
Not so much interested in new materials unless they serve a direct need. It seems more important to learn how to use natural materials well and in a fresh way if the brief allows it.
Bioclimactic architecture, domotic systems...do you think we are approaching a profound revolution in architecture?
I would rather think of an evolution in architecture generated out of genuine needs. We have had too many revolutions and they generally give rise to empty architecture.
Architecture generated from genuine need will automatically be responsible architecture and therefore as ecological as client and culture can handle.
We do not need to think about revolution to create fresh design.
In the development of a project, do you feel closer to the client or to the public as a whole who will use the final product?
I design a piece of architecture for the people using the building and for the context into which it will sit, in this sense it is sometimes difficult to separate client and public.
The pharahons built pyramids, and bankers skyscrapers: will architecture always be a symbol of power?
You are asking about the future again.
Let's stay in the present.
Imagine your ideal house. Where would it be? What would it be like?
At the moment that would have to be the work that I have done most recently for my clients which can be seen on www.humanearchitecture.com
Can one copy and still be original?
The whole of culture is learning from what went before, the question is a matter of degree.
It might be interesting for your readers to check out pages 27 and 28 of a lecture about library design that I gave to students at the University of Bath and posted on my blog on 11 March 2010. I would be interested to hear their views. http://www.humanearchitecture.com/blog/
Where is the balance between deeply-rooted architecture and that which responds to its particular era?
I don't understand your question.
Spectacular architecture: do you believe that buildings are becoming more and more media phenomena?
Some of them sadly yes.
What motto would you like to see inscribed at the entrance of the university's department of architecture?
'Genius is the transcendental capacity of taking care.'
in other words:
Care for EVERYTHING that you do.
What would be your dream project at this moment?
Any building for a client that genuinely wanted a piece of 'Humane Architecture'.
Who is your favourite artist?
Too many to name, Egon Schiele springs to mind right now.
Which websites about architecture do you frequently visit?
I do not have regular sites I visit, I search what I need.
Frank Lyons:Humane Architecture