Joined Page \ Park in 2004 after working in a number of practices and on a variety of both Conservation and New Build projects throughout Scotland. At Page \ Park initially worked on a feasibility study for the Burrell Collection, supporting on the Eden Court Theatre Project and as the Project Architect on the Conservation and Renovation of Sir George Gilbert Scott’s, McManus Galleries in Dundee. Other projects include the Conservation and Renovation of St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Glasgow and The Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh. Currently working on buildings for Edinburgh University in George Square, Edinburgh and as Head of Conservation within Page \ Park.
- What does sustainability mean to you?
At Page \ Park we aspire to a design approach incorporating sustainability. We strive against our present disposable culture to create flexible and long-lasting environments. To make the most out of the embodied energy in existing buildings, it is fundamental that we examine whether existing fabric can be altered to meet current and future needs. This holistic approach to sustainability as part of architecture grows from the detailed research into the context of a development and from analysis at an early stage and throughout the project. This can be summarised as minimising impact, in terms of a building’s immediate context and in terms of its footprint on the planet. When we build, we need to assess the potential of the environment to sustain our intervention, to protect existing qualities of the site and minimise the impact of any new building on the immediate and wider environments.
- Where do you see the future of sustainable architecture in the next 10 years?
Many old buildings waste large amounts of energy and provide poor internal conditions for occupants through poor lighting, inadequate ventilation, solar penetration and glare, and poor heating and cooling. The challenge is to improve these aspects within an imaginative re-working of the building. I see these issues as fundamental to sustainable architecture in the next 10 years.
- In your opinion, do you think there is currently a shifting market in the commercial and residential sector for environmentally conscious buildings?
Rising energy costs have affected carbon emission targets and U-values and the widespread adoption of recommendations within the Sullivan Report indicates that we are only part way along a steep upward curve. Targets for new construction are however only part of the action needed, improving the performance of existing buildings, previously a target for the future, now has immediate urgency in meeting Scotland’s upcoming carbon reduction targets. As a means of tackling the effects of climate change, statutory regulations and local and regional planning policies are becoming ever more stringent in proscribing unsustainable development whilst encouraging efficient and sustainable design. This has impacted upon not only insulation levels, heating and other services but also the specification of materials, construction methods and other issues relating to the lifetime of a building from inception to demolition. The benefits of a sustainable approach will be felt by users who will enjoy healthier buildings with lower running costs and clients who will be able to attract tenants looking for improved energy performance and a more sustainable profile. Improved building fabric has particular benefits for the social rented housing sector in helping reduce fuel poverty.
- Do you feel Glasgow has the potential to become the greenest European capital by 2015?
Glasgow needs to broaden its horizons to the UK, Europe and beyond to gain a greater understanding of the issues and solutions surrounding sustainability and be willing to invest in those solutions.
- What do you feel is the greatest challenge when it comes to designing for environmentally sustainability?
Capital cost is obviously a key driver when designing for environmental sustainability. Interventions and new works need to prioritise proposals using an additive strategy based on a hierarchy of rising costs. These costs should not only be economic but also relate to their environmental effectiveness and future-proofing capabilities. At Page \ Park the “Mean: Lean: Green” model has been a useful tool to demonstrate this. The effectiveness of sustainable measures are greater when incorporated with fundamental design decisions and, more usually these will ensure greater longevity to the new works through the design’s ability to be adaptable to increasing demands.
- What is your ultimate goal when it comes to your work? What do you want to be remembered for?
Reverse the question: Who are the architects who made our special cities, Glasgow, London, Edinburgh, Paris? It would take a book to answer but in the end, it is not important. These Architects left traces of their hand but looked at overall they become anonymous. So we too will become part of the fabric of our cities, and the longer what we contributed lasts, the more useful we will have been.
- Who inspires you?
Walk across Glasgow from Glasgow Green up to Charing Cross and every step of the way there is architecture to inspire and challenge. So thank you to all the architects who have silently left their mark. Each is an inspiration in their own way.
- Who do you feel is driving the sustainable movement in the built environment? Is it the designers, the clients, the government? Is it a collaborative process?
At Page \ Park we believe our role should be to support our clients in making sustainable choices in each and every project. On every design we work with our clients’ agreement to establish an agenda for the project, which we integrate from the outset into the design evolution, developed specifically for the needs of the client, the building users and local community towards the creation of sustainable built environments of high architectural merit.
- Which do you believe are the main issues of construction regarding the environment?
There are obviously a whole series of construction issues relating to the implementation of sustainable architecture. At Page \ Park, to enable us to analyse, understand and implement our aspirations we categorise these as:
Mean (low energy building design)
-Good levels of natural day lighting
-Passive services solutions for good natural ventilation
-High thermal insulation and improved air tightness
-Use of sustainable materials
Lean (efficient systems)
-Efficient lighting systems
-Seasonal commissioning of systems
-Low water consuming devices
Green (low carbon/renewable technologies)
-Use of renewable energies
- What do you feel about the current attitude with towards constructing green buildings in Scotland?
There is almost universal support within Scotland for developing sustainable strategies for the Construction industry. What is key now is that these aspirations are made concrete.