An important role

Tuesday 13 Mar 2012

RCKa demonstrate the positive role that architecture and architects can play

RCKa have recognised a fundamental shift in the economic and civic landscape in which architects work. RCKa have sought a new approach to produce an architecture of the real, a community-centric architecture that increases development opportunities and creates a positive dialogue through engagement, without compromising architectural ambition.

RCKa provide a new model for how young practices can operate successfully in a shifting professional context, where the architect takes a greater and more expansive role in the procurement and management of projects from the outset, acting not only as designer but often as project instigator and enabler. Roles include identifying development opportunities and synergies, securing funding and connecting organisations to socially responsible and mutually beneficial ends.

Their approach - centred on dialogue and enterprise - has created opportunities for them to demonstrate the positive role that architecture and architects can play, leading to the practice securing several significant award-winning commissions.

Examples include; TNG Community Centre London for which we identified the site and helped raise £3.5m (Completion Dec 2012), OPEN Youth Venue £6.5m co-design of listed building with young people of Norwich (Completed Jan 2010), Open Eye Photographic Gallery Liverpool challenged curatorial brief to engage positively with the public realm and create a dramatic community event space (Completed Sept 2011), Community Housing Preston developed with local people features community homezone from which all units are accessed (Completion Nov 2012).

Whilst they have won numerous design awards both in the UK and abroad for their innovative use of materials and deep understanding of place, for us it is as important that application of their design skills to the wider socio-political context result in the production of a meaningful and beautiful architecture.

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