Interview with Haworth Tompkins

There’s very little poetry in the use of materials here, which are minimal and industrial. One thing that’s interesting working with artists is there’s a kind of tension, because of the way we work. Steve Tompkins
I think it very much does that. A lot of the buildings we do end up being hand-finished in one form or another, either by the contractor but often by the client’s own teams. An artist will spend an enormous amount of time on tactile or pigment quality of the surface and it’s made us see those things in a much more detailed way. Steve Tompkins
Both Snape Maltings and the Royal College of Art are buildings where creative processes will be happening so the building actually can’t tell the whole story. We like the accidental; we like the slightly edgy, the slightly dangerous things that come out. We begin to walk through the building before it is a building. Graham Haworth
They’re incomplete in that sense. It would be highly inappropriate to be overtly precious in that space but there is a sensibility about how it goes together. Graham Haworth
We often work with artists to amplify the objectives or character of a project. Steve Tompkins
The design project

By keeping the process aerodynamically unstable for longer than normal you get more interesting results. Graham Haworth
We work with models a lot: three-dimensional massing models, and we always make a site context model very early on. They’re about knowing where to stop, so that the architecture doesn’t dominate or subjugate. So what might be appropriate in Snape, using lath and sandblasted brick with resonances of the shingle beaches, is a poetic response to that landscape. Artists are very precise about the way things are conceived and working with artists has made us take the conceptual side of our work more seriously. Steve Tompkins
Psychologically, creative people tend to engage more with the space that feels more provisional, more available, more permissive to what they’re doing. Project: Snape Maltings Location: Aldeburgh, UK Architect: Haworth Tompkins Date: 2009
Lath ceiling inspired by the materials of the existing buildings at Snape. It’s about being appropriate and making the appropriate response. A lot of our projects are about that. For example, we’ve hand-finished a lot of concrete work at Snape because we couldn’t specify what we wanted to do, so we ended up doing it ourselves in the way that an artist would do it. How have your collaborations with artists informed your thinking? Steve Tompkins
Often we’ll describe the building. We worked with Jake Tilsen on the London Library and he did a photographic journal of the existing fabric of the building: it’s like a palimpsest that’s been written over and we wanted that to be made clear. We tend to zoom in and zoom out of scales so we’ll be at 1:1250 looking at the infrastructure and the context, and zoom right into 1:5 or 1:20 to look at key spaces. What if you were to walk in and there would be a sense of connection to this part of the brief? We have a working method that can accommodate a wide range and a wide swing of approaches. The architects’ choice of materials makes the difference between original fabric and new insertions very legible. We’ll begin to describe its personalities and its qualities before we’ve drawn it. They’re not complete until they are used. Acoustic testing in the new hall following construction. below right:
Britten Hall. We do hundreds of sketches; they’ll all get thrown away. You can’t just go to your studio and do the perfect pure thing, you’re having to engage with the junk of everyday living; people messing with your ideas. Graham Haworth
There’s a poetry in the way that we use materials. Project: Snape Maltings Location: Aldeburgh, UK Architect: Haworth Tompkins Date: 2009
above right:
Foyer to performance spaces. In a way you’re reversing the normal process of description and presentation.

Updated: 31 октября, 2014 — 10:31 дп