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Tertulias de andar por casa with Neolith® – UK 01

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The company Neolith®, which produces Sintered Stone, is organising this event in a series of roundtables in different countries. The aim of these roundtables is to learn from the immediate situation we each find ourselves in currently, and begin to analyse together how the future of social and public life might unfold.There are new pressures on the way we use our homes, and challenges to using the physical spaces outdoors. As we begin to reuse schools, shops and workplaces yet more physical and social challenges will emerge. We will debate the responses in architecture, interior design and urban development in the short and medium-term.

We will first introduce ourselves and discuss how well we are handling new living and working from home situations in our own practices, and what approach we will advocate to those we will be advising on using space, based on health, social, environmental and other aspects. What solutions are architects looking at? What are the property and real estate implications in a world that is rapidly being converted to virtual events and online activities?. We trust that, together, we can contribute some positive analytical thoughts in order to find answers for the future. As this has not yet been covered, we will also look at the retail future.

The future of shopping

We will look at the need for a physical space as a place where we relate to each other. Mary Portas the UK ‘Queen of Retail’ commented last week that Covid -19 will probably transform the physical shopping experience in a way that was long overdue.  The retail sector is already suffering from online competition, and chain stores that were open on nearly every high street in the UK are closing down. Perhaps we have too much physical space offered on high streets at rents above what can be afforded, and alternative uses are needed for the longer term.

In the near future could there be rule of a two people maximum at any time in our small shops, and will every retailer need an online presence to survive?, Using shop windows for ordering at a distance could be possible as the larger stores reopen?. Many people will not wish to endure the chance of social distance breaking down inside - as is happening in many supermarkets now - as shoppers forget about distancing and return to old habits?

The shops that make a real effort to “clear out stuff” before reopening could benefit if customers feel much more comfortable in the space. There are now ways innovative retailers can look to how to best use space and understand every touch point (literally), and develop their dialogue with consumers to understand how we will be living in the next few months.

Architects are used to designing entrances, circulation and access to all the physical elements: but stairs, lifts and escalators; signing in desks; the entry door button… may all need to use remote sensor devices? Even our front door threshold spaces could need a rethink about sensors, materials, and spacing?, Spacing out people in offices, schools and eventually in theatres and cinemas, sports halls and gyms may become the pattern for many months. But will the atmosphere be safe and relaxing?

Elizabeth Wrigley

Elizabeth has degrees in Physics, Economics and Ecology, and studied urban design at Oxford Brookes University.  She has an MBA from Cass Business School London and is a Fellow of the RSA. She has worked in planning and asset management for several local authorities and was one of the planners in YRM Architects & Planners in the 1990s.

Elizabeth has run the planning and communications consultancy Core Connections Ltd. since 2004, following a stint managing a town centre regeneration programme called Centre Vision and starting the assessment tool Building for Life for the Civic Trust Regeneration Unit and CABE. Currently she is helping on a Neighbourhood Plan for a town-wide Linear Park in Norfolk, is just starting on a project advising a client on a mosque I a listed building complex, and is helping two purchasers with planning on small plots for new houses in suburban estates.

Trevor McClymont

Trevor is Ktesius’ Development Director and has also recently set up his own company.  He has over 30 years of experience in developing residential projects. His experience extends through acquisitions, the planning process, contracting and all aspects of property development & sales.

Trevor has a Bachelors Degree in Town & Country Planning and a MSc in Sustainable Urban Development from Oxford University.

Alistair Barr

Alistair Barr founded Barr Gazetas in 1993 and has led the practice in terms of design, management ever since. The nurturing of new projects is one of his key areas of interest. Alistair is a Civic Trust Judge, Lead Assessor for the Academy of Urbanism Great Streets Awards and a Design Council Built Environment Expert. He is also a Director of the Academy of Urbanism. He has delivered talks about ‘agile working’ at an office conference, which has led to detailed research in this area.

Alistair is thinking about the prestigious Regent Street in Central London and its retail future – and what could be an exciting change if manufacturing were to return to the side street retail units that could become empty. Two articles by Alistair looking at Regent Street’s future were recently published in the Journal of the London Society.

Alistair prepares a painting each year for a charity auction, and is a drummer in three bands.
IG: @barrgazetas

Tim O'Callaghan

Tim is director and founder of nimtim architects, starting the practice in 2014 alongside partner Nim. Tim is a teaching practitioner at the newly formed Reading School of Architecture. A UK qualified architect since 2008, Tim has worked at OMA in Rotterdam and David Chipperfield architects in London. Prior to setting up nimtim architects, Tim was senior architect at RCKa where he was project architect for the RIBA award-winning TNG Youth Centre in Lewisham.

Tim studied at Oxford Brookes University, the Bauhaus Universtat in Weimar and the University of Westminster. He continues to write on architecture and has had articles published in academic quarterlies, local journals and design magazines.

Tim enjoys cooking and eating good food, playing football and, when it will again be possible, travel.
IG: @nimtimarchitects