26th january 2012
The phrase ‘just enough, in place, in time’ was coined by Peter Ellyard, who was Executive Director of the Australian Commission for the Future. It resonated then and remains a dictum applicable to business and life generally. Over a decade ago, the directive was particularly relevant reacting to the favoured ‘king hit’ solutions prevalent in areas diverse as applying fertilisers to crops or the treatment of cancer. At the time, the effect of Agent Orange in the Vietnam War was in living memory and the bombing of Hiroshima not too far in the past.
Unfortunately, Ellyard’s tenet is largely disregarded today with the easy default to ‘high tech’ solutions – albeit with a slightly less heavy hand. The time and intelligence required to design the precise quantity/volume/mass; carefully positioned in the correct place/orientation/juxtaposition; at exactly the right time is all too often forsaken in the race for quick-fix solutions. If it is big enough it will cover all contingencies and generic enough it will be applicable in any location at any time.
Architects Edmiston Jones are advocates for appropriate architectural design – the tailor made compared to the ‘one size fits all’. Too many continue to apply expensive technology to modify built environments that are over-sized through lack of thought or, perhaps worse still, the misguided perception that sheer volume equates with success and reputation. Living and working environments need to be designed ‘fit for purpose’, located to suit the site and, where necessary, integrated with suitable technology.