How Can We Create More Imaginative Places for People and Communities?

French anthropologist Marc Augé coined the term ‘non-place’ to describe aspects of the modern built environment that tend to disconnect places from the people who use them. A feature of much of the modern built environment is that you could go anywhere in the world and the urban environment looks and feels much the same.

We’ve all experienced the non-place. In non-places there’s no real sense of place or belonging. Buildings, finishes and materials look the same and there is little to connect buildings or developments with the specific needs of the local population, their history or their culture. Everything is generic and there’s nothing for people to identify with or feel proud of.

As the country seeks to build its way out of the economic downturn caused by Covid-19, there’s a choice to be made. Do we ‘play it safe’ and proliferate non-places, or do we take the opportunity to be more imaginative and create places that help communities live better and enjoy a greater sense of belonging?

Familiar Methods, Familiar Outcomes

What is it that most constrains creativity in the built environment? Perhaps it’s that efficiency and cost seem to be at odds with the capability to create unique places that make people feel good, as well as helping them to live, study or work with greater ease and enjoyment. Creativity and individuality perhaps add extra layers of risk to building projects where costs and timings already seem hard enough to control.

Sticking with traditional methods and generic design standards is one way to manage risks. The other is to adopt new methods of construction. Eliminating the disconnects between what is designed and what is built is the key that unlocks the door barring the route out of non-place conformity.

Panelised offsite is a design-led process. It deploys advanced manufacturing methods to deliver maximum flexibility of form. The greater certainty that offsite construction brings to costs, timings and performance sweeps away the need to rely on what’s familiar.

Panelised offsite construction brings greater freedom to design ambitious buildings that work better for individuals and create a stronger sense of place. It does this because there’s always the confidence that what is designed can be built in practice, with reliable costs, timings and outcomes.

The Innovaré iSIP System has been deployed to deliver multiple eye-catching projects across education, housing and healthcare. By working with our specialists you can turn ‘out of the ordinary’ into the expectation.

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