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HOME Magazine NZ - - Down By The River - Q&A with Giles Reid of Giles Reid Ar­chi­tects

How do you feel the min­i­mal style con­trasts or com­pli­ments the ex­ist­ing build­ing? I sup­pose I don’t al­to­gether think that the work is that min­i­mal. I felt a good re­sponse to this ware­house-like space was mak­ing a few el­e­ments, such as oak skirt­ing and floor­boards, go a long way. The idea was not to over­lay the space with too much more and that would hope­fully al­low the river be­yond to en­ter into the at­mos­phere. A lot of ef­fort was spent re­solv­ing all the junc­tions of these few el­e­ments. Per­haps it has these things in com­mon with min­i­mal­ism. This stretch of river is one of his­tor­i­cal im­por­tance. How much did you rel­ish the chance to de­velop such a his­tor­i­cal Bri­tish build­ing? I’ve been in Lon­don quite a bit of my pro­fes­sional life and have worked on a fair few his­toric build­ings of dif­fer­ent ages: Ge­or­gian, Ed­war­dian, pre and post war. Some have been listed but, more of­ten, they have been slightly anony­mous, ro­bust brick build­ings that prove end­lessly adapt­able. In this way alone, they are to my mind far more eco­log­i­cal than the build­ings erected to­day with 30-year built-in life­spans, lam­i­nated glass you can’t re­cy­cle and clad in plas­tic in­su­la­tion. Were there lessons from the Shard that you brought over to this project? I think the deeper lessons come from the ex­pe­ri­ence of work­ing in the of­fice in Paris, which was very en­joy­able, though hard. You had to pro­duce! We all made model af­ter model, ju­niors and di­rec­tors. Even now, I think you can learn so much more from a sim­ple pa­per and card model than from a com­puter ren­der. This seems a much more Euro­pean way of work­ing, Ja­panese too, com­pared with how it’s done in the UK.

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