We imagine buildings and landscapes which slightly confound, solemnly stand up to us, hold our attention and with intention create lasting value over a multitude of generations – both in an intellectual and in an extremely direct, basic, emotional sense. We believe this can be achieved through listening, and then a conscious balancing of at-first-glance apparent contradictions and jarring harmonies, levels of incompleteness, or overlapping fragments of not-so-obvious (even questionable) coherence – finally resulting in places of endearing, novel and meaningful relationships.

When set with the task of conceiving physical environments, it helps us to consider the universal qualities we find in people who we are fascinated by. We believe these to be remarkably similar to what the most captivating places can offer us in turn.

In certain instances, would it make the most sense to do very little, except conserve, consolidate, and clean up, thereby highlighting the charismatic qualities already present in a place – valuable for having developed slowly, with grace, over time?

The work of an intellectual is ... through the analyses that [they do] in [their] own field, to re-examine evidence and assumptions, to shake up habitual ways of working and thinking, to dissipate conventional familiarities, to re-evaluate rules and institutions ... (Michel Foucault, via The Knife)

A courtyard is in its essence a compromise, a contradiction, an incision into the roof; an operation not without problems, but made with the intent of bringing light and air into the depths of a house. I imagine then the realisation of gardens within courtyards happened coincidentally at first, with birds dropping seeds into the earth – only later would people discover the benefits of caring for the micro-climates within them and their latent potential.

Our interest in unresolved tensions appreciates the existing physical realm – it enjoys a dialogue with the potent and messy world around us, interacting with it in unexpected ways and willfully results in a contemporary statement on our human condition.

Plants clean the air, provide shade, create food, and as well often simply provide, by chance, a place to lean against. Watching their foliage sway in the wind can induce a deep state of calm meditation. In a garden, plants more or less accommodate our wishes by growing where we ask them to, as long as we respect their basic needs – collaborating with us in creating the defined space we dream of.

… We need something to symbolise our lives. In a world in which everything has turned into interchangeable parts, a person wants to cry out, 'Yes, here I am!', and so proclaim that we live in the space between life and death. (Yoshizaka Takamasa, 1967)