We at Black believe that there is an urgent need for change if we are to provide appropriate architectural responses to the challenges of our age. To clarify our thoughts and explain what we believe is required, we have decided to publish the Black Manifesto. It is intended to provoke debate, similar to documents published at the beginning of the Modern Movement. We believe that the buildings that are currently procured often fail to address the need for a new sustainable architecture, with image placed above ideas in most selection processes for major commissions. There must be a better way and provoking debate is the start of the process.
|Proposal for Hydrogen tower, Leadenhall Street|
The Black Manifesto
Architecture and big egos are legendary bedfellows, but they have infested our cities with profligate fashion-statements that don’t satisfy the client’s needs, the user’s needs, or society’s needs. Interrogate these buildings, dare to criticise them, and they have no integrity, no honesty and no validity. The London Olympics is the embodiment of this intellectual bankruptcy.
The word sustainability has been so abused it has become meaningless. Society likes to think that a sustainable future is a good thing, but it’s difficult and intangible. Everyone is scared of it. Politicians talk about zero-carbon but don’t understand it. Sustainable is not just a sticking plaster. It’s complicated and ugly, and there are conflicts and compromises. Sustainability is not just about energy. Authentic sustainability is fundamental to our future and demands long-term social, environmental and economic rethinking.
Something has to change. And we are already changing it. The days of style over content are gone. Building anything in these tough times is a courageous undertaking. Clients trust us with colossal amounts of money and we respond with a consummate knowledge of holistic sustainability.
We are a small but feisty architectural practice that doesn’t have a fixed house style. We are anti-establishment. Our buildings are relevant, radical, edgy and provocative, and evolve through a highly technical creative process in which every assumption is questioned. We never begin with a fanciful image but start from the inside out. The experience is inclusive, collective and collaborative. Our controversial solutions challenge preconceptions, and create truly interactional spaces that people fall madly in love with.