When times are tough there is a tendency for people to become short sighted and cost driven. It has always been a driving principle of ours to create design solutions that are right for the client and right for the building – considering the needs of the building and the future users of the building is not necessarily something you would immediately think about, but for larger interior design and architectural schemes it is very important. Here is a nice example of this in action, courtesy of Stuart Brand, ‘How Buildings Learn':
“New College, Oxford, is of rather late foundations, hence the name. It was founded around the late 14th century. It has, like other colleges, a great dining hall with big oak beams across the top, yes? These might be two feet square, forty-five feet long.
A century ago, so I am told, some busy entomologist, went up into the root of the dining hall with a penknife and poked at the beams and found that they were full of beetles. This was reported to the College Council, who met in some dismay, because where would they get beams of that calibre nowadays?
One of the Junior Fellows stuck his neck out and suggested that there might be on College lands some oak. These colleges are endowed with pieces of land scattered across the country. So they called in the College Forester, who of course had not been near the college itself for some years, and asked him about oaks.
And he pulled his forelock and said, “Well sirs, we was wonderin’ when you’d be askin’.”
Upon further enquiry it was discovered that when the College was founded, a grove of oaks had been planted to replace the beams in the dinning hall when they became beetly, because oak beams always become beetly in the end. This plan had been passed down from one Forester to the next for five hundred years. “Your don’t cut them oaks. Them’s for the College Hall.”
A nice story. That’s the way to run a culture.”