In the first of a two-part article on civic architecture, Jane Embury casts an eye towards the upcoming general election.
In the UK, we’re on the verge of a general election, following years of Brexit chaos. However, I don’t want to talk politics. Instead, I would like to talk architecture.
While Brexit dominates the political agenda, one of the main priorities for voters at any general election is the quality of public services. In particular health and education. Simply, perceptions about our quality of life are heavily influenced by the perceived quality of public services.
Put those services into a shabby building – be it a school, hospital or job centre – and it influences how we feel about them.
In civic architecture, it’s about creating places and spaces in which we are able respond positively to our surroundings at a human level.
That process of civic design, as with all architecture, is about balancing form and function. It should look good from the outside and perform well on the inside. To do that it needs one magic ingredient: light, both natural and artificial.
The use of light is fundamental to the architectural process, because it’s also fundamental to us. Some 80% of information reaches our brains via our eyes. We respond to light and colour in a psychological way that then affects us physiologically.
It goes further because a lack of light alters our circadian rhythm. That’s the fundamental sleep/wake pattern controlled by the brain chemical melatonin. In extreme cases, this is a direct cause of depression and conditions such as seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
It’s also the main culprit behind Sick Building Syndrome (SBS), responsible for a whole variety of illnesses and conditions from respiratory infection to fatigue. It causes illness, absenteeism, staff turnover and low morale.
Architects and interior designers now more fully appreciate the importance of light in their designs, particularly for public buildings such as schools and hospitals. Those places have particular duties of care.
Over the years, Wrightstyle has worked closely with architects to develop glazing systems to realise evermore ambitious design requirements.
We were the first company to bring to market unlatched glass doors and the first openable fire-rated window.
We are a company that is passionate about the built environment. That’s the reason why we have pushed boundaries, designing and testing new systems to keep ahead of the market.
It’s therefore also the reason why we’re passionate about good architecture and why we love the challenge of working with architects to realise the most exacting of projects.
In the second part of her article, Jane will look at the importance of glazing systems in different areas of civic architecture.