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Chris Stewart

Collective Architecture's Chris Stewart discusses his overlapping roles as architect and member of the Scottish Ecological Design Association in promoting green design to a wider audience.

Fortnightly Blog 1

May 13th, 2013

It is the quietest of times, it is the busiest of times. An age with an abundance of the fourth dimension, an age when we could dwell on our work. An epoch where subjects could be researched, an epoch where builders could craft. We would have less to do but we could do it so much better. Could this be the sustainable lining to the cloud of recession?

With this anticipated extra time, old ideas were to be resurrected and shaken down to become part of the future. I was to research materials, make models, draw by hand and wonderful projects were to emerge. They might take a bit longer but they would be worthwhile and they would last.

Shortage of work has made us tick that bit harder and forced us to do so much more, to get a dwindling share. This has not led to the hoped for laid back work day, enjoyed pottering in the studio with interesting friends, but more a red-eyed, rash inducing speed trip accompanied by Dennis Hopper (not the best promotion of the public bus). Models have been made, coloured pencils have been dusted down, but relaxed I do not feel.

Writing was not so much a past idea but more an itch which for long periods has gone un-noticed, whereas ecological design is like a conscience to generate guilt and remorse. Over recent months both these niggling conditions have been soothed by SEDA with a set of new friendly sounding boards. Events have also provoked renewed interest, through delivering lectures and composing articles for magazines, fresh ecological ideas are genuinely emerging.

I am therefore grateful for the opportunity to pen this blog which I promise to write fortnightly. It will bring together strands of ecology, working methods, off the wall ideas and current events. This month we can look forward to various conferences and end of year shows where hopefully something interesting will crop up. If anyone has a catchy blog name please let me know or next time we will be looking at Fortnightly Blog 2, so far I have only received food style names these are Eat your Greens, Greenola and Essential Roughage, all pretty shit.

To conclude this fortnight’s theme of Time, we all seem to be reacting in different ways to the recession. At Collective Architecture we have experienced camaraderie and although not a complete relaxation, our work is moving in the right direction - laser cut models have certainly helped. It has also been a joy to see the emerging young practices and how through ingenuity they have bloomed, long may they thrive. More middle-aged practices have also coped with the crisis foraging afield from Bonnie Scotland - the Glasgow to Birmingham train has never been so busy. Next time we will delve more into some of these subjects but right now I have to admit feeling like a bad looking Keanu Reeves.

Tiree Temporary Lighthouse by TOG Studio one of the emerging young practices.

SEDA will hold its annual conference and AGM on May 31st - June 1st at The Phoenix Centre, Newton Dee Village, Bieldside, Aberdeen AB15 9DX ’Designing for Health and Wellbeing’. Further details can be found at


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