In 2005-6, we ran a studio called SoftSpace. This was to counter the tendency of functional and technical determinism, believing that the buildings will behave correctly – as if spaces will necessarily be occupied in the prescribed manner and that environments will work as predicted. This determinism results in a certain hardness to architectural space (even or maybe especially that blobby stuff, which looks soft but is in fact hard). It is ungiving. Choices are not provided. It exists out of time. HardSpace – a symptom of modernity’s still overwhelming will to order.
We came up with a manifesto for SoftSpace. It went like this:
SoftSpace is in time • SoftSpace is adaptable to changing use, climate and technologies •SoftSpace is designed but probably not overdesigned • SoftSpace allows choice • SoftSpace is not predicated on order but is not necessarily chaotic • SoftSpace accommodates the flows of contemporary life • SoftSpace is more background than foreground • SoftSpace asks who the designer is • SoftSpace may be blobby but could equally be straight
We also made a little slide show to introduce SoftSpace in relation to Hard Space it lasts ten minutes and looks like this:
And here is one of many images produced by the studio, in this case by Anna Holder: