[John Tebbit, Deputy Chief Exec of the Association, is a regular contributor to Building Magazine. This blog was originally posted on 17 December 2013 for that publication and can be read there in its entirety.]
…To be an environmentally conscious builder or designer, I think you need to be first a good builder or designer, one who knows about and understands the materials, the basic ways that buildings work and people behave. The latter point is often overlooked. Assuming that inaccessible and out of sight details will be painted each year is always going to be a heroic assumption.
What does give me great joy, is walking round a building new or old where the designer and builder have taken the materials, whatever they are, and really understood them, used them and exploited their benefits. Whether it is that wonderful coolness of a masonry vault or the smell and texture of timber, the mass and feel of cast concrete, the soaring strength of steel or the magic of glass or aluminium curtain walling, there are so many ways to create delight with materials. Don’t forget the often hidden contributions of plastics, insulation and all the services – there can be delight in the details. And that perhaps is the best present good designers and builders can give to us when they really understand and cherish what materials and products can do….