Monday28 July 2014

Fergus Feilden ‘I find the Shard lacks soul’

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The co-founder of Feilden Fowles Architects on Berlin, treehouses and the Shard’s cold shoulder

Fergus Feilden

Fergus Feilden

What got you started?
Making treehouses, dens and dams with my dad.

Who was your most inspiring tutor?
Tom Emerson of 6a Architects. He relentlessly challenged students to be true to a concept.

Which living architect do you most admire?
Peter Clegg for his design ability, environmental position, humour and liberal outlook.

What “great” architecture leaves you cold?
The Shard when viewed from within a kilometre of the site. I find it lacking in soul.

What is your best project?
Our first major one, Ty Pren, for an exceptional client who sourced all external materials from within a mile of the site.

What project do you most regret losing?
Student housing at Green Templeton College, Oxford. Winning would have transformed the practice.

What part of the design process do you most enjoy?
Thrashing through a problem at a design review.

What is your Achilles’ heel?
Always having one foot in the future.

Complete the sentence: At heart I am a frustrated…

Which house would you most like to live in?
I’d love to convert three cylindrical disused aggregate silos I discovered while cycling in the Pyrenees. They perch on a rocky outcrop with a railway line through it.

What is your favourite city?
Berlin, for the opportunities, lifestyle, swimming lakes, cafes, history and desolate expanses near the city centre.

What would your dream commission be?
Any civic buildings contributing to a city and community. Civic projects have always been an ambition of the practice.

What does your family think of your work?
My son thinks I am responsible for every building in London while my daughter can’t understand why the practice hasn’t done a pink house yet.

Is it getting easier?
Incrementally, although my predictions for the political, economic and environmental state are bleak, to say the least.


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