Tim Offer Architect South Devon
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Re[de]fined Vernacular
Plymouth University, 2012-

with Andy Humphreys, Hayley Anderson, Alejandro Veliz Reyes and Rob Hilton
Images:  Kathryn Mackrory, Yannick Scott, Lu Wang, Grace Losasso, Alex Pringle, Tatiana Muringani


Tim Offer Architect South Devon vernacular


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Re[de]fined Vernacular, Plymouth University

[r]dV is a continuation of a line of questioning started a number of years ago and developed through studios at Kingston, Nottingham and Cardiff with Andy Humphreys and others.  Central to this are the notions of craft and detail, of tectonics and making; the premise that rather than technology being imposed upon an architectural proposition, in a poetic work detailed strategies should reside throughout the process. 

David Leatherbarrow refers to a milieu in which the life of building unfolds, which he calls the building’s ‘topography’.  This topography can be observed as a knot of influences, complimentary and conflicting, out of which a project can emerge.  To engage with this messy process requires that we return to architecture, to the ordinary fabric of buildings and the way that they are put together to reveal an underlying language that can communicate something of the situation in which they exist (spatially and culturally).   We have always wanted to observe and understand the link between the general and the specific, from analysis to detail.

2012/13:  Plymbridge Woods

Starting in the centre of the City of Plymouth, where the post war utopia vision removed its grain and to some extent its identity, and moving to the neglected industrial edge, we investigated what memory and meaning resided in these opposing realms and how they may be reaquainted.
Our site of investigation was the Plym Valley and the archeology that still remains as evidence of an industrial past that is all to conveniently forgotten within our post industrial society. The idea of reacquainting a past with an understanding of the present helps to reconsider the manifestation of an anxiety of the socio/political undercurrent that is prevalent in a regional outpost such
as Plymouth.

Tim Offer Architect South Devon vernacular

2013/14:  Stowford Mill, Ivybridge

All that remains of Stowford Mill are echoes and memories of the activities and lives that defined them and the town for the last 200 years.  A number of questions emerged: How could we respond to these notions of redundancy and identity? How could we respond to the promise of the town and the opportunity that the site gives for a reinvention of Ivybridge?  How could the site be reimagined to respond to ideas of civic pride and community, of new industry and job creation, of a new identity, new activities and new lives to define the town for the next 200 years?  How could architecture, and the situations that we proposed, help to express not only the condition as it stands, but also an aspiration for the future?

Tim Offer Architect South Devon vernacular

2014/15: Exeter Quay - 'Where to build the walls that protect us?'

Our work this year was triggered by Stephen Hodge's project 'where to build the walls that protect us' - a charette that searched for a future Exeter.  Based on based on Exeter Quay, we tackled issues of redundancy and renewal, notions of public ground and the question of 'where to build the walls that protect us'.

Tim Offer Architect South Devon vernacular

2015/16: Totnes - 'Civic Celebrations'

We set out to explore an architecture that comes to represent an embedded identity and cultural condition; to explore how we may rise above the humdrum to investigate a rarefied and sophisticated (refined) vernacular that not only responds pragmatically to its place but is also informed by and communicates a deeper and more dependent cultural praxis; that is a built representation of the ideas and society that has developed it.
We based the studio loosely around the theme of journeys – physical, emotional and ‘spiritual’ - arrivals and departures, beginnings and ends. We started by making our own journey through Totnes and recording what we found in a variety of ways.  We sought to identify and reveal the town’s character and identity, and ultimately to overlay frameworks and interventions to express this character and manifest its institutions in the fabric of the town.
We looked to celebrate and elevate the everyday, the rituals and customs that enable society to operate and communities
to form.

Tim Offer Architect South Devon vernacular

providing local, award winning design across Devon:

South Hams, Dartmoor, Plymouth and Exeter

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