I always look forward to site visits. Even when they are likely to end in disappointment, they are still revealing. The collective decision to step beyond the theoretical that provokes them is always helpful in itself. Looking for somewhere to meet, a place where our intentions might actually happen – in reality – requires a pragmatic engagement with what we might really be doing that can only clarify.
It is always what things are, in their actuality, rather than what they may or may not imply, that engages me.
Both conceptually and culturally, our objectives can increasingly lead us into searches for the simply ‘not wrong’ – for workable relationships with the ‘good enough’, or at least the ‘not bad’ – either in an attempt to embrace all the ambivalence of real things, or simply through necessity.
But a few days ago, stepping out of the car after a long drive to South Wales, I found myself stood in the middle of somewhere – with its particular balance of the difficult and the inspiring – that could actually be exactly what I was looking for. A place with real scale and grand functionality – in this case born of 30’s rationalist architecture and the pragmatism of the period’s heavy engineering – but open and practical enough not to insist on any particular aspect of its own long story.
It might even be the right place. Or at least have provided a glimpse of what the right place might be.