Simplicity speaks volumes and, as was famously said, it’s the ultimate sophistication. In the case of lauded British architect Eric Parry, simplicity reflects the intellectual rigour he applies to each project, whether it’s consulting on an urban master plan or designing a residence for the ultra-rich. There’s a strong sense of sensitivity that underlines his work, so it’s no surprise that his portfolio features myriad restoration and conversion commissions.
While a lot has changed since Parry established his eponymous practice in 1983, his vision remains steadfast. In over 35 years, he has made his mark not by designing statement buildings in the vein of other starchitects, but rather by those that make a statement—structures that duly represent their heritage and surroundings, with an awareness of how they shape the psyche of everyone around them.
“You can’t get away from architecture. If you don’t like a painting, you can take it away. So, it’s a terrifying responsibility, a civic responsibility,” stresses Parry.
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Here, he shares more of the process that allows him to infuse his projects with a strong sense of place and soul.
How would you describe the process of architecture?
Eric Parry (EP) I did some work in film set design at the beginning of my career and what I became aware of was the complexity of making a film. You have all the constituent voices that are needed and you need a lot of planning. It’s kind of a parallel with architecture, which is complicated because you have a lot of people involved. So when a project is done and dusted in five years, that’s considered fast.
How has technology disrupted the architecture industry?
EP Technology is used as a common language and is incredibly important in terms of how information is digested. In a way, the world is a more transparent place because of it. There is a question I think we all have, which is about how it reduces the time to think. There seems to be very little time for silence nowadays. And while technological innovation has allowed for greater ease of work, it hasn’t really made a difference when it comes to decision-making.