Although I acknowledge the singularity of the work I produce and the structural solutions I develop, if dwelt upon, the idea of uniqueness could turn into an obstacle in the process of sharing ideas.
My involvement in this arena has not been undertaken without some soul searching; hubris always lies in wait for the unwary. Why should I expect a wilfully marginal point of view to influence a debate where other rules apply? However, encapsulated in it is the germ of another approach: sitting with a question, examining it in time and space, exploring aspects that may not be connected in a linear way: these are luxuries that are routine for me. Becoming grounded in the data that govern an investigation is vital, not as a precondition for finding a solution but to understand the condition of the enquiry.
It is instinctual, when confronted with a complex issue, that I should seek to find a way of getting it down on a single sheet of paper, to subject all the data to an homogenising process that allows the main issues to drift to the surface like the skin on a cup of coffee. This “sitting with” is an important lesson learned from studio experience, where a work through time suggests its own resolution. Should I fail to give myself the opportunity to sit with and absorb the essential characteristics of a project, I cannot feel justified in hazarding an opinion. Once I have identified an approach, it has a distinctive taste or texture that is only likely to shift if the parameters change.
Aside from the more prosaic committee duties, I have developed two specific strands of enquiry. One is to re‐examine stated flood risk management policy through a series of mapping exercises. These aim to factor in all of the appropriate data known at a particular point in time in order to reflect in a wider
context upon the implications of change in a coastal and estuarine environment. Collectively I call this series of maps “Imagining Change”. The original trigger for them was the imminent need to respond to government coastal strategy documents in an informed way, demanding a high level of public comprehension. These works afford an opportunity to step back from a viewpoint that might be obscured by its own interests and to reflect. For example I took one strategy: the Suffolk Shoreline Management Plan, drew the entire coast where previously it was broken down to sectors, added the bathymetry, factored in the proposed options, conjoured up a NE storm on a rising tide and speculated. The freedom to speculate in this context is not an indulgence; it is essential.