Modern London is being shaped by a coterie of colossal development companies, all of whom have access to vast sites, great portfolios of architectural talent and an uncanny knack for translating bricks and mortar into instant, epic profit. But what about the rest of us? In his new book, the developer Roger Zogolovitch implores us all to take a fresh look at the art of keeping it small.
Zogolovitch's company, Solidspace, has carved a name for itself by working with awkward, compact sites and for an intense, design-driven focus, from their first major project with dRMM through to recent collaborations with Groves Natcheva, MW Architects and Stephen Taylor. Zogolovitch's theory is that the small scale developer – be they first time buyers, housing collectives, ambitious architects or simply far-sighted fans of contemporary design – are best placed to make the city a liveable, human place.
Away from the mega-sites that re-cast whole districts in a shiny new way, Solidspace and its ilk are digging out the 'territory of the forgotten', using innovative design to transform the unpromising into the award-winning and, hopefully, making the whole thing pay its own way. This small-is-beautiful approach to finding sites, choosing talent and making buildings has yielded some remarkable results. If you're hankering after a new career, this could be a great place to start.
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Jonathan Bell has written for Wallpaper* magazine since 1999, covering everything from architecture and transport design to books, tech and graphic design. He is now the magazine’s Transport and Technology Editor. Jonathan has written and edited 15 books, including Concept Car Design, 21st Century House, and The New Modern House. He is also the host of Wallpaper’s first podcast.
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