In Your Network: Micheal Holliday
Micheal Holliday is the co-founder and design-build director of Tog Studio, based in Glasgow, Scotland. He believes design and construction should be a collaborative process open to everyone. Tog Studio are holding a summer school in 2014 as one of the ways to aid this:
1) Please give a brief explanation of what it is you do and why?
Tog Studio help people build. We are a team of architects and engineers who design structures that can be constructed by anyone, regardless of prior experience and skills. This empowers those who are normally excluded from design and construction to self-build projects which might not otherwise be viable in today’s economic climate.
2) Why did you join the Fellowship?
I joined the Fellowship because I believe in multi-disciplinary collaboration. The construction industry is becoming increasingly fragmented and competition can be fierce. This means that finding a diverse group of like-minded individuals who share the same core motivation can be difficult. The Fellowship network helps overcome this.
3) In what capacity do you think you could contribute to society/the Fellowship?
We built a ‘sitooterie’ (outdoor seating pavilion) with Salvation Army service users in Edinburgh. The sitooterie was partially funded by an RSA Catalyst Grant and taught us about how inclusive self-build projects can help give marginalised members feel a sense of ownership towards their built environment. I would be happy to share these experiences with anyone who is interested.
4) What would you change in society given the chance?
I would like to give every architecture and engineering student in the country the opportunity to get their hands dirty at university through working on self-initiated construction projects. This would be a crash course in making students aware of what it takes to turn an idea into reality.
5) What recent bit of news have you heard which inspires you?
I recently re-read The Architecture, Improvisation and Energy of Place by Nabeel Hamdi, part of the RSA’s call for ideas around ‘The Resourceful Architect’; inspiring stuff.
6) What did you learn last week?
I learnt that we have many international peers involved in self-build education including two organisations led by architects who studied in Scotland. Orkid Studio are doing first-class work in Africa, while Arkitrek have been involved in community-led projects in South East Asia for many years. Recently Tog Studio have had an opportunity to meet both founders and we’ve been talking about the potential for collaborating with each organisation further down the line.
7) Tell us about another interesting Fellow you have spoken to.
Bruce Newlands FRSA (MAKLAB) has been particularly encouraging in helping Tog Studio, particularly by fabricating the structural frames on our recent projects. We are inspired by the way that Bruce has taken his architectural training and applied it into the evolving field of digital prototyping. I also had the pleasure of meeting Craig White FRSA (White Design) at a recent awards ceremony. It’s encouraging to to see a fellow architect involved in such a strategic industry leadership role.
8) What would you like to connect with Fellows about? Please tell us if there is anything you would like from other Fellows.
I would like to connect with Fellows who are interested in delivering innovative construction projects. Would your organisation be interested in sharing some sweat equity to deliver your new offices, houses or facilities?
One of the things we are currently working on at Tog Studio is the build of a community boathouse on the Isle of Tiree. We are currently recruiting for a summer school in 2014 which will give participants the opportunity to get their hands dirty by building a tangible community asset. This will teach participants practical skills and give them a unique insight into how to turn a set of drawings into a real building.
The summer school is open to all, but has previously been of particular benefit to architecture and engineering students or graduates, who often miss out on learning-by-doing in conventional education programmes. If you'd like to help build the Tiree Community Boathouse, between 7 - 14 June 2014, then get in touch on our website. The deadline for applications is Friday 17 January 2014. A number of sponsored scholarship places are available, meaning successful applicants need only pay for their travel to and from the island.