PAD Studio is an, award-winning architectural practice, that has since inception developed a reputation for the delivery of contemporary sustainable architecture containing a rich tectonic narrative, advanced through collaborative relationships with their Clients.
The practice has developed a significant portfolio within the fields of ‘Live, Work, Play, Learn, and Grow’ in addition to projects that dissolve the threshold between architecture and the fine arts such as the ‘Exbury Egg’. PAD Studio has developed a consistent engagement with academia through the part-time teaching contributions of three of the team at the Universities of Portsmouth, Oxford Brookes and Reading Schools of Architecture.
Having established an excellent reputation and ‘brand’, PAD commissioned CHORA to lead a process of reflection upon and articulation of, the core values that inform the ethos and praxis of PAD Studio. Following a process of collaborative discussions between PAD and CHORA in the design of the brief for the project, it was agreed that the interaction would be structured around a one-day event that comprised two distinct but interrelated elements: ‘Praxis Narratives’ and ‘Project Narratives’ and the event was to be structured and led by CHORA. No final outcome was pre-determined except that some form of written piece was to be developed that reflected the essence of PAD.
‘Praxis Narratives’ sought to uncover the core values held by the practice that were incrementally exposed through a series of pre-designed processes during the first half of the day. These values were further explored as ‘Project Narratives’ in the second half of the day through the interrogation of three projects chosen by PAD studio that represented diverse typologies that represented the depth and breadth of the PAD portfolio.
The conversations were extensive, dynamic and free flowing around the threads provided by the predetermined CHORA structure, and across the day the core values were exposed and made evident through the examination of particular projects that provided tangible exemplars of the PAD ethos. The conversations and processes conversations were systematically recorded. Incrementally and in parallel, the specific requirement emerged for a PAD Manifesto that was to be developed as the tangible output for the project.
CHORA developed the first draft of the ‘Emerging PAD Manifesto’, that was honed through a process of collaborative iteration. The Manifesto is now a core element of the PAD identity, attracting positive commentary from peer practitioners, and perhaps most importantly, existing and potential clients. The Manifesto represents the genesis of on-going and developing collaborations between PAD and CHORA.
“Our first collaboration with Chora resulted in our manifesto. We wished to find a means to reflect on the practice’s personal identity and reveal this to others. Roger came to our office for a day, during which he initiated and guided the conversations which lead to the production of the manifesto. He was clear from the outset that our day must produce a tangible outcome in terms of a piece of writing – without us knowing how we were going to achieve it or what to expect.
Roger’s wisdom and experience was critical. The day was focused and there was emphasis on producing a tangible outcome. Roger left at the end of the day with a record of our discussions and responded with clear points that summarised our own words. We responded and added to the dialogue: The manifesto was born. Since its formation, our manifesto has become a vital document to the practice, guiding all that we do and providing a clear means of explaining who we are to clients and collaborators. It has been incredibly helpful; clients often quote our manifesto back to us during the design process.”
WENDY PERRING – PAD FOUNDING DIRECTOR
(With acknowledgement of Bruce Mau)