Rebecca Roke talks to London-based FAT architects about their award-winning practice that is breaking new ground in social housing and re-interpreting English vernacular architecture.
The practice title, FAT ? an acronym for Fashion Architecture Taste ? gives the first clue as to the difficult and rich terrain that architecture occupies for its directors, Sean Griffiths, Charles Holland and Sam Jacob. For FAT, architecture is firmly wedged between fashion and taste ? those bugbears of Modernist purity.
This conscious decision to make work that is distinct from the refined European architectural canon ? the Herzog and de Meuron?s et al ? is characteristic and reflects its sardonic desire to closely examine 'banal' local traditions. As Griffiths' points out, such interests 'fall outside the canon but are architectural and are fascinating', and consequently, in the British tradition at least, FAT has 'always wanted to be doing things that are different to what everyone else is doing'.