MARGO SAGOV

MASTERS IN ARCHITECTURE: SUSTAINABILITY & DESIGN - first entry 11.10.09

After my first day at Uni I am following instructions to set up my own blog which will somehow be linked to the MA course blog ONCE I figure out how to do it!  Somewhat daunted by all the stuff we have to do, passwords to remember etc etc, hope I don't have too many senior moments en route. 

PERSONAL HISTORY

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 I was born and grew up in Cape Town South Africa and have lived in London since the early 1970's when I came to study at the AA.   For the past 18 years I have been an associate of  a fellow AA alumnus, Murray John, a conservation architect, who presides over a small and intensely busy practice currently based in an architectural antiques salvage yard in Vauxhall (http://www.murrayjohn.com), as well as taking on my own private commissions.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
The experience I have gained over some 25 years of professional practice is hugely varied - ranging from high- and low-end residential conversions and new-build developments, preparing conservation reports on historic buildings, repairing churches, building a new school, designing retail premises including perfumers, clothes shops, recording studios, furniture, theatre sets -too many to list here.  I have frequently seen projects through from inception to final completion, presiding over all the aspects of the 'RIBA Plan of Work'  ranging from client liaison, obtaining consents, detailed design and specifications, contract administration to handover.                                                                                                                                                                            
Throughout my life I have also been obsessed with music (my main instrument is the guitar) and for a period of 12 years I was a full time professional musician, touring the world in a successful pop-reggae band called 'Amazulu', making records, playing sessions, working as a recording engineer and producer.  I am still active in music, occasionally taking on projects, performing and releasing records and so on.   For example, I have a nu-jazz record ('Saturnalia' by JackOut on SLAM records - www.myspace.com/jackoutmusic) coming out at the beginning of December, and I played only last week at the Olivier at the National Theatre as part of a commemorative event for the late theatre director and writer Ken Campbell.
                                                                                                                                                                                                       
A SEA CHANGE                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
Earlier this year over the winter I had some rare 'downtime' to reflect on what it was that I really wanted to do in architecture.  Back the 1970's I spent several years working on student projects involving notions of energy conservation, appropriate technology, portability and minimal living, and I want to revisit some of those concerns.  Up till recently it has been immensely difficult to persuade clients to make even the most modest environmentally responsible gestures.  I want to develop the technical language and skills whereby I can start to make a difference.  Buckminster Fuller said it often takes some 50 years for an idea to travel from inception to realisation.  Suddenly there is this feeling that we are standing at the cusp of a new era of design.