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OSA Review: Anna Parker, Intervention Architecture

"You're never too old to play" - Anna Parker

Anna Parker is the founder and lead of Intervention Architecture (IA), a young practice based in Birmingham which Parker founded when she was 27.

Their low-cost bespoke approach to architecture creates a playful design process which is showcased in their detailed illustrations and fondness for GIFs and animations. The bright graphics are IA's trademark in their initial design stages, rather than being purely for show.

One of the ways IA integrates collaboration and play is through Make It Brum, a collaboration between IA and Arup. Make It Brum, which has been running for 2 years, works with children aged between 13 and 15 (school years 9 and 10) to introduce them to live projects and careers in construction. The students design pavilions, which IA then turn into reality.

IA is fascinated by users, and constructs their projects in-house to appeal to the senses. Having a young practice, Parker said, helps engage more with the community by putting them at the heart of the project, which not all practices do. Their Ways of Learning exhibition at the Grand Union Gallery sought to actively engage all the senses of the users in a modular exhibition space which could be re-organised to suit different spatial needs.

IA is a rarity in the Birmingham architectural world - most practices based there are older practices which have been running for decades. IA started as a home-run business, graduating to a co-working space before moving into a small studio, and Parker plans on keeping IA as a small practice, rather than expanding. She explained to us that the biggest issue of starting out as a small practice was accepting failure, and that you are learning from your mistakes as you develop.

Anna Parker's aim with IA is to breathe new life into the city's architecture and bring people together through play. Play is important to Anna Parker as it opens up new possibilities when you don't think about things too seriously. This playful attitude to design manifests itself in colourful illustrations and quirky projects, enjoyed by all ages, and embraced by the community that IA work with.

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