Interview with Andrew Armes
Andrew was part of the architects department for Milton Keynes Council, which included the design of a new master plan for the centre of the city in 1999. Andrew was keen to be involved and felt that the shopping centre needed to be updated. The master plan was to cover four hundred hectares; from the station to the canal at the bottom of Campbell Park. One of the key ideas was to move the car parks to create a more vibrant flow of people. But Andrew explains that actually, very little was actually implemented of this plan.
Andrew became involved in the Skate MK project with Milton Keynes Council because, whilst he was working on the master plan, he came across a lot of friction between pedestrians, car users and skateboard users. He explains how the shopping centre was ideal for skateboard users because of its modernist infrastructure. Andrew was of the opinion that skating had great benefits for young people because it was ’athletic’ and ‘very skilful’, and so he felt it should be ‘nurtured’. A professional consensus was held and it was decided that a series of routes and honeypots would be created. The first honeypot was the bus station- known as ’Buszy’. Andrew considers the creation of ’Buszy’ to be his biggest success. Andrew is hoping that a new one will be built somewhere else.
Ultimately, Andrew argues that architecture has to change because how people use spaces change. Andrew is frustrated that there is a lot of space in Milton Keynes which is not being used, one being Station Square. He thinks that Station Square could be another space like ‘Buszy’.