Stephen Hodder's low mark of scuppering the democratic decision of Council to take action on a matter of deep professional ethics and principle against the practice of architecture by Israeli architects that defied every Article and Accord of the UIA, ( the architect's equivalent of the UN) will leave a stain on the RIBA that will forever haunt its portals. If that issue made Hodder feel sick, can you imagine how nauseating and depressing it was for those RIBA members who tried to bring such an important issue for upholding the UIA's ethics, for their institute to act on, that would have made a human, moral and ethical stand for justice for the Palestinians, who have been and continue to be dispossessed of their land and homes so that Israeli architects can build unrelentingly for one privileged section of a population, defying UN Resolutions, the Geneva Conventions, UIA Resolutions and the simplest principles of humanity. It is obvious that Hodder, advised by Harry Rich, and a panoply of outside lobbyists, were given total preference, while those who brought the Motion, and who could have given serious expert advice, including the voice of Palestinians, were completely ignored and sidelined. This attitude was replicated all the way to the UIA Assembly at Durban in 2014, where the Resolution was kicked into the long grass and then disgracefully reversed at a subsequent RIBA Council. Meanwhile, the illegal and violent settlement agenda, the apartheid practices of housing and building, the urbicide in Gaza and the destruction and stealing of Palestinian homes and land continues with greater ferocity to build housing for Israelis, which no RIBA set-up of supposed 'ethics committees' can have any effect or benefit. This outrage cannot be assuaged until the RIBA re-instates the earlier Resolution and ensure that the action to suspend the Israeli Association of United Architects be debated and acted upon at a future UIA Council or Assembly.
This seems to be a consolidation of the Executive fiefdom -removing the true professionals from positions that might challenge its power. This is dangerous for the democratic functioning of a top professional institute. The recent shameful reversal of a an extremely honourable Council Resolution regarding Israel's architects' collusion with an illegal occupation, and pursuing an architecture of discrimination and oppression against the Palestinians who are being cleansed out of their land, epitomises the distancing of the RIBA from the objectives of the Charter and its own principles of its Trust as a Charity- which is the advancement of architecture, and the consolidation of professional ethics both in the UK and on the international stage. Instead, the Executive has enable outside lobbies and Trustee pressure to divert the course of true ethics, professional conduct and international law, bringing the reputation of the RIBA to disrepute. This and other indications, such as what many feel was a dodgy report by the International Committtee, which disregarded the Palestinian architects' concerns, and instead involving itself even deeper with the Israeli architects who have still not condemned the horrendous escalation of illegal settlements and dispossession involved in their members' practice -show the direction in which this Executive is heading. More tight control and an evasion of the real ethics and practice of architecture. An investigation of this whole edifice is desperately needed, if the RIBA wishes to be a top rate professional body!
Lior Brosh -why do you always divert the argument to your confused and thoroughly twisted and propagandised view of the Israel/Palestine conflict that it is at complete odds with international law and the well documented war crimes, especially in housing and building that do not conform with Israel's vaunted democracy. Why are you always citing other countries and regimes which are already being sanctioned and dealt with by the West, while Israel is let off with impunity with the protection of the US and UK. That is why Israel singles itself out. Why don't you raise a campaign for all these cases you suggest if you are so concerned about them? Your is the project of hate. Hatred of the possibility that justice needs to be done in this long running and sadistic oppression and dispossession of the Palestinian people. Hatred that sanctions are a peaceful and non-violent method of bringing about change using civil society and international law, where the big powers refuse to act, and instead combine with Israel's violence and participation in the arms industry and using the Palestinians to test these illegal and lethal weaponry and security equipment. It is Israel that has launched every war since 1948, to 1967, right upto the recent murderous slaughters and destruction in Gaza in 2006, 2008/9, 2012, 2014 -except for 1973. It is Israel that uses violence in its occupation, suppression of peaceful protest, its arrests of hundreds including children, its ongoing house demolitions, enforced removal of Bedouin and its land grabbing and intensification of illegal settlements in occupied, not disputed territory. Sorry to disappoint you, but decent people everywhere, (Jewish and non-Jewish) and especially the academic and cultural world, and people of the highest esteem are joining together to call Israel to account, and instead of deriding them, you should spend time to examine your own conscience, protestations and distorted facts. Get acquainted with the facts -we can't say now that we did not know, with all the evidence availlable!
Comment on: Profile: Who is the real Heatherwick?
No-one denies the brilliant talent of Heatherwick and some of his ingenious designs. Yet one has to look at the context of some of these proposals, and the Garden Bridge, initially conceived as an imaginative construction, simply does not fit into that location , looks like a constipated conglomeration of ornate containers that have been plonked in the middle of the Thames, with no delicacy or engineering finesse as exhibited by Foster's pedestrian bridge form St.Pauls to Tate Modern that is minimalist and underplayed, as a bridge should be. His work is better in smaller and intimate locations where one can appreciate the amazing details and design , and use of materials.
At last some action to stop this unnecessary abomination being constructed across the Thames, that will wreck the best views of the City from Waterloo Bridge -one of the most spectacular sights in London. The whole raison-d'etre of this romantic delusion which was 'an oasis of tranquility' and 'a peaceful place to walk' is an oxymoron for a bridge over which "Seven million crossings are expected to be made.. each year." In fact it will be a tourists' and Londoners' hell, with crowds of people,posh receptions for global corporations and the rich, a haven for criminals and noisy layabouts, and will be impossible to maintain without huge sums being spent on cleaning and security, a thorough misbegotten piece of planning and egotistical aspiration. London is full of beautiful parks and gardens, many oases already exist all over the place, to need another intended one which will never be what is suggested. This is the chance to stop this blunder from proceeding before millions are needlessly spent, (and millions more for a engineering monster that will take ages to build) and instead look at where London's and Lambeth's real needs lie. Public housing, community centres, nurseries, and even bridges built where they are really needed, both north and further south of Waterloo Bridge, where they will not ruin more of London's precious urban views and assets. Architects and planners everywhere, including the RIBA should join forces to oppose what is clearly a waste of money and resources, and what would be a planning catastrophe that will be hard to undo if it is ever built.