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The Profession is Dead. Long Live the Profession.

Christine Murray introduces our special feature looking at the issues that will shape the profession, and asks what is the future role of the architect?

The uncompromising visionary of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead is long gone – he went out with the Egan Report, the Monopolies and Mergers Commission and increased litigation in the 1990s – while in the noughties, we’ve had climate change, computing, consumerism, starchitects, regeneration, emerging markets and parametricism to contend with.

The turn of the year seemed an apt moment to look ahead, and so we asked these questions to a diverse cross-section of the architectural community. The Profession is Dead. Long Live the Profession is the result, a collection of predictions, frustrations, expectations, fears and forecasts for the future of British architecture.

The genesis of this special issue came in the autumn, when our news pages were dominated by mergers, bankruptcies and new practice starts, as well as the coalition government’s austerity measures, education cuts and the highly controversial Localism Bill, which promises to change the architect’s job description.

The essays are at times distressing – Malcolm Fraser’s fears for the future of Scottish architecture – and at times delightful, such as Amanda Levete coming out in praise of the pencil.

We hope they will offer food for thought at the dawn of a new year.

The profession is a disparate bunch, united at times only by qualification. We hope this issue will initiate the debate as to what the architectural profession should be, and what it stands for.

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