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Your despairing leader (AJ 24.11.05) highlights the impotence of architects who are fixated on architectural values alone.

The profession has progressively slipped from its pedestal of natural leadership in the interests of all to the position of an artist seeking patronage and shouting defiance when it isn't there to be had. Surely the best architecture comes from empathy between the architect, the client and the rest of the stakeholders - in other words from shared values?

'Real value is not delivered through endless compromise' you rightly say - but from proper definition of the value proposition for the project, followed by reasoned defence of the proposition against erosion as the work proceeds.

I have just edited a guide to creating value in the built environment, Be Valuable, which is available from Constructing Excellence. It points to many opportunities for architects to create value for everyone, including themselves, and to make the case for good architecture compelling through understanding and communicating its benefits in lay terms.

I hope it empowers us to regain the initiative by focussing on the product and thus putting the process in its proper perspective.

Richard Saxon, by email

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