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AS CRITIQUE FAILS TO FOCUS ON INNOVATIONS

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LETTERS

It is significant that there was no client at the Capita Percy Thomas crit (AJ 25.08.05), and that the DfES representative did not contribute.

Architectural discourse has a way of excluding lay participants, and the panel members were so quick to criticise the building's appearance and things beyond the architect's control (for example, choice of site) that they hardly noticed - and didn't debate - key innovations of the Oasis Academy. The agora and primary-style classrooms are among the more thoughtful of recent educational concepts - certainly not 'client's whims', as Austin Williams implies.

Your editorial stated that the aim of the AJ crits is to focus attention on the process of design, rather than the finished object.

Great; and next time there should be more discussion about how well the building (and grounds) meet their core brief.

Robin Bishop, director, Effective Learning Environments, London SE1

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